Tag Archives: college essay

College Success, with a little help from us

By Deb Coco

I don’t believe we have posted one blog without stating that the landscape of college admissions is changing.  At our staff meeting last month, we had a round table discussion to wrap up the 2014 admissions season.  We all put our two cents in and we all have different experiences to discuss based on the students we worked with, but the one prevailing theme was this . . .all bets are now off.  What do we mean?  As one counselor stated  “I used to be able to predict with much more accuracy which students would be accepted to which schools; now I cannot do that. I can’t guarantee a family that their student will absolutely get in when they ask me point blank.”

The structure of acceptances has changed dramatically.  Now, more than ever, we believe that finding the right college admissions assistance is imperative.  At the College Advisor of New York, we tell families in our first meeting that we are committed to finding the “right fit” and we work extremely hard to achieve that.  Our students complete assessments and questionnaires with pointed and thought provoking questions that get to the bottom of who they are as a student and lifelong learner.  We all learn differently and what works for one student (a small class with individual instruction vs. a large lecture hall – college vs. university? ) does not work for another.  Our process whittles down all the options so that the campuses our families visit are accurate representations of where we feel kids will flourish.  This is a huge time and money saver because let’s face it – everything about college is expensive, including visiting them!

It is our belief, and our success rate bears this out, that by engaging in our process,  admissions success will improve dramatically.  The national average for admissions is 64%; at the College Advisor of New York, we can boast a 91% acceptance rate.  Our graduation rate is just as impressive; the national average lies around 52% and ours is 88%.  So although many bets are off, working with us as your college consultant will greatly increase your student’s ability to get admitted and graduate from college.

Our year end client surveys are beginning to come back to us, and we are thrilled by the difference we have made for our families.  We “helped make the process manageable”; “you challenged us to look at schools we might not have known about with wonderful results”; “you saved us time and money”; “we got a note in our daughter’s acceptance stating her essay was top notch!”  . . . and the list goes on.  As counselors, we can’t ask for more.  It is our goal to not only help our clients through this process but our hope is that they actually enjoy it.  Our students are asked to dig a little more deeply and explore more options than the average high school student.  Do they complain?  Sometimes .  Does it pay off?  Ask about our transfer rate.   That is our low statistic.

So, the take away from the staff meeting was that we can’t promise our families that we can get their child into the school of their choice.  Don’t trust a counselor who does. However, we can GREATLY increase your chances and, in the process, add some self discovery and give you peace of mind.  That we can guarantee.

Three Tips For A Great College Essay

Writing college application essays is one of the most dreaded tasks of college applicants.  We work with students all summer to help them craft their essays so they understand how to authentically show college admissions professionals a facet of their character and personality.  Below, I’ve identified three key pieces of advice that will help kids manage the process so they don’t get too stressed.

  1. Start Early.  For high school juniors (rising seniors), time is your biggest ally.  Most of you will not submit applications until November 1 at the earliest, some will submit later…so take the time this summer to begin working on your piece.  Half the battle is determining your topic.  Once you do so, begin to write.  Even if you’re unsure of what or how to write, just get something on paper now.  Once you find a good topic and begin writing, you’re more than half way done!
  2. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have had a traumatic event in your life to write a good college essay.  Instead, write a big essay on a small topic.  The key is to find a compelling way to show how unique you are.  Sometimes picking a small, symbolic event that represents “the larger you” is an effective way of communicating your message.    My high school AP English teacher taught me that the best literature is “unique, yet universal.”  This is a great way to think about the essay.  It needs to show who you are, why you’re unique, and it needs to be written in a unique, first person voice, while appealing to a wide (universal) audience.  This is easier said than done, but once you get it, the essay will be much more manageable.
  3. Write and re-write.  We suggest that our students take 3 drafts to craft their piece.  Like anything else, the more time you spend on your college essay, the better it will be.

Good luck!!