The College Essay Guy Podcast: A Practical Guide to College Admissions
The College Essay Guy Podcast: A Practical Guide to College Admissions
Ethan Sawyer
Practical, up-to-date interviews with experts in college admissions, financial aid, personal statements, test prep and more. Ethan Sawyer (aka College Essay Guy), interviews deans of admission, financial aid experts, and veterans of the admissions field to extract, then distill their advice into practical steps for students and those guiding them through the process. From creating an awesome college list to appealing a financial aid letter, Ethan skips the general advice and gets right to the action items, all in an effort to bring more ease, joy and purpose into the college admissions process.
407: Behind the Scenes of an Admission Office + Supplemental Essay Deep Dive w/ Rick Diaz
On today’s episode I got to sit down with Rick Diaz, the Regional Director of Admission for Southern Methodist University (SMU) and someone I’ve known for more than 15 years. We have a pretty wide ranging discussion that covers: A behind-the-scenes look at how SMU reads applications and how they shape a class—and what that even means  Then we dive into supplemental essays — in particular the impacts of the Supreme Court’s decision to ban race-conscious admission — and how that decision has led to a large number of selective schools changing or adding new supplemental essay prompts.  We nerd out on Rick’s favorite supplemental essay—the “Why us” essay—talk a little about college majors and then—I think, Rick maybe has a little a-ha moment about when his interest in his own college major began We play a little game I made up on the chat called “What do students get wrong about…” And finally we discuss dos and don’ts for making a connection with your regional admission officers including (spoiler alert) why you maybe shouldn’t show up at their house with a box of their favorite cookies… unless you kinda’ want to freak them out a little?  I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.  Play-by-play 0:00 - Welcome to the podcast 01:32 - Who is Rick Diaz? 02:35 - What’s Rick’s role at Southern Methodist University (SMU)? 06:04 - How does SMU read applications? 08:44 - How long does Rick spend on reading an application?  10:42 - What are institutional priorities and how do they shape decisions in a college? 13:05 - What is the relationship between supplemental essays and institutional priorities? 16:29 - What are colleges looking for when their supplemental question is “Why us?” 17:21 - This year’s supplemental prompts at SMU 18:14 - Should you talk about your diversity in your college essays? 21:01 - An exercise in diversity 23:32 - What are colleges thinking about right now surrounding supplemental essays? 25:55 - Rick reacts to supplemental prompts from other schools 26:07 - Rick reacts to a prompt about being different 27:34 - Rick reacts to a prompt about your identity and goals 29:41 - How did Rick figure out his major in college? 32:46 - What is demonstrated interest and how important is it? 38:16 - Why do colleges care who is more likely to enroll? 40:25 - Do’s and Don’t’s of reaching out to your admissions officer 43:01 - What students get wrong about admissions 43:14 - How important are extracurriculars & summer planning? 44:41 - What about the personal statement? 47:03 - Is it true that the personal statement or supplemental essay can impact some students more than others? 49:00 - What about Standardized testing? 51:00 - What Rick loves about this work 52:41 - What should families keep in mind during this process? 57:07 - Wrap-up and additional resources Resources The “If You Really, Really Knew Me” Exercise (Template) This practical, comprehensive exercise helps students generate a list of identities, skills, qualities, and skills they can share with colleges. It’s one of our favorites here at CEG—if you use it, just give us a shout-out. :) The Social Identities Exercise (Template)This exercise is another favorite and is useful for helping students think about diversity and identity in both broader and more nuanced ways. Includes a guide for counselors, facilitators, and parents. How to Answer the “Diversity” (and Other Related) Supplemental Essay Prompts (Blog Article) Colleges and Universities that Changed Their Supplemental Essay Prompts After the SCOTUS Decision Was Released (Blog Article) Why You Don’t Have to Write about Trauma in Your College Essay to Stand Out—and What You Can Do Instead (Blog Article)  
Sep 29, 2023
58 min
406: Why You Don’t Have to Write about Trauma in Your College Essay to Stand Out—and What You Can Do Instead w/ Tina Yong
