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Story Up! The College Essay Blog

5 Building Blocks to a Balanced College List

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 15, 2015 8:32:00 AM / by Michelle Sheu posted in juniors, college list, college process, research, applying to college

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by Michelle Sheu, Collegiate Content Contributor, Story2
© 2015 Story2. All rights reserved.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are over 6,000 colleges and universities in America alone. For the wanderlust students, there are even more options when you include international universities. With the masses of schools awaiting your application, how can you be sure to select the right ones that best suit your interests, growth and development?

Don’t let the options intimidate you! In regards to selecting colleges, you are in charge of your own fate. As you begin your research and actualize all sorts of ideas and hopes you’d envision for prospective colleges, you gradually narrow down your list. This could be an incredibly daunting and tedious process. But, if you keep the following criteria in mind (which you can adjust to fit your unique priorities), you will simplify the process by tenfold.

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College Decision Advice for the First-Generation College Student

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 13, 2015 11:56:00 AM / by Elizabeth Chereskin posted in college acceptance, college decision, Guest Post, first generation college students

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Guest post written by Elizabeth Chereskin, Content Manager at College Greenlight

 

You've been spending countless hours on your college search and applications and all your work has paid off: you've got acceptance letters from multiple schools, and you’re going to be the first person in your family to go to college!  Now, you're faced with a pretty big life decision about which one is the right one. As Decision Day grows closer and closer, here's a guide for first-generation students to pick a school that will be the best fit: where you'll spend the next few years excelling academically, where you'll be the most happy, and where you'll find the school that makes the most financial sense for you.

Prioritize

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Common App Essay Prompts: 5 Do’s and Don'ts for Mastering the 2015-16 Prompts

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 10, 2015 10:25:00 AM / by Carol Barash posted in common application, what admissions officers are looking for, how to write a common app essay, common app prompts

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by Carol Barash, PhD, founder and CEO, Story2, and author of Write Out Loud
© 2015 Story2. All rights reserved.

On the same day that the final Class of 2015 admissions decisions were released, the Common Application publicized its new essay questions for the Class of 2016. For a detailed dissection of the new essay topics, check out Story2 admissions coach, Josh Stephens’s, blog in Huffington Post.

Here I want to give juniors some specific guideposts for the part of the college journey that revolves around college essays. Although the essays come last (most students don’t start writing them until fall of their senior year), there are a few key steps you can take now to avoid a lot of hassle later.

3 things you need to know and do to conquer your Common App essay:

1.  Focus the essay on your character, not your achievements

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What We Can Learn from The Princeton Review’s 2015 “Dream College” Survey

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 3, 2015 1:03:00 PM / by Jocelyn Johnson posted in what we can learn, students, parents, college process, college prep, college planning, standardized testing

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by Jocelyn Johnson, Marketing and Social Media Coordinator, Story2,
© 2015 Story2. All rights reserved.

“What’s your dream college?” According to a recent Princeton Review survey, if you ask a college bound senior or their parent, chances are the answer you’ll hear is Stanford or Harvard. Every year The Princeton Review conducts a survey of college applicants and their parents to assess the hopes and worries of applying to college. Beyond the top 10 Dream Colleges list, there is much to learn from the 2015 survey results. Let’s take a closer look at some of the questions, their results, and what college bound families can learn.

Q: How many colleges will you (your child) apply to?

Survey result: 69% of respondents planned to apply to 5 or more colleges. 25% of parents and students planned to apply to 9 or more.

What we can learn: Fearing low admission rates, students are applying to more colleges than ever before, which further drives down acceptance rates. The statistic students should pay attention to is 80% of top students get into elite colleges. Build your college list strategically, but only apply to schools you would actually attend. Also, the average application fee was $41 in 2014, so if you’re planning to apply to over 10 schools, make sure you budget accordingly.

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A Student’s Guide to Choosing the Right College

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 1, 2015 8:01:00 AM / by Lily Herman posted in college visits, college decision, choosing the right college, getting into college, preparing for college

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by Lily Herman, co-founder of The Prospect

Since the founding my organization The Prospect over two years ago, I’ve heard all sorts of advice from admissions officers, college consultants, and college counselors as to what students should look for when they’re trying to decide which college is right for them.

And while all of this sage wisdom from older people can be awesome, there’s one problem: many of these people haven’t been college students in years (even decades)!

