SmartCollegeVisit October 2010 Digest
Oct31

SmartCollegeVisit October 2010 Digest

Each month, an amazing group of students, parents, writers, educators, and consultants appear on SmartCollegeVisit. Though this web site is centered around our passion for helping people get the most from their college visits, we also explore topics that may be of interest to parents (and students) once their teens are enrolled in college.  Today, I want to thank everyone who contributed to our posts during the month of October. Though October may be the 10th month of the year, it's the 12th month we've been publishing articles for college-bound teens and their families! So, a big thank you goes to the following folks who contributed to SmartCollegeVisit's 12th month: GUEST WRITERS/CONTRIBUTORS Eric Stoller, for answering my questions and sharing insights about how colleges are there for the parents, too. —  When Your Child Turns 18 and Goes to College: What Parents Need to Know Duong Sheahan and the ChicagoMoms for permission to repost Duong's story of her journey as a parent of a college-bound teen.  Janson Woodlee, co-founder of IvyEyesEditing for his guest post: The 5 Biggest Mistakes in College Admissions Essays and Anne Giles Clelland for the College Admission Application Checklist. college students: David Replogle, Corey Bobco, Lauren Joffe for their posts from The Real College Guide. Nancy Berk, for sharing the news with me about her high school senior, Hunter Berk, and his effort to help everyone gain access to college prep materials.  CAMPUSCHAT GUESTS Chad Ratliff, whose chat on the topic The Knowledge Workforce ended early due to technical difficulties with Twitter. We will revisit that topic with Chad again.  Sharon Mostyn, who asked great questions about what parents need to know when beginning the college admissions process with their teens.  College students, Kelly Rivard and Chelsea Merget, for leading the discussion on student jobs by talking about the number of jobs they are juggling while in college and how they try to keep up with a school/social/work life balance.  Jennifer Forde, customer service representative for Fleet Aviation who provided information about the value and affordability of charter flights to visit campuses on the east coast.  The entire group of regulars to #CampusChat and all of those who are discovering the chat and joining in on our discussions to help teens, parents, admissions reps and counselors. It's an inspiring group of people to meet with each week.  OUR WRITERS THIS MONTH AND THE SCHOOLS  Writers: Val McGinnis and Lisa Campbell Warren  Schools:  Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, University of Virginia (College Tour Halloween Haunts) Liberty University (Snowflex) Syracuse University (Whitman School of Management) Virginia Tech (One student's story) Stay tuned — subscribe to SmartCollegeVisit — we're covering more schools,...

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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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Takeaway Tweets & Transcript from #CampusChat with Ivy Eyes Editing

How does one learn how to write an attention-grabbing, read-worthy 500-word college admissions essay 140-characters at a time? Simple. Read the transcript from Wednesday's #CampusChat with @IvyEyesEditing  (July 14, 2010).  Our expert guest and co-host, Janson Woodlee, co-founder and managing editor at Ivy Eyes Editing, lead the charge for top-notch writing to get admitted to college, get off waitlists, and win scholarships.  Janson and his expert team of writers and editors, who are also Yale graduates, have edited thousands of essays, resumes, personal statements, cover letters, and other materials for business and college admissions. Their clientele includes prospective college freshmen, graduate school and professional school applicants, as well as business professionals.  There were ample Takeaway Tweets from this #CampusChat discussion that included over 160 posts and 25 contributors. Some of my favorites include these essay-writing tips from @IvyEyesEditing: Students get off waitlists, win scholarships, etc through top-notch writing  But great question re: religion and politics, really! A good caveat is to make another quality or theme the centerpiece… Your views on organized religion, not as important as what you have done to preserve or work for them  To follow-up on intro paragraphs–I grow weary of 'creative' intro 'devices.' Starting with an onomatopoeia isn't creative  Using a quote? Good idea ONLY IF: you convey what it truly means to you, and/or you expand upon it. Context is imp too.  The diversity essay: own your diversity, and tell it through a story that conveys difference that's more than skindeep.  Another pitfall: TMI- an emotionally heavy story that brings your stability & college readiness into question  And I'd add don't go with cliches. So boring when kids can talk about nothing but To Kill a Mockingbird  The Common App will go live August 1 but preview w/ all essay questions is available now http://bit.ly/byPxRc  For more great tips on writing, college admissions, SAT prep, and to see the contributions by all of the participants, read the entire #CampusChat Transcript available from What the Hashtag?!. Think you may just need some help preparing your college admissions essay or job resume? Ivy Eyes Editing offers a free writing assessment for first-time submissions. For more insight into writing the perfect essay, check out our earlier post: Keep Your Eye on the Prize with Ivy Eyes Editing. The next #CampusChat is Wednesday, July 21, 2010, with  Alexis Avila, founder and president of Prepped and...

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The 5W’s of CampusChat with @IvyEyesEditing
Jul14

The 5W’s of CampusChat with @IvyEyesEditing

 #CampusChat: 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific on July 14, 2010  WHO - Tonight's guest is Janson Woodlee (follow @IvyEyesEditing), Yale graduate and co-founder/managing editor of Ivy Eyes #CampusChat is hosted by Kelly Queijo, founder of Smart College Visit, Inc. WHAT - #CampusChat on Twitter WHERE - Twitter, What the Hashtag, TweetChat, …other/your Twitter tool of choice WHEN - 9 PM ET June 14, 2010 WHY - Janson, along with Brooke Lyons, founded Ivy Eyes in 2005 to serve college applicants, business professionals and others, worldwide, challenged with the task of representing themselves successfully in writing. The Ivy Eyes team consists of Yale graduates and includes Ph.D.'s, MBA's and published authors. Collectively they have edited thousands of materials for their clients including personal statements, essays, business letters and proposals, recommendations letters, and more. Their strength is in authenticity — they help the "real you" represent your voice successfully via the written word for a specific audience.  Related Reading: Keep Your Eye on the Prize with Ivy Eyes Editing – SmartCollegeVisit How to Rock on a Twitter Chat - Handshake 2.0 Twitter Tools for #CampusChat - SmartCollegeVisit 3 Easy Ways to Keep in Step with a Twitter Chat - Handshake 2.0...

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