In this episode I sat down with TED speaker Tina Yong to talk about why students don’t have to write about trauma in a college essay to stand out—and what they can do instead. We discussed, among other things:  Tina’s experience as an immigrant/racialized person feeling the pressure to turn her personal story into a personal statement with a linear, digestible plot—and how she realized how damaging this could be damaging to students of color How Tina believes this is more a systemic issue The recent Supreme Court ruling and how it can be okay to talk about race in the college application, with certain caveats An example personal statement that mentions race but speaks specifically to qualities of character and unique abilities the author would bring to a college campus Other ways students can share their identities in ways that allow them to take ownership of their story Practical exercises students might use to talk about their different identities in their application—identities that include but aren’t limited to race Supplemental essay prompts that ask specifically about challenges Specific advice from Tina for students and for counselors    Play-by-Play 0:00 - Intro 3:45 - Who is Tina Yong? 4:04 - Ethan and Tina’s backstory 7:08 - ICYMI: recap of Tina’s TedX Talk about her experience as an immigrant applying to US universities 9:44 - What inspired Tina to speak on trauma in college essays? 11:11 - How and why Ethan changed his workshop approach 12:32 - What response did Tina get after her TED Talk? What was the impact? 14:29 - What has Tina learned since giving her TED Talk? 17:28 - How will applicants of colors be affected by the recent Supreme Court ruling on race-conscious admissions? 19:46 - Is it okay to discuss race in your application? 22:03 - Ethan & Tina read of a sample personal statement that discusses race 25:03 - Tina’s analysis 27:32 - Ethan’s analysis 30:04 - Three ways that students can share their identity in their personal statements—that don’t focus on a traumatic story with a happy ending 34:55 - How to avoid writing a “sob story” 35:45 - How to structure a challenges-based essay 36:34 - What are colleges looking for in a college essay? 38:15 - Practical brainstorming exercises for finding great personal statement topics 43:04 - Navigating supplemental essay prompts 47:31 - This isn’t the “Vulnerability Olympics” 51:36 - Counselor resources & takeaways 53:11 - Student resources & takeaways 55:47 - Book recommendations from Tina on psychology & trauma 57:21 - Closing thoughts   Resources: Ethan’s edit to the"35+ Best College Essay Tips..."  Should You Write about Race in Your College Application—And, If So, How? (Blog) How to Answer the “Diversity” (and Other Related) Supplemental Essay Prompt(s) (Blog) Colleges and Universities that Changed Their Supplemental Essay Prompts After the SCOTUS Decision Was Released Resource for counselors on How (and Why) to Uplevel Your School Profile (coming soon) Why You Don’t Have to Write about Trauma in Your College Essay to Stand Out—and What You Can Do Instead (blog)  
Sep 15, 2023
1 hr 2 min
405: 7 Cosas Que Las Familias Latinas Deben Saber Sobre Cómo Prepararse Para la Universidad  / 7 Things Latinx Families Need to Know About Preparing for College w/ Lorenzo Gamboa
Today is a special episode in that it’s bilingual—the first part is in Spanish, the second part in English. My guest is Lorenzo Gamboa (Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach at Santa Clara University) and we’re discussing some of the things he believes Latinx families should know as they prepare for college. Hoy es un episodio especial porque es bilingüe: la primera parte es en español, la segunda parte en inglés. Dejame terminar la introduccion en ingles y ya regreso en espanol. On this episode, we discuss a variety of misconceptions that families sometimes have, including:  The notion that students have to major in a high-paying profession/career The myth that undocumented students can’t go to college And we discuss whether or not students should discuss race or cultural influence in their application — post the SCOTUS decision to ban affirmative action If you’d like to listen to the English part, just fast forward to basically halfway through this episode when you hear me speaking English. I hope you enjoy. Play-by-play:  [0:00] Introducción / Introduction Spanish Part [00:00:08] - Introducción  [00:01:20] - Quien es Lorenzo Gamboa [00:06:44] - Trabajo de Lorenzo en diversidad e inclusión [00:07:28] - Desmitificando conceptos erróneos [00:09:13] - La importancia de universidades públicas [00:10:37] - Información sobre pruebas estandarizadas [00:13:11] - La importancia de no enfocarse solo en carreras lucrativas [00:15:07] - Acceso a universidad para los estudiantes indocumentados [00:16:56] - Recursos y apoyo para estudiantes indocumentados [00:17:26] - Preocupación por el dinero y formas de financiar su educación [00:19:02] - Valorando la inversión en la educación [00:19:49] - Cambios en la consideración de raza en la admisión [00:20:17] - Como los consejeros pueden apoyar [00:22:02] - Mensaje importante para los estudiantes y familias [00:23:16] - Agradecimiento y cierre del episodio English Part [00:23:27] Who is our guest, Lorenzo Gamboa? [00:26:13] What messages did Lorenzo hear growing up surrounding family and education?  [00:26:59] Pulling back the veil of higher education access in Lorenzo’s role  [00:27:47] What are some of the myths Latinx families have about going to college? [00:30:27] Money conversation: Should students look at private or public schools?  [00:33:18] Why it’s important to pick a college major based on passion, not just pay. [00:35:03] Interested in learning more about passion over pay? Check out podcast episode 113 [00:35:44] What are some of the considerations for undocumented students going to college?  [00:38:05] What if you don’t have enough money to pay for college?  [00:40:06] Does the Supreme Court’s ruling mean students shouldn’t talk about race and ethnicity in their application? [00:45:06] A message to high school and Community-Based Organization (CBO) counselors [00:45:45] Closing thoughts to families & students Resources ImmigrantsRising.org ScholarshipsAZ.org  CEG Podcast: Life As an Undocumented Student at Harvard Should I Come Out As Undocumented in My Personal Statement? (Part 1 of 2) How to Come Out As Undocumented in Your Personal Statement (Part 2 of 2) CEG Podcast: How to Advocate for Undocumented Students - Dr. Aliza Gilbert, Counselors that Change Lives recipient 15 Ways to Advocate for Undocumented Youth
Sep 7, 2023
48 min
404: Race-Conscious Admission Was Struck Down—What Does This Mean and What Can Students and College Counselors Do? w/ Jay Rosner
In this episode we’re talking about the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down race-conscious admission and what the implications might be for colleges, students applying to those colleges, and the counselors who advise them. And what better person to talk about it with than Jay Rosner, whose entire career has been devoted to the intersection of law and college admissions. This is the first in a series where we’ll be exploring the impacts of the SCOTUS decision from a variety of perspectives.   Jay Rosner and I get into:  What the affirmative action ruling practically means  How it might impact college admissions, including for underrepresented students We address some students’ fears about whether or not they should mention their race, or share experiences directly related to their race or culture in their college applications I ask Jay: “Who is the burden on here—students or the colleges themselves?”  We also talked about how counselors should advise students   For those of you who have never met Jay: As the Executive Director of The Princeton Review Foundation, he has developed programs jointly with such organizations as the NAACP, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, College and Graduate Horizons (serving Native American students) and the Asian Pacific Fund. Jay's career has combined education and law, with an emphasis on student advocacy. He has testified before state legislative committees in California, Texas, Illinois and New Jersey, and as an expert witness in cases involving testing. Before attending law school, Jay was a public high school math teacher. Jay holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, a JD from Widener University, and is the proud father of two grown daughters.   Play-by-play: [0:53] Intro [1:30] Who is Jay Rosner?  [2:25] A brief history of race-conscious admission [4:52] Why is the Supreme Court decision such a big deal?  [6:22] What does the ruling actually mean?  [7:31] What colleges can and can’t consider after the ruling related to race [9:49] How might diversity and inclusivity be affected on college campuses? [13:00] Should students even mention race at all in their applications? [15:39] Is the burden really on the students or on the colleges? [17:20] How can students speak to the ways race has impacted their lives? [18:50] Advice to counselors on guiding students on their college applications [21:38] Do colleges still want to enroll a diverse population of students?  [23:36] What might colleges learn from the University of California, where race-conscious admission was banned in 1996? [26:45] Jay’s thoughts about and hopes for the future  [28:28] What are folks not talking about? [31:03] Final takeaways for students and counselors Resources:  Example of How to Explain (Briefly) Context on Your Testing in the Additional Info Section of Your Common App AP Physics I I was the first student at my school to ever pass the AP Physics I exam. There were two issues during the test: 1) the test began late because the previous test (AP Spanish) ran long and 2) during the AP Physics I exam, the fire alarms went off and continued for about an hour (the second half of the test). Unfortunately, this was the only time the test was offered and I was nonetheless proud of my score. Highest SAT Score in My Class Scored a 1910 on old SAT (570 CR, 730 Math, 610 WR), which was the highest overall test score in my grade.