So, from the perspective of a current college student (as well as someone who runs one of the largest college access organizations in the world), what should you really be thinking about when determining which college is right for you? Here are a few things other people might not tell you to look for.

1. Student Voice and Participation

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Seniors: How To Decide Which College Is Right for You

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 27, 2015 10:07:00 AM / by Carol Barash posted in financial aid, seniors, parents, college acceptance, college decision, choosing the right college

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by Carol Barash, PhD, founder and CEO, Story2, and author of Write Out Loud
© 2015 Story2. All rights reserved.

It’s happening! Emails trickle in. Friends have big smiles. Or not. By the end of March you will pretty much know your choices. And you will have a month to decide which college to go to. Maybe you were admitted to your top choices; maybe not. Maybe with scholarships; maybe not. Maybe a couple wait lists. Now what?

How do you sort through and make the right decision for you and your family? Try these three steps to help you decide which college is right for you:

1. Consider all your choices

Consider the strengths of all your choices. Also, be honest about any deal-breakers at those places. Revisit as many of the colleges as possible and talk to students you know who go there. Ask tough questions:

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10 Things High School Juniors Should Start Doing Now

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 23, 2015 12:11:00 PM / by Jocelyn Johnson posted in college admission, juniors, what to do, college process, college admission strategy

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by Jocelyn Johnson, Marketing and Social Media Coordinator, Story2,
© 2015 Story2. All rights reserved.

As colleges prepare to send out their acceptance letters to the Class of 2019 this week, the focus now shifts to current high school juniors’ admission process. So juniors, as you watch your senior friends receive their application status updates, here are 10 things you should start doing now to prepare for your own college admission process:

1)  Ask yourself “Why college?”

Before you embark on the college admission journey, ask yourself “Why college?” Not a specific school, but college in general. What does a college education mean to you? What will you gain? What do you want to achieve in college and beyond, and why is a college education the key to getting there? Knowing the answer this question will empower you throughout your admission process.

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8 Tips for Multicultural Students Attending an Admitted Students Weekend

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 13, 2015 11:22:00 AM / by Jocelyn Johnson posted in first generation, college decisions, college visits, first generation college students, multicultural students, admitted students weekends

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by Jocelyn Johnson, Marketing and Social Media Coordinator, Story2,
© 2015 Story2. All rights reserved.

 (Image source: goshorty.net)

“Remember when you visited Vanderbilt for their multicultural students preview weekend?” my mom asked. She was doing some spring cleaning and found my college acceptance letters tucked in a corner in our study. “You called halfway through the weekend crying saying you wanted to come home,” she continued. We laughed and reminisced about where I applied and my results.

Although I had forgotten about that embarrassing moment, I do recall attending several multicultural student weekends: including Vanderbilt’s MOSAIC and The Essence of Emory. My experiences at those preview weekends played an important role in making my final college decision. Here are 8 tips for first-generation and diverse students to get the most of an admitted students weekend:

1) Get the real story from current students

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College Visit Checklist: 5 Ways to Make the Most of Campus Visits

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 11, 2015 8:00:00 AM / by Diane Thomas posted in college visits, college process, college planning, Guest Post

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Guest post by Diane Thomas, editor of Student Advisor, Scholarship Advisor, and Learning Advisor 

Image source: harverford.edu

Spring is in the air and that means one important thing—high school juniors are starting to research colleges. Between internet searching and the recommendations of family, friends, and guidance counselors, college lists are forming and plans will soon be made to visit campuses across the country. Studies show that a campus visit is often the deciding factor in whether or not a student applies to a particular college, so it’s important to plan your trip for success.

To get the most out of your upcoming campus visits, be sure to follow this college visit checklist:


1. Visit campus when school is in session.

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First-Generation Students: How to Find Colleges That Are Right for You

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 6, 2015 4:51:00 PM / by Elizabeth Chereskin posted in first generation, college planning, Guest Post, first generation college students

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Guest post written by Elizabeth Chereskin, Content Manager at College Greenlight

Students compiling their college lists may often ask themselves “Where can I get in?” While this is an important question, we suggest students (especially first generation college students) think of it this way: “What services can the school provide for me?”  Thinking about how a school can best support you throughout your education can be the key to success both to and through college.

At College Greenlight, you can explore and connect with colleges that are looking for students just like you and want to make sure you are able to maximize your education.  While trying to figure out what college will be best for you, we recommend considering the following student support services and which ones can be the most helpful to you:

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