While I no longer work with high school seniors on their college applications, I’ve found that there is no shortage of families in search of rational, useful advice to help them navigate the admissions process. Skype sessions with book clubs and visits to local parents’ groups have been highly effective ways to restore some sense of sanity to this process—often just cutting through the mania of hearsay and 5%-acceptance-rates headlines is all it takes to put a 17-year-old back on the solid ground of hope, confident dedication, and the quiet pursuit of ongoing opportunity. In addition to the articles below, many of my thoughts on the college admissions race can be found in the several articles and interviews in the Press section of this website, as well as in The Story Behind the Writing of Early Decision.
The Wall Street Journal: “Writing the Right College-Entrance Essay”
The Wall Street Journal: “Five Tips for Writing a College-Application Essay”
New York Times: “Let Go of the College Essay, and Let Your Teenager Speak for Herself”
New York Post: “What the Rich Know: a college advisor on how to help your kids even if you don’t give out endowments”
New York Post: “Tutor Reveals Ivy-Admissions Madness of Rich Penthouse Parent
I’ve also posted eight actual essays submitted by former students who were successful in gaining admission. They are reprinted here with my students’ permission, and while I give background on the student and his or her choices, I have removed particularly specific and identifying details.
Early Decision, John’s Hopkins
Early Action, Colorado College
Early Action, Princeton
Harvard, Early Action… and Everywhere Else
Claremont McKenna’s Supplemental Essay
Princeton, Regular Decision
On Not Going to College At All
Vanderbilt, Regular Decision
Finally, a few thoughts regarding the Common Application, the sticky issue of privilege, and other elements of the process:
Checking Whose Privilege?
The End of Childhood, Part One: The Common Application as Introduction to Petty Bureaucracy