Sep 1, 2023
36 min
403: AP, IB, Honors, Oh My! How Admissions Officers View Your High School Courses, Rigor, and School Context w/Susan Tree
In today’s episode, Tom Campbell (CEG’s Community Manager) and Susan Tree (a college counseling and admissions legend with 40+ years of experience) chat about all things related to the academic part of a student’s college application— which, at many selective colleges, is seen as the “foot in the door” of their selection process. This is part 1 of a series we’ll be doing around students’ academic background and interests and how they factor into the admissions process. Part 2 is all about “intellectual curiosity”: a quality that many colleges actively look for in students, yet is a little more ambiguous and nuanced compared to mapping out a high school course plan. On the episode you’ll hear Susan and Tom discuss: Why taking five solid academic courses (English, math, social studies, science and language) each year of high school gives students the broadest range of exciting college options How advanced course rigor (including Advanced Placement/AP and International Baccalaureate/IB courses) is evaluated by colleges The potential danger of “overspecialization” in an academic subject too early The value of demonstrating self-directedness in your academic journey— and where do to that in an application How admissions officers evaluate and contextualize your transcript and high scho0l profile when making admissions decisions1   Why these episodes? According to the 2018-2019 National Association for College Admission Counseling’s Admission Trend Survey, students’ grades and strength of curriculum are the top two application components that are of “considerable importance” to colleges During CEG’s Applying to Highly Selective Colleges & Universities Course, the section on academics received the most questions out of all other application components— and elicited the most confusion! While we aren’t able to give all students and families who come to us for support individualized guidance about their particular high school (though we do offer comprehensive college counseling at CEG!), we wanted this podcast to provide the most comprehensive advice possible around academic choices   Play-by-play 5:33 - So… Why are we talking about planning your HS Academic Journey? 8:28 - What are the benefits of planning your HS experience early? 10:39 - What do colleges expect from students? 11:08 - How do you check a college website for their required HS coursework? 12:48 - How is it different at more competitive universities? 13:14 - What if your HS doesn’t offer opportunities for the classes you want to take? 14:44 - What is the value of self-directedness? 15:06 - How do I better understand how my school is viewed by admissions officers? 17:19 - What do admissions officers want to know about the school as it relates to your academic record? 19:24 - Why you should be looking at your transcript and school profile side-by-side 21:32 - Thinking like an admissions reader  22:26 - Transcripts vs. report cards 23:38 - How being aware of what colleges have access to can help you be strategic  25:44 - How do you put your academic experience into perspective? 27:18 - What students often don’t realize about their application evaluation  29:50 - How important is it to tell your own story 31:28 - HS Counselor Tip: Your School Profile 32:56 - AP (Advanced Placement) course considerations 35:11 - How will colleges view XYZ  courses? Which course is better? 42:24 - Why are some independent schools getting rid of AP (Advanced Placement) course offerings? 44:00 What does Susan think about IB (International Baccalaureate) Curriculum considerations? 47:50 What if my high school doesn’t offer AP or IB course options? 49:58 Key Takeaways from Today’s Episode
Aug 3, 2023
51 min
401: NACAC CEO Angel Pérez—Self-care for counselors, leaders, and professionals in helping roles
On this episode I chat with Angel Perez to discuss his personal journey with burnout, self-care, and therapy, and I even share some of my own personal journey — and we connect on what it might mean to find more ease, purpose, and joy in our own lives. This is part 1 of a series I’ll be doing on self-care this year. You’ll notice Angel mentions a morning routine — in part 2 you’ll meet wellness coach Sage Simpson, who will get into the practical specifics of how to create a morning routine for yourself.     On the episode you’ll hear Angel and I discuss: Angel’s personal experience with burnout How did he address it in writing an article on self-care in college admissions Why self-care is especially important for caretakers and professionals in helping roles Strategies and techniques Angel (and Ethan) use for self care Ways to address shame, and why therapy has been important for Angel What to look forward to at NACAC 2023   Why these episodes? Self-care has become a bigger theme at CEG in the past couple of years, particularly coming out of the pandemic—and in my own life. Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high in students, while counselors, leaders, and educators are burning out and switching jobs (Chronicle of Higher Ed reported on a study by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, or CUPA-HR” noting that 71 percent of coordinators and counselors in the college admissions field have been in their jobs for just three years or less.   Resources: Blog post Angel wrote: One CEO's Story of Executive Burnout   Play-by-play: [00:00] Intro [2:34] Who is Angel Perez? (Spoiler: he’s awesome) [4:44] What led Angel back towards self-care in recent years? [8:10] How did Angel’s childhood affect his work life today?  [10:15] What inspired Angel’s article on burnout?  [12:30] What are Ethan’s boundaries and personal habits with work? [13:30] How do you recognize when you need self-care, or have behaviors that signal it’s time to step back? [15:36] What is Angel’s morning routine?  [19:00] How to deal with the shame that comes with self-care [21:39] What have Angel (and Ethan) learned in therapy? [26:40] Finding balance vs. coming into balance [28:50] What are some of Angel’s & Ethan’s other self-care and health practices? [32:45] What helps Angel and Ethan get into flow? [39:35] What is NACAC and the college admission field doing well, and what could we do better (in regards to self-care, rest, work culture, etc.)? [43:45] What is NACAC committed to? What should we look forward to at this year’s conference? [46:35] What are we committed to (in regards to increasing access to self-care in our personal/work lives)?
