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How to Choose a Great College Essay Topic

Don’t want your college application essay to get in the way of enjoying your summer? Considering that the Common Application Essay prompts and Apply Texas prompts rarely change and the objectives are always the same, now is a great time to start!

When should you take the ACT/SAT?

We all know that preparing for the ACT and SAT can take considerable time, but how much time should it take? How early should you start studying, and when should you take the actual test?

Everything You Need to Know About College Appeal Letters

There’s nothing more frustrating than being applying to your dream school and getting deferred or waitlisted. Being stuck in limbo can be excruciating, however, there are steps you can take while you wait for the final answer. In this post, we’ll answer all of your burning questions about writing college appeal letters:

How to Make Your Summer Count

So you’re diligently following your ACT/SAT practice test routine, you’re making good grades in all your classes, you’ve joined a handful of school clubs, and to top it all off, you volunteered at a blood drive last month!

How to Write Your Summer Program Application Essays

In our last post about extracurriculars and resume-building, Madison talked about finding a summer program that works for you. Now that you’ve figured that out, I’m here to give some pointers on how to write the application essays for whichever program you choose.

Unexpected Ways to Use Social Media in Your Supplemental Essays

When it comes to writing your supplemental essays, one of the most important—and most overlooked—steps comes before you begin typing a single word: Research, research, research.

Dos & Don'ts of Supplemental Essays

You’ve finished your narrative essay and pasted it into your Common App, but your application isn’t complete! Whether they’re under the “writing” tab or hiding under “additional information,” you still need to complete the shorter supplemental essays. Here are a few tips to take into account as you work through these college-specific essays.

Dos & Don'ts of Narrative Essays

The nightmare: you’ve completed double-digit drafts of your narrative essay. You’ve revised so many times that you could recite all 650 words from memory. There’s a beginning, middle, and end; trusted readers have affirmed that it sufficiently captures your voice and spirit; there isn’t a typo or comma splice in sight. But still, something feels…off.

Show Me The Money: Searching for Scholarships

With college tuition costs over the past decade increasing by an average of 20%, the pricetag on higher education can be pretty daunting. Despite financial aid calculators and advising services, universities are typically vague about their scholarship offer amounts, scholarship selection processes, and percentage of students who receive scholarships. As a college applicant, this makes it difficult to get a clear read on how much cash you’ll have to fork over for your future degree.

Narrative Essay Roadmap

When I ask students what they’re most nervous about in the college process, they overwhelmingly say, “The narrative essay.” Even though your Common App essay is only 650 words, it can cast a shadow over the entire application process.

Should I Take Both the SAT and the ACT?

While studying for the SAT or ACT, some applicants think, why not take both tests? I just want to see how I do—what’s the harm? While wanting to maximize your admissions chances is a wise impulse, we strongly recommend that you only take one standardized test. Here are three reasons for why you should only take one or the other:

Who, When, and How to Ask for Recommendation Letters

College applications are your chance to show off all your years of hard work through transcripts, test scores, essays, and a resume. But there’s one important piece of the puzzle that you can’t complete on your own: recommendation letters.

Three Clichés to Avoid in Your Common App Essay

Just 650 words, right. How hard could it possibly be? When it comes to the personal narrative essay, we like to say that (almost) anything is write-able. That being said, between plummeting college admissions rates and test-optional policies placing ever more emphasis on your essays, choosing a topic that will set you apart from the pack from the get-go is crucial.

CAL's Smallest Class

Thinking about applying to UC Berkeley? They are no exception to the trend of falling acceptance rates.

How to Common App

So you've finally arrived at your senior year. Congratulations! The only thing standing between you and your dream school is approximately a dozen essays, eight more months of high school, a handful of recommendation letters, and three little words: The Common App.

Early Action vs. Early Decision: What’s the Difference?

Applying to college can be extremely stressful, with exponentially lower admissions rates [link to previous post] adding to the uncertainty. Applying early can end that period of uncertainty a little sooner, and depending on the school, can also boost the student’s chances of getting in.

College Acceptance Rates Are Lower Than You Think

If you or your child are applying to college, you know that competition is fierce. Students are applying to more schools than ever before, and in just the last few years alone, acceptance rates have fallen off a cliff.

More Than A Business

How alumni Natasha and Seaver Chan, '10 international studies, channeled their love of learning (and UCI) to found Vanguard College Prep

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Our most recognized articles.

More Than A Business

How alumni Natasha and Seaver Chan, '10 international studies, channeled their love of learning (and UCI) to found Vanguard College Prep

Early Action vs. Early Decision: What’s the Difference?

Applying to college can be extremely stressful, with exponentially lower admissions rates [link to previous post] adding to the uncertainty. Applying early can end that period of uncertainty a little sooner, and depending on the school, can also boost the student’s chances of getting in.

College Acceptance Rates Are Lower Than You Think

If you or your child are applying to college, you know that competition is fierce. Students are applying to more schools than ever before, and in just the last few years alone, acceptance rates have fallen off a cliff.

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