Tag: college essays

College Essay Writing Season is in Full Swing


Now that the Fourth of July is behind us, forward-thinking families are beginning to prepare for the coming school year. That means pulling out summer reading lists; encouraging kids to sharpen their math skills; and, for those whose children are rising high school seniors, starting to think about the college essay. It’s definitely not too early.

Here’s why.

Senior year of high school is an exceedingly busy time for students. Clearing time during the fall semester to develop a thoughtfully crafted Common Application Essay—the notorious 650-word personal piece of writing that students hope will wow college admissions officers and secure them a spot at their dream college—suddenly becomes an enormous challenge in the midst of all the other academic, college-related, and social obligations students face during senior year.

Is your senior struggling with the college essay?


Save Your Relationship; Leave it to the Pros

College Essay
credit: The Journal

As if today’s rising high school seniors don’t face enough pressure—about where they’ll apply to college, if they’ll get in, whether they’re making the right choice—there’s the looming hurdle of the college application itself. Sure, high school college counselors likely advised rising seniors to grind it out during the summer months. And if you have a child who actually followed this sage advice, congratulations. You’re in the minority.

Making Your College Application Stand Out – Focus on What Makes You Unique


Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post by professional tutor Ian Siegel, who owns and operates Streamline Tutors.

College-Application-FormIt used to be that GPA and SAT scores dictated where a student would be accepted into college. Now high scores and top grades only get a student considered at selective colleges and universities. The admissions office at Harvard, for one, reports that over 70 percent of its applicants are more than prepared to succeed there.

On the other hand, I have been told by admissions insiders at several large universities that applications with numbers that aren’t up to snuff are read by part-timers who only suggest a second look to admissions when other intangible aspects of an application appear especially unique and impressive. In other words, they stand out.

Diving In


McDonogh senior Olivia Millspaugh shares her college essay on the terror and thrill of free diving in the Caribbean. Olivia will attend College of Charleston next fall.

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you

My free diving instructor at the Island School, Ian, explained, “You will believe you are dying. First you will feel a burning sensation in your lungs, and then you will experience diaphragm spasms. But you should ignore it, because this feeling would actually have to occur four times consecutively before you are really in trouble.” That statement didn’t calm my nerves. I was still afraid to touch the bottom of a swimming pool, and here I was in the ocean. 

As the boat stopped, I looked down into the ocean and noticed how menacing the choppy water seemed to be. I slowly slipped on my flippers and snorkel in an attempt to delay my entry into the ocean, but after a few moments I managed to jump into the water. The three-foot swells pushed me around, and I pictured myself the victim of a shark attack in a movie. “Relax,” I said to calm myself, and I stuck my head into the water to glance at the ocean floor one hundred feet beneath me. 

The sea was like another world underneath the dark waves. Surprisingly, my anxiety vanished. The ocean was so tranquil and serene. Inside the infinite blue were enormous reefs covered with sea fan coral and multiple aquatic organisms. Swimming around me were Queen Triggerfish, Blue Chromises, Townsend Angelfish, and many other marine animals in vibrant blues and yellows. I had never seen such an array of colors together in a natural environment. Even the occasional Bull Shark seemed peaceful. It was all so beautiful, and I was amazed that there were ecosystems in the world like this. I felt as if I had been let in on a secret of the universe.

My first time free diving was an extremely scary and life changing experience, and it has impacted me in two different ways. Once I conquered my fear of free diving, it proved to me that if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish anything. It has also inspired me to explore the world more and to take advantage of my surroundings. Free diving has exposed me to another environment, and it has sparked my love for the natural world. As Rachel Carson once stated, “To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides … is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”