The One Thing that Makes Finding the Right College a Little Easier

Will you be having the celebration or the heartache on the menu today?

For students who apply to multiple colleges around the country, the process inevitably means visiting many campuses, writing multiple essays, and submitting long applications. When the acceptance letters come—or the rejection notifications—it can feel like a party or like you're the only one who didn't get an invite.

Gracie, an intelligent, hard-working, altruistic college-bound senior, says it’s easy to get caught up in comparisons. After all, it makes sense to imagine oneself at a particular school—to fall in love before the proposal. Gracie, whose bright eyes and contagious warmth are second nature, was more serious when she contemplated the real feelings seniors face around college acceptance, “No two people have the same path to finding their school, so you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. A myriad of factors go into the decision, and comparing your qualifications to...

Continue Reading...

The Future is Female

When Gabi started as a camper at App Camp for Girls, or what the organizers call a developer, she was only 13. For the next few years she was a volunteer, but at 16-years-old the staff shook their heads and wondered what on earth they would do with her.

Gabi was too old to remain an intern yet too young to become a project team manager. Some organizations would have just told Gabi to come back when she was older. But the leadership at App Camp for Girls is far too brilliant to let something like established norms interfere with hanging onto young talent. So, they created a new position, the “Lead Developer Intern,” or what they affectionately call “The Gabi Job.” 

Gabi’s experience solving a particularly difficult coding riddle at the camp is the subject of her common application essay. As an award-winning playwright and National Merit Scholar, she has the sort of brain that craves learning, challenges, and the thrill of overcoming obstacles.

And...

Continue Reading...

Should you visit a college before or after you're accepted?


To visit or not to visit?

When it comes to applying to colleges across the country, every senior and their family has a strategy. For Emma, waiting to visit colleges after she received acceptances just felt practical. After all, she spent the summer before her senior year working a paid internship with Intel and writing her common application essay. Between writing more supplements, playing volleyball, and juggling her honors classes in the fall, letting the college acceptances introduce and eliminate her real options gave her just a bit of breathing room.

But when Emma received acceptances into honors colleges from Oregon to Vermont and more acceptances from schools like Boston University and Brandeis, she felt more confused than ever. 

With merit scholarships ranging from $6000 (UO and OSU) to $20,000 (Brandeis) to $23,000 (UVT) per year, and the WUE scholarship at Colorado State, she didn't know how to pick. “After hearing back from all my schools, I wasn’t...

Continue Reading...

How writing confidence translates to college acceptance

When Talya began applying for schools in the fall of 2018, she was far ahead of most of her peers. And that’s not only because she chose to apply early.

Talya is a parent’s dream. She operates on plans, checklists, note-taking, spreadsheets, and networking. If it’s important, Talya has seen it coming and she’s working on a strategy. These tactics are not new acquisitions either.

Talya, who grew up competing in sports, elected to attend a rigorous private high school, has volunteered hundreds of hours to Youthline, a crisis helpline with teen to teen support, and even sat on the Planned Parenthood Council before she was 18, is well practiced in getting her ship in order and aiming her sails at the high seas.

As she toured schools, tried on majors, and devoted herself to passionate causes, there was just one little thing (okay, it’s kind of a big thing) that kept Talya awake at night, worried that she might not be accepted into her dream school. That...

Continue Reading...

How to compete and win a $275,000 college scholarship to a top school

scholarships May 05, 2019

Meet Tori. She’s not your average high school senior. She’s not your average young woman. Let’s face it. Tori isn’t average in anything. 

Tori isn’t just a top student at her public high school—she’s also an award-winning rock climber. As the 8-time regional champion and ranking nationally in the top 10 three times, competing is a regular part of Tori's life.

She's not only sought out higher ground in sports but also high stakes issues, where she’s become a local leader. For the last two years, Tori has led her high school’s SAFER program, to educate her peers about sexual consent and sexual violence.

She’s collaborated with partnerships with Oregon Student Voice and the Oregon Attorney General to bring sexual assault response training to youths. When it comes to social justice, equity, advocacy—or probably anything—Tori is the fighter you want on your side.

Part of Tori's scrappy charm comes from the...

Continue Reading...

What really matters at the end of senior year? A top student inventories his activities list

Uncategorized May 01, 2019

Student council. Check. 

Varsity soccer. Check. 

National Honors Society. Check.

Link crew. Honor guard. Church Finance Elder. Check. Check. Huh? 

It’s true. Eric, a hard-working, high-achieving, heavily committed senior, served as All Student Body Vice President, earned 2nd team all-metro as a soccer player, and helped his church strategize their budget as part of their finance committee.  

It goes without saying that Eric had a very busy high school career, and with multiple acceptances at impressive institutions like Santa Clara University, Pepperdine, University of San Diego, and Loyola Marymount, he offers some surprising advice to future graduates. 

“If I were to do it again I probably would have focused on one or two activities and spent more time just reading,” he says, “colleges want to see your passions. If you can effectively express these in the essay, that is equally if not more valuable than a top test...

Continue Reading...

Transform Boring Information into Clickable Content

“If you build it, they will come.”

While this mantra proved true in the 1989 blockbuster film Field of Dreams, it’s unfortunately not a reliable truth in the world of web readership.

Still, if you run your own business or are tasked with writing content for your company, it's easy to be intimidated by the blank page. It's one thing to be a good communicator but quite another to create a web article or blog that gets read.

The problem is that sometimes helpful—even essential—information your audience needs is rarely sexy or emotional.  

Topics designed to explain a concept are great for textbooks (but are textbooks great?) but they’re not ideal for getting busy readers to click and ingest. 

Because in order to develop a readership, you need to do two important things: 

1) Write the Article 

2) Focus on one of your audience's problems

You might notice I did not say "use SEO language," and it really is super significant in getting...

Continue Reading...

How to Get More Out of What You Read

You’d think a conversation about grammar would be very boring at a dinner party.
 
Back in my college professor days, I always made sure to stay far away from the topic at gatherings. Not only because I could geek out for hours on the subject but because parties and sentence diagrams are almost never used in the same phrase.
 
But something strange would happen when attendees asked me about my profession. They would light up about their favorite books or tell me the story of writing a 'novel' as a child or pontificate about texting and the ruin of the English language.
 
And then, like clockwork, they would narrow in on their true heart's desire: a lesson on commas or maybe even the semi-colon. I would glance back and forth over my shoulder—I wanted to be invited back after all—before diving into the euphoria that emanates from one of my all-time favorite topics. 
 
I'd explain the imperative of really identifying an independent clause (not...
Continue Reading...

The Bad Writing Cure

 

Many people associate writing with the words on the page. And that makes a lot of sense. After all, when parents, teachers, or others complain that ‘no one can write anymore’ that’s what they generally point to—the poorly constructed sentences on the page. And when students struggle to get started, much less completed, it’s the words they’re generally struggling with. I don’t want to say everyone is wrong and I am right so maybe I’ll just say the first part: everyone is wrong.

Everyone, Victoria?

Okay, maybe not everyone. After all, I use to be one of the correctors who believed that well-stated words and sentences were a way to divide the world into the have and have nots. And it some cases, it still kind of works like that. But one of my first courses in graduate school blew my mind, when we learned that most people weren’t making a lot of mistakes. In fact, they were just making the same mistakes over and over. So yes, there...

Continue Reading...

SIDE DOOR ENTRANCE

Uncategorized Sep 29, 2017
 

You've got the guide--now you've got the video! 

Continue Reading...
1 2
Close

50% Complete

I would love to stay connected to you! Join the Write Big community to receive regular updates, free resources, and special offers to workshops and coaching programs.