Early Admission Trends of 2018-2019

Is it me or is winter moving very quickly this year? I’m not sure if it’s because most holiday breaks lasted further into January than usual, or because of all of the inclement weather-related school cancellations in January - but I feel as if I blinked and February came around!

Now that we are past the immediate post-deferral stage with our seniors, and our juniors are all at various stages of their college essays with the Wow Writing Workshop, I can finally take a minute to digest all of the news from the early round! I thought it would be a great time to share some of the trends that I noticed, because this year was a real game-changer. Those of you who know me in person are probably rolling your eyes, because - yes - I said the same thing last year too. The truth is, though, every year just gets crazier and crazier. The landscape is constantly changing and students need to understand and adapt to the changes in order to maximize their chances of success.

In late December, I waited with baited breath as most of the early admission decisions came in. I have posted before about this on our facebook page, but it’s a really stressful experience. I’m not big into politics, but I can imagine that it’s a bit like working as a political campaign manager. No, I’m not the applicant, and the campaign manager isn’t the politician - but when you put your heart and soul into helping someone else achieve their goals over a very long period of time, it’s only natural to become emotionally invested in the outcome. Fortunately, I belong to a great online forum of other college admissions professionals with whom I can share perspectives, results, and experiences to learn about trends nationwide. Around decision time, posts run the gamut from commiseration to celebration to a whole lot of anxiety, but at least it is nice to be in good company. I noticed a particular comment by the Director of Enrollment Applications at the University of Miami, Jay Jacobs, that stuck out to me and essentially summed it all up. He generously agreed to let me share it publicly with my readers:

A lot of us are much more competitive due to increased applicant pools. We are now in the era where “last year” will never look and feel like “this year.” “This year” will look and feel different than “next year.”

Doesn’t this say it all? It’s hard to imagine that the changes are so extreme from year to year - but they are. I had never thought about it that way before - rather than the “before” and “after,” we’re really in a constant state of flux.

Here were some of the biggest trends I noticed:

#1: Early applications were up - WAY up. Boston College dealt with a whopping 56% increase in early applications between 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. Can you even wrap your head around that?

#2: Applications from underrepresented populations were also WAY up. This is not surprising given that underrepresented populations are being actively recruited to top schools. UVA explained that “the number of minority applicants increased by 24 percent, and the number of first-generation applicants increased by 18.6 percent. Included in the increase in minority applicants was a 32.5 percent rise in African-American applicants and a 21.9 percent bump in Hispanic applicants.” Brown described their overall application increase of 20% as “staggering” and followed up with the fact that applications from the Midwest had risen by 43% in the past year. Confused by the Midwest reference? You shouldn’t be - it’s sparse country.

#3: Schools are filling up enormous percentages of their classes through binding early decision spots. I won’t write about why they do this, because I’ll save that for another day - but I’ll explain why it’s relevant: the more students that a school admits early, the less students that the same school can admit regular. This turns into a situation where the “overall acceptance rates” that are typically posted on institution web sites are simply inaccurate. You must dig deep into the school’s Common Data Set - or use a chart like this one - to determine the acceptance rate that corresponds to a given application type.

For instance, the most recent data showed that Hamilton College filled up 53% of it’s class through early decision. This resulted in an enormous differential - their ED acceptance rate was 41% and their RD acceptance rate was 22%. You just can’t consider a school’s “overall acceptance rate” when you are dealing with two wildly separate processes.

Same thing with Cornell - they filled up 42% of their class early, and those students were admitted at a 26% acceptance rate. Their regular decision students, on the other hand, were admitted at an 11% rate. If you go by these schools’ published acceptance rates, or those written in guidebooks, you’ll get a third percentage entirely - one that is not accurate for early decision or regular decision. That’s pretty scary when you consider that a lot of families are using inaccurate information to guide their decision-making.

What do I think about these trends?

To be honest, I’m not sure that my personal feelings matter all that much. I understand why the colleges are making the decisions that they are making and I understand why the applicants are making the decisions that they are making - and it doesn’t matter whether we agree with them or don’t agree with them- the bottom line is that we need to accept them as our reality. I thought this article was a great one in terms of dealing with frustration and the messaging that we are sending our children. As Jay suggested, this is just going to become a more competitive process every year - we may as well accept what we cannot change and start strategizing accordingly.

