Essays Give Students a Chance to Shine

Bragging about one’s self is difficult for some students. Although the bragging is very easy for others students, they must distinguish their efforts to demonstrate skills with the correct manner of presentation. Showing the best qualities to the admissions officers at a desired college or university requires a specific tactical effort that many students rarely attempt. This is why it is so important to do it! There are hundreds and thousands of students applying for the same few seats in the freshman class. This essay gives students a chance to share a few more important details about their talents, skills and abilities to give to the school.

Applying for college has become a process that most people think is simple to do. Most of those people think that counselors will be there to answer all questions and resolve all problems. The truth is that the number of high school counselors has been depleted at many schools. The counselors that are still on staff are very overworked and often too busy for timely responses.

Timing is very important and I always recommend that all applicants should get all documents done as soon as possible during the summer before 12th grade begins. Essays should be written and reviewed several times and then shared with several trusted teachers and parents to review and possibly edit. Elements of the essay should include the answers to the prompt questions, demonstrate a proper grasp of grammar and writing skills, and show the school what you can offer as a leader.

With the wide variety of prompts from which to choose, it makes no difference which one is actually selected. The best choice is the one that is most closely related to your priorities and give you the best chance to shine. The key is to tell the school what it needs to know about you and why you stand out among the competition for admission. Talents range from being a team leader on a sports team to being a consistent volunteer at the neighborhood community service center. Starting your own business gives you entrepreneurial skills and experiences, while singing in the church choir means that you could do the same in the college choir. Too often skills and experiences are overlooked as being average. Find out what you enjoy doing, what you excel at doing and share that in the essay.

Every college and university has a newspaper, magazine, website, TV station and radio station. All of the schools on your list have a commencement, alumni association, career day, guest speakers, and fund-raisers. Every one of these events requires a team to plan, coordinate and execute the program. Those responsibilities are given to student who want to lead, gain experience and broaden their networks. While networking is a topic for another blog entry, it is interesting that writing the college essay will take students all the way to networking for a full-time career!

Robin Mitchell-HenryComment
OPTIONS for College: The First Quarter

We have finished the first 9 lessons of OPTIONS for COLLEGE and we have shared the following information with our participants:

#1: 9/25/18 WELCOME, TECH DETAILS, OVERVIEW of the course, introductions, calendar checkpoints, Q&A

#2: 10/4/18 ORGANIZATION for the college application process, binders, letters, meeting, pain points, requests for guest interview.

Chanel Hampton, Spelman c/o 2006

Chanel Hampton, Spelman c/o 2006

#3: 10/9/18 SCHOLARSHIP TYPES & SPELMAN COLLEGE alumna interview, Chanel Hampton offered assistance to all who need it, ways to survive and thrive, scholarships, real life at Spelman

#4: 10/11/18 WHAT's NEXT Careers, Majors, Colleges, what schools are best for which majors


#5: 10/16/18 FIND yourSELF in College, SORORITY LIFE Nakia Jones shared her AKA experiences and advice for community service, mentoring, scholarships, athletics

#6: 10/18/18 NETWORKING show others that you are interested and interesting, which questions to ask, why questions are important, who needs to network and how to do it properly

#7: 11/1/18 Essay Strategies/Campus Visit Revelations (Amber Anderson)

#8: 11/8/18 Scholarships/Business of Being a College Student (Grayson Mitchell)

#9: INTERNSHIPS & SUMMER JOBS (Daniel Merrick)

Robin Mitchell-HenryComment
Campus Visits and College Tours

You have applied at several schools and that is fantastic. Now you are awaiting their responses to your application while attending classes, completing projects, studying for finals, applying for scholarships, and trying to avoid pulling out your hair. I remember! Its not an easy time of your life, but you will survive.

This is the time to get on a bus, train, car, or plane and go to visit the campuses where you have applied. There is so much to see in person that you might make a drastically wrong decision if you do not go to visit. A college tour or a campus visit will provide you with great amounts of knowledge about the school, the students, the city, and the opportunities.

The campus visit is the easiest to do, but it may not provide the best information. Many parents will drive their kids to see a school on the weekend. This makes the potential student much more comfortable making a decision as opposed to never even seeing the campus. But just walking around and looking at the school is better than not going to look at all. It is just not as complete as going on a college tour.

College tours are usually done during the week days during business hours. The entire tour is planned out and mapped out in advance with a knowledgable guide to share details and answer questions. The thing to remember is that tour guides may not be in the same major or have the same goals as you do. Take their advice to heart, but be ready to make your own decisions on difficult choices like which dorm to live in or which Algebra teacher to request as a tutor. The benefit of the college tour is the complete look at classrooms, buildings, events, historical facts, financial aid advice, and meeting a real live student.

Take your time deciding where to go, but remain flexible regarding final decisions. The best school may be the one you least liked, but the one that offers you the most money in scholarships!

Robin Mitchell-HenryComment