Does the apology make it better, or worse?

While traveling last week, I checked into my hotel, headed to my assigned room, swiped my key and opened the door to find the room was still occupied by the previous guest, who was still clad in her pajamas. In my state of shock and embarrassment, I managed to blurt out something to the effect […]

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When you need a break

Nobody can churn out great work without taking an occasional breather. Dan Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, has read the research and distilled the science into his latest short video, “These are the 5 ways to make your breaks more replenishing.” And here are a few past posts preaching the […]

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Telling your story vs. searching for it

The University of Virginia comes through yet again with great advice on their blog, this time with tips for writing the UVA essays. I’m sharing it here because, as is often the case with their shared wisdom, applicants to many if not most colleges could benefit from their tips. Especially the first, “Don’t overthink the […]

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First, find the funny

sThere’s a lot in this snippet Cal Newport shares of an interview Jerry Seinfeld did in 2014. “Let me tell you why my TV series in the 90s was so good, besides just an inordinate amount of just pure good fortune. In most TV series, 50 percent of the time is spent working on the […]

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Three interviewing tips

Marcus Buckingham, author of several best-selling books about developing personal strengths, spent 10 years at the Gallup Organization helping companies design better interviewing processes. In this short video, he shares three tips for those being interviewed. It’s pitched to those applying for jobs, but the tips work just as well for students applying to college.

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Prep for college or prep for life?

Who’s developing traits that will benefit them later in life? The student who loves math, or the student who asks for extra credit so he can get the A? The student who volunteers at the homeless shelter because she feels fulfilled serving others, or the student who’s there to fulfill her community service requirement? The […]

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How much should you save for college?

If you’ve ever wondered how much a parent should save for college, Mark Kantrowitz spells it out in his latest piece which, not surprisingly, includes all the math to back up his claims. The only potential downside is that it’s pitched to new parents who have the luxury of saving and earning compound interest for […]

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The teen today and the adult tomorrow

Last week, I was surprised to run across a student I tutored for the SAT over 20 years ago while I was still in college. I remembered him well, at least what he was like at age 17. Affable, relaxed, and engaged, he rested comfortably as a B student in high school who was a […]

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Your value is their value

University of Virginia laudably goes out of its way to point out that they are not one of those schools that admits single-digit percentages of students and that the activities they value on an application may not mirror those of their more highly selective collegiate compatriots. But I can’t think of a selective college that would […]

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Acknowledging without catastrophizing

It’s often difficult for college counselors to find the sweet spot between allaying and indulging families’ negative emotions around the college admissions process. Years ago, a parent told me that both she and her daughter were “just devastated” by a denial that had arrived from Stanford. I wondered how long I could patiently listen and […]

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