The Only College Admissions Application Tip You’ll Ever Need

Don't wait 'til the Midnight Hour. "In The Midnight Hour" may have been a big hit for Wilson Pickett, but midnight is not the best time to submit your college admissions application. If you have questions or need help, college admissions offices are usually closed. If your computer crashes or if servers become overloaded, then you may experience a delay with respect to the actual time and date stamp recorded on your application. Technically speaking, this can result in a late submission.  Start earlier in the day, week, or month and allow enough time to print and review your application before clicking "submit." Also, make sure you have a credit card handy to pay the application fee online. Your parents will appreciate it if you don't wake up them up at midnight to ask for a credit card! Print a copy of your application before submitting it online and proof that paper copy of your app before submitting (even better, have someone else proof it for you). Even though you're submitting your application electronically, once it gets to the admissions office, it's likely to be printed and read by a human being. So, take the time to read what your sending. Make sure all the required fields are complete and that you have not omitted any key information. Check your sentence structure and spelling on any of the narrative sections. You want your app to look good to the reviewer–right? How often do you look your best at midnight? Related reading (best if read before midnight!) The 5 Biggest Mistakes in College Admissions Essays Recession-safe Majors  Top 10 Tips for Dressing Smart for your College Admissions Interview  If you have other tips to share, please post using the Comments...

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The 5 Biggest Mistakes in College Admissions Essays
Oct07

The 5 Biggest Mistakes in College Admissions Essays

College admissions essays are important — and different. The following is a guest post by Janson Woodlee, co-founder of Ivy Eyes Editing. Your college admissions essay is probably unlike anything you’ve ever written. What other class or context has demanded you compose a self-actualizing, authentic piece of prose that also subtly “markets” your life experience? The admissions context is unique in this regard, and requires some strategic understanding of your audience: what they’re reading and what they want to be reading. At Ivy Eyes Editing, we have read thousands of college admissions essays and established a solid calibration for what makes an admissions essay extraordinary. So, what are the 5 biggest mistakes that we see applicants routinely make? 1. A lack of authenticity. Most applicants obtusely write what the AdCom (Admissions Committee) wants to hear (“winning the swim meet was amazing—I’m so proud I won!”) rather than the more difficult, reflective alternative (“winning the swim meet was amazing but surprisingly difficult—my swim career was over”). Authenticity makes you you, it makes you a stronger community member, and it makes you likeable. Keep it authentic! 2. Tackling too much. Most applicants try to compress their life story into their admissions essay; however, remember that your essay isn’t your resume in narrative form. Focusing on a seemingly insignificant moment in a coffee shop will likely yield more interesting, thoughtful content. Typically, you only have 800 words or so. Get granular and dig deep! 3. Generic angles. The hyper-descriptive intro that starts with the onomatopoeia (“KA-BOOM!”), the one-size-fits-all, resume-supporting framework (describing the photos on a nightstand), the melodramatic essay that explores a difficult circumstance (“When my dog died…”): we’ve all read these essays before. Your admissions essay is somewhat like a 1st date or conversation, and hackneyed narrative tactics will cause most listeners to tune out. 4. Language level. Your admissions essay must be fundamentally reader-friendly. It should not read like a dense PhD dissertation OR an informal e-mail to your best friend; it should strike a balance between the two. Don’t use a series of clichés. Do write in your own language and remember to show rather than tell. 5. Misusing the admissions essay. Your essay can truly be a marketing opportunity. There is a correct, subtle way to articulate your strengths and strengthen your candidacy. So, take a step back. Given the rest of your application, what should your reader know about you—and what does your essay tell them? Admissions writing truly requires a new set of skills which most high school applicants don’t frequently get to practice or cultivate. However, avoiding some of these pitfalls will help you as...

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Keep Your Eye on the Prize with Ivy Eyes Editing
Jul12

Keep Your Eye on the Prize with Ivy Eyes Editing

 Let’s face it, the stress of college applications and essay writing can be a headache. During a time when you’ll sift through college applications like you’re panning for gold, it might seem impossible to get through the process alive. The best thing to do is to firstly, keep breathing, and secondly, get by with a little help from your friends. Ivy Eyes Editing has made it their mission to help clients at every skill level and all applicant groups, whether it be college, MBA, med school, law school, or PhD programs, to “bring out the best in their candidacy and write with color and authenticity.” Ivy Eyes makes this happen by writing with you, not for you, and by pushing your thinking in such a way that will make admissions materials exceptional.  Here are a few tips. You’ve finally made it to three glorious months of summer vacation. It’s time to hit the beach, catch some sun, and… write your college admissions essays. How in the world do you get started? While different essays require different approaches, a good rule of thumb is to make an outline. Start collecting stories early, making a skeleton for each. That way, it’s much easier to determine which direction has the most life and authenticity.   It has to be you, wonderful you. What is authenticity? In a nutshell, you. What do you bring to the table that no other candidate does?  This isn’t limited to what have you done that no other candidate has, but it includes everything from your writing style to personal detail.  Believe it or not, an essay that is colorful and age-appropriate is more likely to grab the attention of an admissions committee than something that could pass as a legal document.  No admissions consultant can fake authenticity for you. There is something incredible and unique about the perspective of high school students that can’t be replicated. In a world full of admissions consultants that attempt to build ‘super-candidates’, what a relief it is to know that the best you can do is just be you! T.M.I So in your endeavor to project an authentic image of yourself, one very important question arises: How much information is too much information? Some prompts call for more personal details than others, but at the end of the day it is important to maintain a good level of balance in any essay. Humanize yourself (most schools are looking to build a thriving and lively campus, not Stepford) but at the same time keep in mind that you’re writing a college essay, not a tell-all autobiography.  How to Lose a Committee in...

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