By Carol Barash, PhD
Founder and CEO, Story To College
I’m waiting for the light to change at 53rd and 6th--rushing rushing--late for my 12:00 lunch. Someone bumps into me, and I look up from my iPhone. Two women in shorts and t-shirts are pointing up at the McGraw-Hill Building, giggling and smiling. On the next corner a man with long gray hair is sitting on a bucket, puffing a cigar. And coming up the stairs from the E train there is a man with fluorescent yellow hair and a flowered hat.
I encourage you to take the out-of-towner’s approach to your college applications and enjoy each step with a sense of novelty and wonder. You will discover all sorts of things about yourself and your aspirations. There are at least 7 lessons big life skills to be learned from the college admission process:
1. Scheduling: The biggest change from high school to college for many students is organizing your own schedule. College apps are a great opportunity to organize your summer to make sure you get your essays started--maybe even finished--before school starts again, and have time for work, friends and other things that are important to you.
2. Project management: College admissions officers say that most students’ essays are sloppy and don’t help them in the admission process. The best admission essays are written in phases. So on that schedule you just started, map out time to brainstorm a range of possible topics; try different approaches to key questions; and especially research about colleges so you are applying to schools that are a great fit for you.
3. Self-advocacy: The most important thing you can learn from college admissions essays is how to make a case for who you will be in the future based on what you will do in the past. Whether it’s in an essay or an interview, replace generalizations with specific instances where your actions made a difference in the lives of other people.
4. Friendly competition: Some students freak out when they realize that everyone is applying to the same colleges they are. There are plenty of colleges for everyone, and if you apply to colleges where you are a strong applicant you will be admitted and you are also likely to receive financial aid. And learn to stay connected with your friends even when you both are working towards similar outcomes!
5. Smart choices: Senior fall can be as stressful as junior spring—especially if you put off all of your college application work until classes start again in September. So summer is the time to start making smart choices: eating healthy foods, getting plenty of sleep, taking care of work responsibilities on time, and scheduling breaks to recharge your physical, mental and emotional batteries.
6. Budgeting: The biggest stressor for college students is money! Start with a frank conversation with your parents about how much they can contribute to your college education. Make sure to apply to colleges where you are a strong candidate both for admission and financial aid you’re thinking about money, set up checking and saving accounts in your own name and start saving money for college.
7. Iteration: College app essays are a chance to learn about yourself, to try different topics and approaches, to reflect on the key moments that have brought you to today and what you are doing to make a difference now and in the future. This process does not end with college admissions! Research suggests that students who take this process approach, who prepare to succeed by practicing, do succeed more often than other students. Try, try, try...learn all you can from each trial...and then try again. The only time you fail is when you stop trying.
PS: If you don’t know how to do your own laundry, now is a great time to learn!
Ready to get started on your college apps? Download our free Guide to the new Common Application today.
Carol Barash, PhD has taught over 6000 students from around the world how to write powerful and authentic college application essays using the Moments Method™. Her book, Write Out Loud: 12 Tools to Tell Your Story and Get into a Great College is available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes + Noble, and you can get started on stress-free essays now with the Story To College online application essay course.
By Carol Barash, PhD
Founder and CEO, Story To College
It was two summers ago. My daughter Eliana and I are driving across the Tappan Zee Bridge, running late for our info session at Amherst when traffic stops. “Eliana, what do you have on your iPod?”
“I made us a play list.” She plugs it into the dashboard. We roll down the windows and start singing...
So rock me momma like a wagon wheel
Rock me momma any way you feel
Hey momma rock me
Rock me momma like the wind and the rain
Rock me momma like a south bound train
Hey momma rock me
At some point the traffic started moving again. We sang the whole way through Connecticut and western Massachusetts, arriving at Amherst early, our first college visit in a 21-day junket that included planes, trains and automobiles, six states, a bunch of bland hotels, plus the delightfully decadent Hotel Zaza in Houston.
Eliana created 21 Days of Summer to give herself a sense of control across the dizzying cavern that is the summer after junior year, the summer that the college admissions process gets real for most families. I offer the 2013 version of 21 Days of Summer to you--updated this year by Story To College Student Ambassador Sammi Greene (Lehigh ‘16)--with the same advice I gave Eliana on that trip: “You can dread this process, or you can use it to explore who you want to be in college and in life.”
Students, here are three more tips for college road trips:
Get past the surface: What you feel when you walk onto a campus is just a feeling. Emotions are capricious; they come from things that are unreliable like the weather or the tour guide’s accent. Ask questions that get past the obvious, and really listen to what people say when they are off script.What courses and programs does the school offer? What are the rituals that bind the community together?
