Tag Archives: essay

We’ve all changed during the COVID-19 era. Lives, organizations, and entire industries have transformed, some for the better and others, unfortunately, for the worse. Few sectors of society have been impacted as dramatically as education. Both K-12 and higher ed have been a veritable roller coaster of remote learning for students, families, educators, and administrators. These have been days we will not soon forget! Yet, not every change should be rolled back once we’ve beaten back the virus, as this singular moment has helped accelerate trends that were already gaining traction. In the sphere of education and admissions, for example, remote learning and virtual campus tours have become normalized in a way that will add tremendous convenience and access to everyone who values those qualities. College admissions testing has changed as well, as cancelled, socially-distanced, and even pop-up tests made taking the SAT and ACT more stressful than ever. No…

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Months before test day, adding a really long, potentially worthless writing task on top of a really long, very important multiple-choice test doesn’t seem like such a big deal. What’s another 40 or 50 minutes if you’re already there, right? But as the official SAT or ACT creeps closer and families begin to research target schools, the truth begins to dawn on erstwhile applicants: fewer and fewer colleges care about the SAT or ACT essay. Both ACT and College Board have options for students who wish to add or remove the test essay option. The ease and certainty of the process depends on how soon you decide to make a change: BEFORE LATE REGISTRATION DEADLINE Revising your essay option on either the SAT or ACT before the end of late registration is easy: SAT: You can change to or from the SAT with Essay without a change fee, but you…

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Is the short but contentious era of writing samples on the SAT and ACT drawing to an ignominious close? Sure looks like it. Today’s high schoolers might not realize that a test essay is a 21st century amendment, one that seemed improbable and ill-fitting at its inception in 2005. Nonetheless, early versions of the SAT and ACT essay provided some useful college admissions data, but even those benefits became dubious during the last few years of confusing test revisions. Today, both the SAT and ACT include optional writing assignments. However, the number of schools that require or recommend the essay has plummeted precipitously. Back in April of 2018, Harvard and Dartmouth dropped their essay requirements. This past summer, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and Brown followed suit, closing out the Ivy Leagues. At this point, fewer than 20 of this nation’s 2,600 or so accredited four-year colleges and universities ask for SAT…

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Poll a random sample of college admissions officers, high school students, and test prep professionals on just about any issue, and you’ll likely encounter a lot of divergent ideas. On one issue, however, we all tend to agree: The SAT and ACT essays are a waste. These essays are a waste of time, adding nearly an hour to each official test and many more hours to any comprehensive test preparation. These essays are a waste of money, anywhere from $14 to $16.50 per test plus the extra cost of prep. These essays are a waste of effort, as fewer and fewer colleges require or recommend essay scores. To my knowledge, even the ones that want the scores don’t use them in any real capacity, as I’ve yet to hear about a student denied admission because of a low essay score. Harvard clearly agrees, as that estimable institution recently dropped its…

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College admissions can be very much a numbers game, with quantitative data like grades and test scores carrying a lot of influence. However, more subjective and personal aspects of an application matter too. Am amazing college essay can make an application, while a bland one can break it. If you find yourself uninspired by the 2017-18 Common App essay prompts, consider the Coalition application. The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success was developed to improve the college application process for all students as they search for and apply to their perfect college. This free, centralized toolkit is a lot like the Common App and serves a diverse group of mostly Eastern U.S. public and private universities, including many of the most competitive. Be advised, however, that the Coalition essay is a bit shorter than the one on the Common App, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.   Instructions. In general,…

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If you’re wondering whether standardized test scores matter in college admissions, allow us to clear that up for you: they do. Grades also matter… a lot. Extracurricular activities matter too, as do recommendations. But one of the most influential and truly personal components of a college application is the essay. Writing an AMAZING college essay begins by selecting the right prompt. Get a head start on this process by reviewing the 2017-18 Common App essay prompts, with 7 exciting options to choose from:   Instructions. The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the…

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