Jul 21, 2023
56 min
402: How to Create a (Sustainable, Nourishing, Energizing, Intentional) Morning Ritual with Sage Simpson
If you’re ever wondering, how did Ethan land on those words, “ease, purpose, and joy,” well to be honest — it came from a brainstorming conversation with today's podcast guest, Sage Howard. Sage is a meditation & yoga teacher and wellness coach whom I have known for more than 15 years, and who fully embodies ease, purpose, and joy.    On this episode we talk about, among other things:  Why mornings are so darn important A little of the science behind our nervous system (including our sympathetic and parasympathetic states get triggered) A few ways morning rituals can improve our creativity, health, and relationships Then we get super practical with a bunch of ways to not only create a morning routine but ALSO raise the likelihood that we can make that morning routine stick Fun fact: Since I recorded this episode with Sage, I’m proud to say I was inspired to start my own morning routine and so far it’s brought so much more slowness, presence — and okay, yes, ease, purpose and joy to my life.    Play-by-play: [0:29] Who is our guest, Sage? [0:44]  ICYMI - brief recap of Episode 401 with Angel Perez, CEO of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling [1:41 ] Today’s focus: How can morning rituals improve health, creativity, and relationships? How can you create a morning routine that actually sticks? [4:15] Sage shares a story of her earliest memories with morning rituals  [6:42] What is Sage’s relationship to mornings?  [7:21] Morning A: Tuning into the outside world and constant productivity through phones, email, work, news, and podcasts [8:22] Morning B: Tuning inward by choosing meditation, journaling, yoga instead of reaching for the phone [9:30] Why do mornings matter so darn much? [12:15] The science of morning routines & your nervous system [15:12] What are some of the ways that morning rituals can help us? [20:25] Is it bad to reach for your phone first thing in the morning?  [24:18] How do I actually start a morning routine?  [26:08] A list of practical ideas to choose from in your morning and why they work [26:29] Water, coffee, or tea [27:06] Wake up your body by stretching [27:36] The power of breathwork [28:11] Singing and dancing! [28:33] Incorporating nature [29:09] Why and how should you try meditation?  [30:05] Journaling [30:56] Reading [31:48] Setting intentions for the day [32:20] Joy and laughter [33:18] What has Ethan tried in his mornings? [34:49] How do you make the morning ritual a more consistent part of your life?  [44:14] Episode Takeaways 
Jul 21, 2023
46 min
301: Behind the Scenes of an Admission Counselor's Life w/ Kati Sweany
This episode I'm with with Kati Sweaney, Senior Assistant Dean of Admission at Reed College. It's the first in a series of interviews with current and former college admissions officers where we go behind the scenes to let you know how things work.    In this episode we get into:  The life of an admission officer, including what their travel season is like Do’s and don’ts for that initial email to an admissions office What is demonstrated interest? Why it matters for colleges to predict who attends their school Some other ways students can demonstrate interest Additional info sections that made a difference How fast do admissions officers read the application? How many essays has Kati read? Kati’s do’s and don'ts for the application essays   Resources: College Essay Guy Interview Guide Guide to Demonstrated Interest Ira Glass on Storytelling   Play-by-play: [2:00] How Kati got into admissions [3:42] What kind of person is drawn to working in admissions? [5:30] What is travel season for admissions reps? [10:05] Why do college reps travel to so many high schools? [13:55] A little bit about college fairs [16:13] Examples of how students stood out at college fairs [19:50] Some do’s and don’ts for the initial email to admissions offices [22:44] What is demonstrated interest? [26:37] Why it matters for colleges to predict who attends their school [29:27] Some other ways students can demonstrate interest [32:00] Additional info sections that made a difference [34:50] How fast do admissions officers read the application? [39:17] How many essays has Kati read? [40:40] Kati’s do’s and don'ts for the application essays [43:50] Why those tiny details are so important in an essay [45:25] A few college essays that stood out (after reading 25,000 essays) [54:16] Kati’s advice for parents [56:54] What Kati hopes students will keep in mind throughout this process This episode was initially recorded in the fall of 2019, so you may notice some pre-pandemic language used. 