Take notes: After each college visit, write down a few things that you noticed--not what you felt but what you saw and heard. There’s no right or wrong, and you don’t have to show anyone, but be specific. In the fall these notes will help you answer the “Why I Want to Attend this College” essays and stand out from the crowd. My notes after visiting Mt. Holyoke in the summer of 1975 said, “My mom loves this place. I’m not so sure. Milk and chocolate chip cookies.”
Follow up: Take a business card from each person you talk to (the tour guide, the admissions counselor who runs the info session, anyone who shows you a special program), and write thank you notes--an email is fine; a handwritten note will set you apart from 99% of the students who dash through each summer.
Parents, your job is to drive safely and remain neutral. Ask questions that encourage your children to figure things out for themselves. Let your child make the play list, and remember to sing out loud!
Carol Barash, PhD founded Story To College in 2010 and has taught over 6000 students from around the world how to write powerful and authentic college application essays using the Moments Method™. Her book, Write Out Loud: 12 Tools to Tell Your Story and Get into a Great College is available for preorder on Amazon, and you can get started on stress-free essays now with the Story To College online application essay course.
By Sammi Greene (Lehigh ‘16)
Story To College Student Ambassador
For me, applying to college was a terrifying endeavor.
I remember thinking: Not only does it dictate four years of my life, but I have to talk about myself. I’ve never been comfortable talking about my accomplishments because it felt like bragging, which is something that I had always frowned upon. The idea of bragging, while remaining modest and humble, for a full 500 words plus a resume plus all of my grades seemed like the worst thing in the world.
Looking back to 2 years ago (which seems like forever, really) there are five things that strike me as the biggest fears I had to overcome to write my college application essays:
Fear #1: Choosing the Colleges to Apply to.
This was my biggest fear. I ended up applying Early Decision to my top choice school, but coming to that conclusion wasn’t easy. There were campus visits and tours; advice taken and, in some cases, ignored; expectations and reassurances. There are so many things to keep in mind.
Remedy: Choosing a college is a tough thing to do, and there’s really no way to fix all the pressure and stress that comes along with the decision. The best advice I can give is to take a deep breath and really think about where you were most comfortable. Which campus did you like the best? Did the students seem happy there? Were they friendly? Are there good classes that interest you, at sizes that will challenge you but also give you the attention you deserve? If there is a place that seems perfect, use Zinch, Noodle or Big Future to find other colleges that are similar--you’ll be surprised how many great colleges there are!
Fear #2: The Search for a Topic.
What do I want to write about? Did I ever stand up for something in my community? Do colleges really care about the dog I found and brought to an animal shelter? Do they care about the A I finally got on a math test? How do I tell them about it in a way that makes me sound like someone that they will want to come to their college?
Remedy: Your life is your topic, and you can write about lots and lots of things. The Common Application essay goes to all of the colleges you apply to, and so you only need to think of one topic for that. But it should be something that’s really your own--for me it was flying trapeze and circus; but it was so integral to my life that I didn’t know how to write about it at first. Making someone who had never seen a trapeze before understand what I was talking about was quite a challenge. Story To College helped me not only figure out where to start but also to realize how important it was to me. Go outside and take pictures of your favorite places and describe them in an essay and why they are important to you. Talk about a moment that you find incredibly influential of who you are as a person. There are lots of ways to show how incredible and unique and worthy of admission you are.
Fear #3: The Blank Page.
Staring at a blank white page and wondering where to start is overwhelming. “Tell us about yourself,” they say. “We want to know the real you, behind the numbers.” But how do you start? How do you get past the introduction and show where you changed as a person and grew into something bigger, better, more impressive? What is a hook, anyway?
Remedy: Talk to someone who knows you well. Ask them to tell you about a time that they saw you shine. I bet their first sentence will be a great hook. Plus, once you talk about your accomplishments out loud it is much easier to write them down.
Fear #4: The Supplemental Essays.
There is nothing worse than thinking you’re done and then flipping the worksheet over and seeing there’s more to do on the back. That’s what supplemental essays are like. It’s not a good idea to send the same supplemental essays to all of the colleges you’re applying to, and they all probably have different prompts anyway. So now you also have to write another one or two--or maybe 10 or more--250-word essays for some of the colleges you want to apply to. How are you going to think of that many topics and ways to describe how awesome you are?
Remedy: Supplemental essays are an extra chance to really connect. They give you extra opportunities to show colleges what a perfect match you are. Don’t stress over them, and don’t rush through them at the last minute either. Be honest and authentic, and use them as a tool to show more facets of yourself.
Fear #5: The Resume.
