On lasting impressions

The last job I had before I started Collegewise in 1999 got off to a bad start. I’d moved across the country to take the position and arrived for my first day of work only to find my boss unavailable and my desk empty—no computer, no phone, and no access pass to get to the meeting […]

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Intellectual humility

It’s hard for an admissions committee not to notice when a student has demonstrated a sincere love of learning. A real love of learning has a lot less to do with the drive to get good grades than it does the genuine curiosity to know more, to understand, to fill in learning’s blank spots. A […]

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Three questions that lead to better college essay feedback

I’ve written many times before about the importance of taking college admissions advice from people who are qualified to deliver it, and this includes giving feedback on a college essay. You don’t need to be an admissions officer or a counselor to correct grammar and spelling. But if your family, friends, and neighbors have never […]

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The earlier we start

My three-year-old preschooler recently arrived home with an assignment—create a project on a paper bag depicting “what home means to me.” The students could draw, attach photos, or use any other creative impulse to express their version of home. But whatever that version was, it would be displayed in the school hallways with the rest […]

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Don’t do the financial aid officer’s job for them

According to a study published in Research in Higher Education, students who don’t file the FAFSA forgo an average of $9,741 in aid. Senior families, the FAFSA goes live today, October 1. Every student applying to college should file one (a recommendation shared by every trusted financial aid expert and college financial aid officer). And the earlier […]

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What’s most likely to motivate?

Parents and counselors, if a student is having trouble finding the motivation to make progress on their college applications, give motivational interviewing a try. Motivational interviewing is a therapeutic technique to get patients to discover their own motivations for making a change–one that’s even been shown to be effective in the treatment of addiction. Here’s […]

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Focused, plowing, or creative?

You might make even more progress on your college applications if you choose to work on the right portions at the right time of day. In the best-selling When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, author Dan Pink explains that our biological clocks dictate our likelihood of performing at our best on a task. That’s because most […]

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Learning and growth

Two of the most valuable experiences you can seek, appreciate, and relate on a college application are learning and growth. Learning and growth take place in lots of forms, and not all of them present as successes or achievements. Teaching yourself to play the drums and then starting a band qualifies, but so does flubbing […]

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Even spare change adds up

SpareChange

Financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz has earned laudable trust in the education space for his willingness to share great advice for free. And with the posting of his latest piece, “Top 10 tips to growing your 529 plan funds faster,” I decided to put one piece of that advice to the hypothetical test. 8. Save […]

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