Yes, I'm Still Very Much Interested

There was a little bit of back and forth on our facebook page last week about whether it is a good idea to send a letter of continued interest (LOCI) to UVA or not. I’m actually really glad that came up, because it’s a perfect example of why it is so important to work alongside one’s high school counselor. UVA’s page for deferred students indicates the following:

Other than midyear grade updates or new standardized test results, we will not be able to review any edits to your application or additional information. Please do not send additional information, including recommendations, during this time.

I agree with the person that commented on the facebook page - this certainly sounds like they don’t want any kind of application updates. However, after years as a school counselor in which I had quite a few counselor calls myself - and many more years helping school counselors make those calls (including this year!) - I can assure students that UVA will still accept updates to a student’s application if there are updates to share. And to be honest - if you don’t have any updates to share about your senior year, thats not a good sign. Hopefully, a student’s senior year represents the climax of an exciting an engaging high school experience - so why wouldn’t you share these new accomplishments? One of the blog comments, written by a UVA admissions officer, reinforced this message:

If you feel there is an important update, it's fine to upload that in the portal. We don't expect that and interest is not a factor, so we don't push people to do that.

The bottom line: go see your school counselor! That person will be able to help let you know the best course of action. Write your LOCI, but ask for your counselor’s help in tailoring it to the specific school(s) of interest. With a school that does not take demonstrated interest into account, like UVA, that will require a very different approach than a school like Emory, for which demonstrated interest is extremely important.

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Here is our template for writing a generic letter of continued interest to solidify that post-deferral foot you have in the door:

INTRODUCTION

Your first priority in your introduction is to graciously thank the admissions officer for reviewing your application and clearly express that said school remains your very first choice.

UPDATE

This may be the most important paragraph within the letter.  Most likely it’s been several months since you submitted your application, which means they are in need of an update.  Did you recently receive a scholarship?  Were you awarded an honor?  Perhaps you started a new job or became caption of the basketball team.  Think of 1-3 achievements to highlight what it is that happened since the admissions department heard from you last.

PERSONAL ANECDOTE

Have you visited the campus again? Did you meet a current student, recent grad or alumnus?  Include these topics in a personal story that further exemplifies why this school is your perfect match.  Be sure to share a new detail and not something that could be found or inferred through your initial application.

CONCLUSION

Thank the admissions staff once again for their time and consideration, while restating your intent to attend said university upon receiving acceptance.

And lastly.. don’t forget to PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS!

You’ve meticulously combed through your application and you want to handle this letter with the same care.  

If you know whom you’re writing to, make sure to include their name.  For example, start your letter with “Dear Ms. [insert last name].  If you’re unsure which admissions officer will receive your letter “Dear Admissions Officer” will suffice.

Make sure never to convey any negative feelings you have about being waitlisted or deferred in your letter of continued interest, in any communications with the school and to any alumni or faculty of the university.  Those feelings are best shared with trusted confidants, such as your parents, counselor, or us!

Double check your deferral/waitlist letter for any instructions or requests the school may have for you.  In some cases, schools will say they do not want any further communications with applicants and will let you know their final decision by a specific date.

For further insight into creating a pitch perfect letter of continued interest, schedule an appointment at our office here.
 

#UVA23

Well, it’s been a week since the UVA decisions were released and I know that there are lots of unhappy families in Northern Virginia as a result. I get it: it’s an amazing school at an amazing price. Who wouldn’t want their child to go to UVA? What’s not to love? I meet with families all the time that actually chose to live in Virginia because of UVA when their children were very young - or before they were born! After that kind of commitment, of course an unfavorable answer would feel crushing. How could it not?

University of Virginia Admissions

The good news, from my end, is that UVA decisions still remain relatively predictable. A student with very high test scores and very high grades that has chosen the most challenging curriculum at his high school should be admitted to UVA, as long as the essays, extracurricular involvement and recommendations are equally strong. Yes, even if he went to Langley. Or McLean. Or Madison. Or Oakton. There are no mysteries here. In my opinion, the devastating “how could this happen” stories that relate to UVA usually involve amazing, phenomenal kids who are missing the test scores, the grades, or the rigor. Unfortunately, this level of predictability is not the same at most other top schools, where rockstar valedictorians working to cure cancer can be rejected without a second thought and we are all just left to sit back and wonder why.

