Who are your people?
Sep03

Who are your people?

John Carpenter I’ll tell you a secret. Every single year, the night before the first day of school, I get a little nervous.  You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s that inside-your-stomach jumpiness that comes right before something big happens, and though it feels kind of weird, I’ve discovered it’s actually a pretty good thing. That nervous feeling reminds us that beginnings are important, and when something is important, we want to get it right. There is so much to do at the beginning of a school year–especially if it’s your senior year, and of course, a lot of what needs to get done is connected to applying to college. And you definitely want to get that right! So, let’s think about one of the things that can help you turn the beginning of the school year into something that will also be advantageous to you as you organize yourself for applying to college. The key word is PEOPLE. That’s right. Part of the energy that comes with starting a new school year is a result of all the people in your life now: old friends, new teachers, new kids in class, buddies who were gone all summer at camp or traveling, new teams of starting and returning athletes. There’s a lot going on with the people who surround you the first few weeks of school. So, one way to get organized for college apps, is to make a list of the PEOPLE you need to connect with now. It takes a whole lot of people to get you into college, and the smarter you are, the sooner you will identify and talk to the people who will be supporting you in the process. First, your high school counselor is one of your main people to connect with. Make time to spend with your counselor to be sure that she or he knows exactly what your goals are, where you want to apply, what you see as your strengths, and when all the documentation needs to be sent to the colleges. This person will write a recommendation for you, so be sure your counselor understands you. And speaking of recommendations, you will need to connect with one or two teachers who know you well enough to write honest, praiseworthy endorsements for you. Be sure to touch base with them soon. Likewise, if athletic recruitment is part of your plan for getting admitted to college, be sure you’re communicating with your coach about potential programs, training, contacts, and videos. Another set of very important people for you as school begins is your parents. That’s right. You need to connect...

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John Lennon’s Take on: What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
Jan29

John Lennon’s Take on: What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” You’ve probably been asked this several thousand times throughout your young life, though the wording changes slightly when you’re in college: “What do you want to do with your life?” If you answered “Be happy” what kind of reaction do you think you’d get? We addressed this topic to some degree in a recent #CampusChat on how to be the perfect job seeker.  Our discussion went from being proactive in searching for jobs and networking to making choices in college that lead specifically to jobs. For some, that raised the question “Is the point of college to get a job?” John Carpenter shared his thoughts on this topic in a blog post on his Ask John About College web site.  What do you think? What is the purpose of college? Read:  Job Skills, At College? by John Carpenter John recently published Your College Admissions Essay: Get Real for Smart College Visit. Post your replies as a comment here, or on our Facebook page. Special thanks to Donna Wertalik, marketing instructor in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, for sharing this image....

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Your College Admissions Essay: Get Real
Oct04

Your College Admissions Essay: Get Real

John Carpenter, Director of Admissions and University Counseling at the United World College, UWC Costa Rica, responded with this guest post to one of the takeaways from NACAC about what college admissions officers are really looking for in a college admissions essay. The full text of this also appears on his blog: askJohnaboutcollege.com. We encourage students to ask college admissions officers about what they are looking for when reading an applicant’s essay. When should students ask about this? While on the college visit, of course! Colleges Want You to Get Real in the College Admissions Essay by John Carpenter “What is real?” asked the Rabbit. Does anyone remember that question from The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams? It was one of my favorite books when I was younger, but it really didn’t speak to me until I was already an adult.Being real is a good thing to think about–especially as you’re cranking out college essays and applications. The temptation is to try to make yourself appear super amazing, and nobody is going to blame you for trying to do that either–especially when it seems that every other kid applying to college has created her own business, won a national debating trophy,opened a homeless shelter for abandoned children, and cured leprosy. However, the very best way to grab an admission officer’s attention is to be the person you are. Seriously. In other words, write about whatever is important to you, but in your own REAL voice. “Real isn’t how you’re made,” replied the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you.” Happens to you? Holy cow, what does that mean? “What has happened to you” can be exactly that–something that you’ve sustained or overcome, but more often than not, being real comes from something that you’ve noticed or learned or paid attention to. In other words, it’s whatever it is that made you into the person you are now–the thinking, questioning, maybe uncertain-about-some-stuff person that you are. Write about that. So maybe what has happened to you is that you’ve thought about something in a new way recently. That’s real. Or you’ve gotten disgusted about something at your school, or on the news, or in your family. That’s real. Or maybe you’ve just been afraid of not having anything to say about yourself on a college application. That’s real, too. Forget trying to impress someone you’ve never even met with your application, resume,and college admissions essay. Just tell the colleges who you are. Dirt and all. Well, maybe just some of the dirt–but the point is, you don’t have to “do” things to make a good impression. All you have...

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