What did I even do in high school? Figuring out which things to put on your resume for college might not be too hard; just put everything you’ve ever done. Easy, right? I didn’t keep a log of all of my activities, though, and you might not have either. Trying to remember four years of work, sports, triumphs and failures can seem like a daunting task.
Remedy: Work with your friends. No, really. Ask them what you did together in, say, freshman or sophomore year. Ask them, “What is the most important thing I can bring to a college community?” They will probably remember the time you helped them through a rough patch, or the time you found a $20 bill on the ground and gave it to someone who needed a bite to eat. It’s all much easier if you work as a group; trust me on this one!
Have other questions I can answer? I’m the Story To College social media intern this summer, so feel free to ask away on FB or Twitter and make my day!
Sammi Greene is a student at Lehigh University where she is an International Relations, Modern Languages, and Literature joint major. She is a member of the Global Citizenship program, which allows her to travel and apply her education to real life situations. She has interned with Story To College since 2011 and enjoys writing, flying trapeze in Queens, NY and drawing in pen and ink when she has free time.
Guest Post by Carrie Greene
Founder and CEO of CarrieThru
Students, especially ambitious one, are lousy at taking care of themselves.
- They routinely spend long hours studying or committed to extra-curricular activities.
- Ambitious students often beat themselves up for not doing enough or not doing it well enough.
- They feel guilty spending time relaxing when there’s so much work to do.
- They spend their day worrying about what they missed or what they “should have” done.
The problem is that when you don’t take care of yourself you can't take care of the things you have to do.
Let me be very clear here. I’m not saying that you don’t have to work and work hard to reach the ambitious goals you have set for yourself. What I am saying is that when you take care of yourself, your body and brain will work better, and you’ll enjoy what you’re doing.
Here are a few strategies for you to try. You may just find that by nurturing yourself, your energy and ability to do more and do better will grow in return.
1.Schedule mini vacations. Take a random day off once or twice a month. Give yourself permission to walk away from your work. Do something you haven’t done in a while that you’ve been meaning or wanting to do. Ride a bike. Go for a walk in a park. Sit on the beach for a day. Wander through a new store in town. Read a book simply for pleasure. Go to a movie or try a new restaurant. The options are endless.
2.Spend time with friends. There are lots of types of friends. What I’m talking about here are the friends that nurture you, not those that you really “should” get together with but those whom you “want” to get together with.
3.Nourish your body. Get enough sleep, eat foods that nourish you and get exercise. The better you take care of your engine the better it will work. Enough said.
4.Take a one-hour break every day. Step away from your work physically and stop thinking about it. Take the time to laugh with someone or cry if you need to. Make yourself a nice lunch, or go for a walk with a friend. Leave work behind.
And most important…
5.Give yourself permission to play. Playtime is creative time. When you let yourself play and don’t worry about perfectionism the fun will come back. You will find yourself excited and motivated to do the work you want to do.
Carrie Greene is a speaker, author, business coach and mother of three. She is a business strategist and productivity expert for entrepreneurs.
The better you take care of yourself the better you'll be able to reach your goals.
For free resources and to learn more please visit www.CarrieThru.com
By Carol Barash, PhD, Founder and CEO
Story To College
Student debt is slamming the upper middle class. Families with incomes from $94,535 to $205,335 are the fastest growing sector of educational debt. Fear not: merit aid decisions are often made in the admissions office, and you can determine whether you sink or swim based on your college entrance essays.
We’ve seen this college debt crisis coming, with savvy parents seeking out colleges where their children will receive merit scholarships and graduate debt free–or close to it. Many colleges (like Kenyon College) are adding funding for full tuition scholarships to attract top students, and there is a growing industry of consultants who advise middle class families how to qualify for more scholarships, including the ones that are need-based.
Let’s call it the 20-80 strategy: Take your hopes down 20% from your top schools, leverage your grades and SAT or ACT scores, and research where you can get 80% or more of your tuition and expenses paid by the school.
Across the economic spectrum, and at all types of colleges and universities, students who use college entrance essays to make a case for why colleges should invest in them tend to receive more admissions offers than students who write bland and generic personal statements. Showing who they are as people today, and what difference they will make after they graduate, can also net more merit scholarships for students.
Here are 5 steps to shape college entrance essays that show how you add value in a college community:
- Make your list with fit and money in mind: The core of your college list should be places where you have a strong chance of both admission and merit-based financial aid. Wondering where you might qualify for merit aid? Check out Zinch.com and Cappex.com.
- Treat each application as a separate conversation: Get to know each place you are applying; make sure your academic background and extracurricular passions are a strong fit. Go ahead and admit yourself, and write your college application essays–especially “Why I Want to Attend Your College”–from that place!
- Apply for all the aid you can: Sometimes this is as easy as checking a box that says “YES please consider me for merit aid.” Other times you need to fill out a supplemental essay.