At this time of year, we receive a lot of phone calls from the aforementioned unhappy families who have heard the news that is sometimes even worse than a rejection: a deferral. At least a rejection has a sense of finality. Deferrals raise questions, anxieties, and all kinds of emotions, and it’s no wonder that families decide to bring in a professional to help navigate the situation.

Here’s my advice:

  1. Determine what the deferral actually means. At Georgetown, literally every single student is deferred. No one is denied! Obviously, you are not in any kind of select group. At Columbia, on the other hand, very few students are deferred. A deferral means that you really may have a chance. All deferrals are not alike.

  2. Ask your high school counselor for help. Beyond the information that is publicly available, such as the fact that Georgetown defers everyone, your counselor should be able to help you find out information specific to your unique situation. This takes place through what is known as a “counselor call.” Your counselor can set up a phone appointment with the admissions officer at the school from which you were deferred in order to hear insight on your decision. Independent counselors, by and large, cannot make these calls; however, I regularly work in tandem with school counselors to prepare them to make successful calls on my clients’ behalf. Teamwork!

  3. Write a letter of continued interest that shows your continued enthusiasm for the school, your willingness to enroll if admitted, and any updates that have occurred since the point at which you submitted your application.

Need help on your individualized deferral game plan? Fill out our intake form and we can help. Still up for the DIY approach? You’re in luck - come back next week to find a blog post devoted to formulating the most effective LOCI possible!

Thinking About "Going Greek"?

At DC College Counseling, we love keeping in touch with our past clients and hearing about their lives in college. Sorority recruitment at many schools just ended within the last week, and it has been fun to hear stories from our freshmen all around the country!

Along the same lines, many high school seniors watch their older friends on social media and come back to us with lots of questions about the process.

PC: Vanderbilt University

PC: Vanderbilt University

Here are a few thoughts that I put together for girls (and their parents!) to consider:

  1. GREEK LIFE TODAY IS NOT THE GREEK LIFE OF YESTERDAY. At least for girls, anyway. Rush has been replaced with recruitment, pledges have been replaced with new members, and hazing is NOT TOLERATED within the National Panhellenic Council. Sorority membership gives women the chance to make new friends, gain leadership experience, and be a part of something bigger. Yes, there are social events too, but this is not the main focus of greek life today - truly.

  2. THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT WHICH HOUSE IS YOUR TOP PICK. A friend gave me some great advice before I went through this process myself: choose the house with girls that are already like you, not the house with the girls you want to become. Do you like spending Friday nights watching a movie with friends while eating popcorn? That’s the house you want to join - not the one that is throwing mixers every night. Know who you are and what will make you happy. This is not the time to reinvent yourself. I found - both while in college and now as an adult watching girls go through the process - that the girls who were true to themselves ended up very happy. The “horror stories” are typically from girls who were set out to join the “top house” at any cost.

  3. DON’T FORGET TO ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS. You should have learned this already in the college admissions process! When a component of an application is optional, it’s really not optional. Same goes for sororities, particularly at competitive Southern state schools. It’s really best to make sure that you secure at least one recommendation from an alumna of every national sorority on campus. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this process - people are happy to help. I LOVE writing recommendations for girls with whom I have worked and I know most women feel the same way. Ask your teachers, friends’ mothers, and neighbors: you will be surprised to learn how many have a sorority affiliation. Trust me, they would love to do this for you.

  4. ALL CHAPTERS ARE NOT THE SAME. Part of the beauty of a national organization is that chapters are very different from school to school. Life in a sorority at the University of Alabama is going to be incredibly different from life in a sorority at the University of Michigan, which in turn will be incredibly different from life in a sorority at Boston University. Many schools do not have houses, for example. Learn about the culture at your own school as you determine whether you want to pursue greek life. The same goes for costs, by the way. Sorority membership is incredibly expensive at some schools, and it’s very inexpensive at others.

  5. “CHI OMEGA IS FOR A LIFETIME.” This statement was drilled into my head in college and I’m sure that every other organization has their own version of it. At the time, though, I did not really understand the value of being part of something bigger. It was not until after I graduated, when I moved to New York City knowing no one, that I began to appreciate what this meant. I was able to jump right in and become involved with a great group of women that I never would have met otherwise. When I moved to DC four years later, I was able to do the same thing. Now that I am a mother of two children, I have a built-in network of babysitters by calling the local chapter at George Mason. I can honestly say that I’ve gotten even more out of my sorority affiliation post-college than I did as an active member, and I’ve never even used it for networking purposes the way many women do.

