Perfection—in college admission and in life—is often overvalued. Perfect should not be the goal in your essay. What will distinguish your writing and your application is your unique voice. Be willing to take risks, be vulnerable and share your truth. The readers will appreciate the opportunity to learn more about you, and you will get to know yourself better as well.
The SAT is designed to test skills and knowledges that are accrued over a long time, things like vocabulary and math fluency, and these can be developed and honed beyond the hours spent in class. Not only do you not have to wait until a full-scale test prep program to start building these skills, you probably shouldn’t. Here’s a list of 5 ways you can utilize the precious summer months to build your skill and knowledge, laying the foundation for a strong performance on your next (or first) SAT in the fall.
The college search and application process has changed in some important ways over the past few decades. More colleges are making standardized testing optional, students are sending out more applications, and admissions is becoming increasingly competitive. As this process becomes increasingly complex and, unfortunately, increasingly stressful, there are several things parents can do to help their child make this a more rewarding and successful experience.
I realized that the upper limit to my student’s test day performance wasn’t set by how much material she knew or how well she understood test-taking techniques. Rather, her performance was limited by how she was thinking about and experiencing the test. So that’s where we put our attention.
And that’s where I suggest you put your attention: allow yourself to become aware of your thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs and how they impact your experience. You are then empowered to choose thoughts and behaviors that create a better experience.
The transition of their children from middle school to high school can be an anxious time for parents, and for good reason . Even when the curriculum in middle school has been rigorous, in high school the expectations get amped up in ways that put students with weak Executive Function skills in peril.
Our current system works to perpetuate this cycle of selectivity and prestige with an unhealthy fixation on this handful of institutions. Change happens from both the outside in and the inside out. Employers, the media, popular culture and college applicants must not rush to judgment or default to perception. Meanwhile, the college admission profession must re-examine the messages we send and the processes we create that perpetuate this unbalanced system. As parents and educators, we must raise children who think critically about brand, marketing, success, happiness, fulfillment and personal choice.
In an ideal world, college preparatory education would encourage students who crave knowledge, seek community engagement, desire connection and live their values. We say we want our children to feel secure, be inspired and take risks with their curiosity. The reality of “Hunger Games” comes closer to the truth, where students battle to survive in application pools seeming to demand perfection.
One of the hardest parts of a college admissions officer’s job — if not the hardest part — is dealing with some of the entitled or unrealistic parents of students who are trying to figure out where to apply to college. Here is a piece on things that college admissions officers say they would like to tell some of the parents with whom they deal — if they could be as blunt as they want — or things they actually say but that fall on deaf ears.
There’s great fiction and non-fiction; books on parenting (and “overparenting”), history and science. And, of course, there are, not surprisingly, books on college, getting in and staying there and what to post-college. You are likely to recognize some of the recommended authors, such as David Sedaris, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Angela Duckworth, Atul Gawande — but the list will also expose you to some new ones.