Where college essays are “brutally bland and predictable”

Most of the roughly thirty-six thousand essays that pass before the bleary eyes of the Berkeley admissions staff each year follow the well-worn format of these two examples: choose your most impressive activity; tell a story about how the activity helped you develop a trait you think the admissions officers care about; if possible, work […]

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What love of learning looks like

There's often a difference between having a high GPA and being a real learner. After a workshop at a high school last spring, a student asked me if he should write an essay explaining why he hadn't taken harder classes.  His explanation was that his high school "wouldn't let him" for a variety of reasons.  […]

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An easier way to find what you’re looking for on our blog

We've just added "Categories" at the left below the "Search" box.  So whether you're looking for advice for parents, tips for counselors, test prep advice, essay guidance, Collegewise news or all of our entries about why famous colleges aren't necessarily "better" colleges, you won't have to search through hundreds of entries to find them. Thank […]

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My productivity project

First, a disclosure: This entry's going to get a little personal. For the last year, I've been frustrated by what I felt was a decrease in my productivity at work.  It wasn't from lack of effort.  I was still working about ten hours a day during the week.  I was busy all day.  I wasn't […]

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