  6. GRADES MATTER - Most senior girls are shocked when I tell them that their high school grade point average is a big part of the selection process, especially at big Southern universities that are not known for being as academically competitive in terms of admission. This is a good reason to keep grades up at the end of senior year. No matter how much a sorority wants to take a certain potential new member, they are forced to cut her if her grades do not make the cutoff (refer back to #1 - academics are a priority today!).

Wondering why this entire blog post is about sorority recruitment? The process - and experience - is very different for boys and girls, in both positive and negative ways. If you are interested in fraternity recruitment, we recommend picking up a copy of Alexandra Robbins’ new book, Fraternity: An Inside Look at a Year of College Boys Becoming Men. She wrote a similar book on sororities over fifteen years ago that is now outdated and an inaccurate representation of sorority life today.

All in all, this should be a fun and exciting time. If you have specific questions, please reach out to us!

Interview Like a Pro

The colleges are interested.  They’re requesting interviews with you.  Whether you’re sitting down with an alumnus, a current student or an admissions counselor, our interview prep at DC College Counseling ensures students are poised, confident and ready to showcase themselves in any interview scenario.

An interview, whether in person or on a video call, is another opportunity for students to sell themselves while allowing their passions and personalities to shine.  Here are three key tips to ace your next college interview!

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1.  PRETEND YOU’RE THE INTERVIEWER

Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer.  What would they want to know about you and your plans for the future?  Once you’ve brainstormed 5-10 questions they may ask, generate answers to those questions.

2.  WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM THEM?

Are you seeking clarification from something you read online?  Are you interested in how you can build your own curriculum?  Do you want to know if you can start your own organization on campus?  Come up with 3-5 solid questions that could not be answered through online research.  Dig deep and get creative, show your interviewer that while they may have done their homework on you, you also did your homework on the school.

3.  PRACTICE, AND THEN KEEP PRACTICING

Again, and again, and again.  Nerves are natural, but you want to put yourself in a position of strength, where you know you will succeed.  Rehearsing is how you do this.  Whether you’re driving home from school or standing in front of your mirror, make time in the days leading up to your interview to practice both asking and answering the questions you’ve formulated above.

For further support and guidance on how to master the art of an interview, contact our office to schedule an appointment!

Winter Reading

I decided that today’s snow day would be the perfect time to recommend some “winter reading” in preparation for college essays, because summer will be too late!

Unless there are some major changes over the next few months, it’s likely that students applying to UVA, Emory, Wake Forest, Columbia, Davidson, Princeton and others will need to write an essay or at least reference a recent book read - in some cases, multiple books! Questions about books are very common in college interview settings.

What’s the best kind of book to pick for this purpose? Well, for starters, make sure it’s something that you’d actually enjoy reading. One common misconception is that it is better to pick a book that sounds “academic.” I actually think that this is the worst kind of book to pick! Any college admissions officer worth her salt is going to know that a 17-year-old did not sit on the beach reading War and Peace or Atlas Shrugged for fun. That will be perceived as extraordinarily inauthentic at best and a lie at worst.

Instead, my personal favorite type of book for this purpose would fall in the “popular non-fiction” category. Definitely geared towards a mainstream reader and easy enough for a beach read, but still relevant and important for an intellectually curious person. Bonus points if the book is somewhat related to a hobby, passion, or potential area of study.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy. This is great for anyone, because the opioid crisis is an enormous problem facing our society right now. However, I’d particularly recommend it for anyone interested in public policy, political science, medicine, public health, sociology or psychology.

  2. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. Another text that’s great for anyone, and it got so much press this year. A particularly good choice for education or social science majors.

  3. American Prison by Shane Bauer. A good option for those interested in law (particularly criminal justice reform) and race relations. This is a little less mainstream than the first two and may be a harder sell for someone that has no demonstrated interest in anything related.

  4. Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Another popular selection that anyone would like, but definitely good for those interested in technology or psychology.

Check out the New York Times for more ideas!

