For parents: Guidelines for emailing teachers

It should be a good thing that parents can communicate with teachers so quickly and easily over email.  But I'm not sure that the introduction of email has improved the relationship between those two parties.  Email is actually a terrible communication tool.  All the subtle cues and tone that you can use when you speak […]

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To get into college, get off Facebook

Cal Newport says that by working smarter, high school students can develop what he calls an "under-scheduled life" that will leave you with better grades, more college acceptances and–here's the best part–all kinds of free time.  In fact, he says that students who do this right can finish all their work by dinnertime almost every […]

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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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