Jan 19, 2022
59 min
302: Part 1: Behind the Scenes of an Admission Office w/ Tom Campbell
My guest this time is Tom Campbell — who at the time of this recording was Assistant Dean Of Admissions at Pomona College. Tom was formerly the Assistant Director Of Admissions at College of the Holy Cross, his alma mater, and also serves as a Group Leader, Essay Specialist and Faculty Member at the very awesome College Horizons. This is another episode in our series that goes behind the scenes of an admissions office to let you know what happens when you click submit on your application—where does it go? Who reads it? What are they thinking? How do they make decisions?   In part one, we cover: What happens after you hit submit through when you receive your decision? How did the Test Optional policy impact admission decisions this year—and how are colleges like Pomona able to create a class without standardized tests? How was application reading different from past years? Essays: What do you look for in a great personal statement? How much do essays matter? Can they ever hurt your chances? Demonstrated interest: How does it really work? What does Pomona track? What do other schools track?   Play-by-Play [2:00] Meet Tom [3:57] What we’re going to cover [4:48] What is Tom’s job like right now, in April 2020? [7:40] What is yield? [9:00] What happens between students clicking submit to receiving a letter of acceptance (Pomona’s entire process) [19:20] What is test-optional, and how does Pomona use test scores? [25:39] How does Pomona put together a class? What are its institutional priorities? (Also more on testing) [35:15] How were things different this year because of COVID-19? [43:10] Tom names some common essay topics [45:44] What does Tom look for in a personal statement? How much do essays matter? [49:26] Q&A - How does a student's ability to pay tuition affect their chances at Pomona? [50:35] Case study - in terms of institutional priorities, what did this student do well? [56:22] How tough is it for full-need international students to be accepted? [57:40] What does Tom have to say to students who think they must get accepted to a top university or else they’ve failed? [59:58] How much does major choice matter when applying?
Jan 19, 2022
1 hr 3 min
303: Part 2: Behind the Scenes of an Admission Office w/ Tom Campbell
Tom Campbell is back for another episode in our series that goes behind the scenes of an admissions office to let you know what happens when you click submit on your application—where does it go? Who reads it? What are they thinking? How do they make decisions? At the time of this recording, Tom Campbell was Assistant Dean Of Admissions at Pomona College. Tom was formerly the Assistant Director Of Admissions at College of the Holy Cross, his alma mater, and also serves as a Group Leader, Essay Specialist and Faculty Member at the very awesome College Horizons. In part 2, we cover a ton of listener questions that we didn’t get to during the first episode (and some questions folks didn’t ask) and dig deeper on all things admissions at Pomona.   We covered: What is demonstrated interest? Does Pomona track demonstrated interest? Why is it important for colleges to know how likely a student is to enroll (aka college yield)? Do’s and don’ts for students at a college fair What can folks learn about Pomona based on their supplemental essay prompts? How does Pomona decide which prompts to use? Does it matter which Common App personal statement prompt you choose? Should students stick closely to the prompt for the supplemental essays? Does it matter which major a student chooses when applying? What are some “red flags” Tom remembers that got students immediately rejected?   Resources: Crash Course on Writing Pomona’s Supplemental Essays What is Demonstrated Interest? A Practical How-To Guide How to Create a Great College List How to Write the “Why this College” Essay   Play-by-play: [4:20] What is demonstrated interest? [6:30] Does Pomona track demonstrated interest? [9:20] Why is it important for colleges to know how likely a student is to enroll (aka college yield)? [11:10] What is “yield”? [13:50] What student data does Pomona track compared to other highly selective schools? [15:37] How much do interviews matter at Pomona? [20:46] Why it’s important to ask questions to admissions officers directly [22:20] Do’s and don’ts for students at a college fair [27:10] What can folks learn about Pomona based on their supplemental essay prompts? How does Pomona decide which prompts to use? [39:00] In Tom’s opinion, what makes a memorable personal statement? [44:00] Does it matter which Common App personal statement prompt you choose? [45:45] Do students have a better or worse chance of getting in if they choose the “topic of your choice?” prompt? [46:40] Should students stick closely to the prompt for the supplemental essays? [50:20] Does it matter which major a student chooses when applying? [53:55] Tom reacts to a sample email from a student asking about major choice [60:45] What are some “red flags” Tom remembers that got students immediately rejected? [1:03:50] Are there ever situations where a student had amazing grades/test scores/essays, and yet they were rejected? [1:07:20] Ultimately, how much can students and families control in the admissions process?
Jan 19, 2022
1 hr 6 min
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