Cognitive Dissonance and the Check-Listed Childhood

How many parents out there have read Julie Lythcott-Haims’ How to Raise an Adult, or watched her Ted Talk on the concept of what she defines as a “check-listed childhood”? I am starting to think that everyone in America must have, because her views seem to come up in conversation constantly. If you are not familiar, you can find the video of the Ted Talk here and it’s definitely worth watching if you can’t make time to read the book.

When I first watched her Ted Talk, I was mildly horrified. I agreed with everything she said, of course, and thought about her message during my first rodeo in the world of competitive parenting this fall. I have a first grader, and she took the NNAT on November 13 - my birthday (oh the irony!). I know that many other parents prepped their children for the test; I did not, and I felt really great about my clearly-superior parenting skills. I was going to do this the right way!

As mid-December moved into late-December and we still hadn’t gotten her score back, I turned into a crazy person. I checked SIS like a maniac. Or would it come in the Wednesday folder? In her backpack? Finally, I learned that the letters had been mailed and that I would receive the score on Christmas Eve through the mail. What first seemed like bad timing was actually incredibly well-played, because then parents couldn’t contact the school with questions and would have to wait two weeks to simmer down. Smart.

I spent most of Christmas Eve waiting obsessively for the mailman to come. I wanted it to be high, so she would have a good shot at the AAP program. I saw him come from an upstairs window and made my husband run out to grab it, and stood in the kitchen opening the envelope with my heart pounding, like a complete and total idiot. She is six years old. She did well, by the way, probably not high enough to be in-pool for AAP, but it was a good score. She is a smart kid. Still, I was disappointed (don’t worry, she was not home and she has no clue that this score even exists). Clearly, my decision to forgo test prep was not in line with my goal of a high score.

The entire experience helped me identify with my clients on a deeper level in terms of the concept of cognitive dissonance - particularly in relation to our goals for our children and the effort that it takes to achieve those goals. At the core, we all want our kids to be happy and fulfilled, right? I don’t think that there are many of us that want to push our children over the edge. We all realistically know that test prep for a first grader is probably not a great idea, just as we know that pushing high school kids to overwhelm themselves with coursework that requires studying until 3:00 a.m. each day is not a good idea.

Yet, and this is especially timely at this time of year with course registration on the horizon: how many of us actually modify our goals for our children in response to the decisions we make as parents? It was easy for me to say that I wasn’t going to prep my first-grader for the NNAT, but it was harder to feel fine with the eventual outcome. It’s easy to say that we shouldn’t force twelfth graders to take AP Calculus or continue with a slate of activities that they no longer enjoy, but it’s so much harder to truly feel fine with the idea that UVA may not be in the cards anymore because of those decisions.

I don’t have a magical solution to solve this problem (I wish I did!). It would be so much easier if my daughter just scored perfectly on her own and if all the kids with whom I work are naturally Harvard-bound without any kind of intervention. Ultimately, though, I think that there is a balance between a check-listed childhood and free-range parenting, and that balance may look different for each family.

I would urge parents to consider these types of dilemmas while acknowledging the consequences in the context of our ultimate goals for our children. This doesn’t mean that we should necessarily adjust our goals or adjust our parenting decisions, but we do have to come to terms with the idea that decisions lead to consequences, so that there are no surprises down the line in terms of an inability to achieve goals. There may be situations when we as parents decide that a little pain now is worth the end result, and there may be situations where we decide it isn’t.

As for me, I have a lot of strategy and planning sessions on my calendar this month and will be discussing course selections at length. I will continue to tell everyone that I highly recommend AP Calculus to students that hope to be competitive applicants to highly selective schools, if AP Calculus is an option on the table. Yes, even for the kid that’s not interested in math. And yes, a fourth year of a foreign language (not to be confused with level four) is equally important… IF the goal is UVA. But it doesn’t have to be!

Coming Home to Stay

I recently came across The New York Times article When a College Student Comes Home to Stay and felt it necessary to add my two cents, given my experience working with so many families and students over the years.

In previous generations, everyone looked forward to college. Arrival on campus for freshman orientation represented freedom, new friends, and a major step towards adulthood. Today, the lead-up to college has spiraled out of control, and arrival on campus represents so much more: a sought-after prize that justifies a decade (or more!) of sacrifice.

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As students work tirelessly to perfect their college essays and try desperately to increase their ACT scores following years and years of pressure, they often can’t help but develop very unrealistic expectations about the end goals that they are trying to achieve with so much hard work. This idealized version of college certainly doesn’t leave room for imagining days caught in the rain without an umbrella, courses with terrible professors, evenings missing family and friends from home, or poor scores earned during the first round of exams.

