Your contribution track record

“How will you contribute to the campus community?” Colleges wonder this when considering every applicant. In fact, many colleges outright ask that question as an essay prompt within the application. As you progress through high school, it’s worth considering the examples you’re setting that show your potential to contribute as a college student. What is […]

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What’s all the frenzy really for?

Jay Mathews is the semi-retired education reporter for the Washington Post who still shows up occasionally to pen a new story. And I always perk up when he drops his trademark sanity and perspective about the college admissions process captured so well in his book Harvard Schmarvard. Here’s his latest piece. And while the title—Dear […]

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Passion will reveal itself

For students who are fretting (or parents who are fretting on their students’ behalves) over trying to identify their passion so they can select a career and choose an appropriate college major, consider giving Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love a read. Newport makes […]

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A counselor practicing what he preaches

How would you expect one of the most widely respected, admired, trusted college counselors in the country to guide his own daughter through her college application process? Patrick O’Connor shares his approach in his recent post, “The College Counselor Who Left His Own Children Alone,” the gist of which is best summed up in this […]

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What you don’t yet know

Students, four years ago, who were you and what did you know? It doesn’t matter whether you’re 18 or 14 today. Chances are that when you scan back four years, you’ll do some serious head-shaking. You likely felt at the time like you’d grown wise beyond your years. But the benefit of four years of […]

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Good. Enough.

Projects, papers, college applications—how do you know when it’s time to stop polishing and time to start shipping it out the door? Something worth doing is worth doing well. But sometimes the quest for perfection just becomes a stall, another day or week to hide instead of a day or week to improve whatever it […]

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Snowplowing parents

This recent New York Times piece, “How Parents are Robbing their Children of Adulthood,” introduces the term “snowplow parents,” those who relentlessly clear away any potential obstacles to their children’s paths to success in the hopes of preventing any failure, frustration, or missed opportunities. And it includes this punchy quote from the inimitable Julie “Dean […]

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Responding vs. correcting

Counselors, how do you respond when a student or parent makes a statement as if it’s a fact? That college is a lot easier to get into if you apply in the liberal arts. Without a great SAT score, the best colleges won’t even look at you. That school gives preference to ______ (alumni/athletes/minorities, etc.). They’re […]

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Competing collaboratively

Another great share from Wharton’s Adam Grant. In his podcast episode this week, “Become friends with your rivals,” Grant explores how even in those competitions that are zero sum, like Olympic marathon races, where there can only be one winner, rivals actually perform better when they help each other. My favorite clip: “Some competitions are […]

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