Looking for College Admissions Cracked?

Tips & Tricks For ED, EA & More

Hello fellow parents, and welcome!

Early application deadlines are quickly approaching, and tensions are running high. Been there. Your sanity saver comes first this month. To help you keep your sense of humor, funny cartoons about college admissions are plentiful. Enjoy a laugh (which you may need) before you read on.

If you want to call in the cavalry…

I am still accepting clients for Application Reviews (yes, even for ED/EA applications, for now). If you’d like to hire me for an Application Review for your child, contact me here, please identify yourself as a recipient of this newsletter (AKA part of the CPR inner circle), and I’ll prioritize you.

Some tenth hour tips…

If your child is working on college applications right now, here’s some timely guidance below. If not, you have all this (and more) to look forward to!

  • Your student is feeling pressure from peers, media (social and otherwise), and elsewhere to apply to colleges just because they are prestigious. Helping to take that pressure away will encourage them to choose colleges that are a good fit and to apply for the right reasons.
  • If your child is having trouble making decisions about any aspect of their application—what to write, where to apply, etc.—remind them that these decisions are not a matter of life or death. In a short four years (or so), they’ll graduate from college, and they will look back to see how their extreme anxiety and the fuss made over this moment was unfounded. (It’s worth a try!)
  • Students can use the optional 250-word COVID-19 Impact section on the Common Application for interesting or altruistic things they have done with their time during all the upheaval, as well as any loss and suffering that may have occurred (for which, I’m so so so sorry).
  • The Additional Information section is a catch-all place on the application where students can share scheduling issues, special circumstances (other than COVID), etc. Yes, it allows 650 words, but it’s not intended for another personal essay. Evaluators appreciate straightforward and succinct explanations on this part of the application.
  • Remove video games from the Activities section or anywhere else they’re highlighted in the application. It’s a college’s worst nightmare to admit a student and then all they do is sit in their room gaming instead of engaging and contributing to campus life.
  • The biggest mistake I’m seeing on personal essays, again this year, is that the topic is too broad rendering the story generic. A trick: Isolate sentences, and if they are so vague and general that anyone could’ve written them (even you, if you substituted out a word or two), replace them with specific and personal details to make the writing unique and more compelling.
  • Help your student with time management so they can submit their applications a couple of days before deadlines to avoid the annual overload on the Common Application’s website and truckloads of unnecessary stress.
  • I have never met a parent who told me it was worth it, in retrospect, to sink deeply into debt so their child could attend a dream college. Not ever.

Call for your help with my next writing project…

I’m grateful to all of you who have read, listened to, and passed on recommendations for my book College Admissions Cracked. Those of you who have reached out to me in response to the book have given me my deepest reward for writing it. Thank you.

It has become very apparent to me that students need such a book, as well. So please share your input to inform my next book, written for them. What guidance does/did your child need that they couldn’t find? What blanks can I fill to make the college admissions process clearer, less stressful, more humane, and more meaningful for your kids?

A parting mantra…

Be well! You’ve got this. I’ll leave you this month with the mantra for students freaking out over their college applications (and for all of us with perfectionist tendencies): Done is better than perfect.



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