When the bad days come - and there will be bad days, even at Harvard - students are stunned and surprised. They often start thinking something is wrong with them or that they cannot handle college altogether.  95% of the time, nothing is wrong at all; they are simply experiencing the ups and downs of daily life. Because this happens so often, I find it increasingly important to guide families during the college application process to maintain a realistic viewpoint, and I encourage parents to have discussions with their children about the realities of college and the “real world.”  

The better perspective these students bring with them to their freshman year of college, the less likely they will feel as if the world is crashing down around them when they are no longer in the top 10% of their class, get their first C in a course, or aren’t getting along with their roommate. 

Of course, there are also situations when something more serious is at play. Should a student come home from a break or their first year and not want to return, or transfer to another school, all is not lost.  Here at DC College Counseling, we not only serve high school students and their families that are embarking on the college application process for the first time, we also enjoy working with students who would like to transfer to a better-fit school.  Every year we assist students from a variety of backgrounds who were unhappy with their first college selection.  

Many of our clients are interested to learn that countless schools, such as UVA, have much higher acceptance rates for transfer students than incoming freshmen.  In fact, we find that students who do transfer schools often have better and more options available to them than when they applied to college during high school.  No matter what your family seeks or needs, always know that many options exist and we are here to help.

This year, I am thankful for WOW Writing Workshop!

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It is finally that time of year again: everything has settled down, almost all applications are in, and we at DC College Counseling can reflect on the entire admissions cycle while everything is still fresh in our minds. Without question, the best decision that we made for the Class of 2019 was to undergo training in the WOW Writing Workshop method. As soon as I finished, I knew that we had to put it into use immediately, which we did! I’m happy to report that it was wildly successful, resulting in the best set of college essays I have ever seen - truly.

We are absolutely certain that this tried and true approach is the single best way to coach students to build essays that will result in acceptance letters from their top-choice schools, and I am excited to share a bit more about it here.  Students with a variety of writing skills and abilities are able to craft thoughtfully written stories that showcase who they are and why colleges should select them. Best of all, it’s not a painful process in the slightest!

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the WOW Writing Workshop is its focus on using the student’s voice - not mine, the essay coaches in our office, or their parents. I know firsthand that undergraduate admissions departments can instantly spot an essay that a student did not actually write (check out this article from the New York Times for more on that topic). Through the WOW Writing Workshop, on the other hand, all students are given the command to use their own voice and truly sell themselves in an authentic way.

The guided step-by-step program begins with understanding the essay prompts, such as those belonging to the Common Application and the Coalition Application.  This first step is critical to writing a series of captivating essays, as students can often miss the mark when they just jump right in to outlining the story they wish to tell.

The subsequent steps that lead up to the actual writing of the essay include brainstorming exercises, story ideas and themes centralized around what the student wants the admissions office to learn about him or her beyond test scores, activities and awards.  Instead of students regurgitating information seen in other parts of their application, the essays that allow students to stand out and shine, displaying unique aspects of their personalities, leadership styles or defining moments that shaped who they are or what they wish to study in their undergraduate curriculum.

Each step of the WOW Writing Workshop is matched with a video and set of exercises to keep each student on task and accountable.  This ensures that by Step 5, “Write Draft 1,” students are confident that they are answering the prompt correctly and to their best ability.  After the first draft is written, the remaining steps of the workshop focus on polishing and refining.

When it comes to revisions, the WOW Writing Workshop trains students to see their essays with a fresh set of eyes.  Alongside the students, the essay coaches and I will ask questions to fill in any potential storyline gaps and encourage additional detailed descriptions to really set the scene before tackling grammar and spelling corrections.  In the final two steps of the program, we will examine the essay and its prompt with a fine-tooth comb.  At the conclusion of the process, students will hold an exceptionally written essay that exhibits the “WOW factor.”

I have to admit that the last benefit of this program was somewhat unexpected. I have heard from a number of senior parents this year who felt that the process actually helped their students become better writers as a whole; not only were their students taking the steps needed to maximize the likelihood of acceptance letters from the schools of their dreams, they were simultaneously developing much-needed skills for the future. We are very excited to continue WOW with our next crop of students in the Class of 2020!