Conquering the College Application Process 

The college application process feels like it can last a lifetime, especially since many high schools now start college counseling in the early junior or even sophomore year. Monica can work with students at any and all stages of the process, including these key areas.

 

Building a List of Schools

 

Students today are challenged with a different task than their

parents’ generation was in choosing schools to apply to. As

the number of students enrolled in colleges has skyrocketed

and acceptance rates have plummeted, it is crucial that the

student builds a list of schools to apply to that gives them the

best chances of attending a school they are happy with.

Monica helps many students, especially high school juniors,

begin building their list of schools that fit their chances of

acceptance but that also fit the student’s personality and

academic desires. She often speaks with students about

what they are looking for in a school and makes other suggestions

that the family might not have thought of. She also creates

helpful lists for the student; for example, if the student is

passionate about journalism, Monica can provide an extensive

compilation of schools with strong journalism schools and programs.

 

Making the Most of Campus Visits

 

Since the process of visiting various schools is an expensive one both in terms of time and finances, it is important to make the most of a visit. Monica can help the student make a list of what to look for in a school and helpful questions to ask, as well as what to say to admissions officer on a visit. She also often helps students get in contact with a current student at the respective college to arrange a personal tour. Many of these college students were once clients of Monica’s as well!

 

Brainstorming & Writing Essays

 

The college essay may be the most stressful part of applying to college.  Even the moniker “Common App” creates a false sense of security.  Initially students think “oh—it’s just one 650 word essay—what’s the big deal?”.  The "big deal" is verbalized here by several admissions officers*:

 

“Amherst is a very verbal place—we’re committed to the written word.  This means that the essay is of utmost importance to the application.”

--Katie Fretwell, Amherst

 

"If you have 18- or 20,000 applicants, for some of those students, the essay makes a huge difference, both positively and negatively.”

--Parke Muth, University of Virginia

 

“Every year, it seems that the gray area of the applicant pool gets bigger and bigger.  The more it grows, the more important the essay becomes in helping admission committees distinguish among qualified candidates.

--Kimberly Van Deuse, William and Mary

 

Students are stunned to discover the sheer number of essays they are required to write.  While 650 words on the Common App essay doesn’t sound like a lot, if a student is applying to 10 colleges, he or she may ultimately confront nearly 40 essays of one type or another including:

 

  • Supplemental essays

  • Program specific essay

  • Short answer essays

  • Music and art portfolio essays

  • Scholarship essays

 

Most of these essays do not appear on the Common App, and many students find it time-consuming simply mapping out which colleges require which essays.  Monica helps students navigate this tedious process and be sure they have captured all the essays required of them. Preparing for interviews and crafting essays go hand-in-hand. Monica helps students voice their own authentic stories in which they will:

 

  • Prewrite:

    • Brainstorm compelling topics

    • Discover strengths

    • Create a self-outline

  • Draft:

    • Craft irresistible opening sentences.

    • Unearth intriguing examples.

    • Strengthen descriptive language.  

  • Edit:

    • Identify and avoid trite and overused phrases.

    • Perfect syntax and word choice.

    • Adhere to length requirements.

    • Avoid typos and poor grammar!

 

Strategizing Scholarships

 

While tuition costs have skyrocketed in recent decades, opportunities for financial aid and scholarships have become more extensive as well. Monica helps students prepare for scholarship interviews and write standout applications. She has helped students be awarded scholarships from the Foundation Fellowship at the University of Georgia to the Morehead-Cain Scholarship at the University of North Carolina. She also helps students simply find available scholarships at various universities where these opportunities often go under-publicized. A scholarship might be the tipping point for whether a student is able to attend a certain school, so carefully plotting out the options is crucial here.

Preparing for College and Scholarship Interviews

 

See details about the interview process here. Commonly asked interview questions are available here.

 

Working with Your College Counselor

 

Since your student is only one of many that the college counselor is working with in any given year, there are many things we can

do to make their job easier that also help your child. For example, many college counselors ask for a “biography” of the child from

the parents and an “autobiography” from the student submitted at the beginning of the student’s senior year. This is a crucial

opportunity to add depth to the way your college counselor understands your student so that he or she is seen for more

than his or her grades. Monica helps parents and students talk through some helpful things to include and how else to leverage

your relationship with your college counselor.

 

To set up an initial appointment and begin the college application process, contact Monica

 

Member of the

National Association

for College Admission Counseling

 

 

 

Ready to get

an Edge?

We would love to hear from you!

Monica James, Founder

2800 Wyngate Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30305

(404) 352 - 9442 / monicajames@comcast.net