- Optional essays are not optional: Use every chance you get to show a college another facet of what you will add to their community.
- What should I put in an essay for merit-based aid? Tell a story of a time you made a difference. If a college invests its educational resources in you, what will you give back to the community and the world at large?
With lowered job expectations, and a stagnant economy, there are clearly a lot of people struggling to make the college financial equation work. We are at a crossroads for higher education in this country. Over the next 20 years, technology will transform higher education, including pushing the cost of education down for everyone. For now, if you want to pay for college with scholarships, rather than debt, remember to tell compelling and authentic stories in your college application essays, the one part of the process you completely control.
Want free help on your essays? Sign up for our webinar on Tuesday, November 13. We’ll show you how to personalize your essay and connect with admissions readers.
Carol Barash, PhD, is the Founder and CEO of Story To College (www.storytocollege.com), a company that teaches high school and college students tools to advocate for themselves in college admissions, job interviews, and life in the twenty-first century. She is a graduate of Yale and Princeton and an award-winning professor and admissions reader at Rutgers University. She advises students, parents and schools on how to expand educational access and college writing readiness.
By Carol Barash, PhD Founder and CEO, Story To College
With less than two weeks until the first Early Decision and Early Action apps are due, there’s hype all around college admissions. Reporters dubbed it the College Admissions Arms Race, and the weeks leading up to November 1st can seem like a battle waged against your applications.
All this media attention can blind students to the fact that you have what you need to complete your application essays and the whole application – in your experiences, your perspective, and your unique voice.
The Common App essays are your chance to show admissions who you are and how you will make a difference in college and in life. The essays are the most important part of the application, after grades and SAT/ACT scores. The essays are more important than class rank, teacher recommendations, and your activities resume. Admissions officers describe the essay as a “deal breaker.” They use your essay to add nuance to the numbers and to distinguish between students whose records otherwise look alike.
So, how are you going to deal with this critical piece of your application? Take any one of the topics below and write a first draft of 500-1000 words about it. Eventually, you’ll want to prune it back to 500 words. But the idea here is to get past your usual responses, to get to the heart of what’s important to you. So just let your pen go. If you find your ideas going all over the place, that’s great; you’ll come up with a bunch of ideas by writing freely:
- My favorite pair of shoes
- If I were vice president
- The painting comes to life
- Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore
- Wacky weather
- Tea with Eleanor Roosevelt
- What I do after midnight
- A lie my parents told me
- Things I left behind
- The most important thing no one knows about me
And here are three topics that are almost always a mistake – because they make you sound smug, or privileged, and not someone who will be a positive member of your college community. Here’s how you can turn one of those around, and get your essays and yourself back on track.
- Why I don’t drink (or something else that’s pretty standard high school behavior). If you started Safe Rides at your high school, that’s important!
- My best friend. They essay should be about you, not someone else. So perhaps explore how that person has shaped you, and what you have done as a result.
- Traveling to another country and feeding my leftovers to a homeless person. To this person you are making a difference, and that is a great thing. But as JFK said, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.” If you are in the position to see the disparities and make this sort of difference in one life, what are you doing closer to home with those insights, or perhaps on a broader scale?
Good luck with your essays. Let us know what questions you have
and what obstacles you run into, and we’ll do our best to get you unstuck!
Guest post by Suzanne Raga
Senior fall is no doubt a stressful, hectic time. Between starting your last year of high school, taking a slew of new classes, and navigating your college applications, when are you supposed to take care of yourself?
The good news is that you don’t have to stay up until 2AM, struggling to stay alert enough to write the latest draft of your college application essay after a long night of homework. Working harder isn’t the answer. You can achieve balance and take care of your emotional and physical needs while you embark on the beginning of senior year.
Schedules are your new best friends. To stay focused and keep track of all your responsibilities, write a master to-do list. Think about your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks (like specific homework assignments, projects, and test prep), and add them to your list of college application deadlines. Your goal is to do your assignments as efficiently as possible – knock them out so you can move on. Don’t spend all night studying, either – decide on a reasonable time limit and set a timer.
You may want to keep separate schedules for school, college apps, and social activities, or one master schedule, but in either case don’t schedule all your time! It’s nice to have some free time to daydream, take a spontaneous weekend trip, listen to music, and watch movies.
Do fun, cool things that interest you. Have fun. Seriously – that’s an order! What do you love to do outside of school? What experiences have you always wanted to try but were afraid of in the past?
Step outside your comfort zone. Play the drums with your band for a huge audience, organize a charity event, or climb a mountain. Besides having fun and getting a break from doing schoolwork, you’ll have some pretty awesome topics to write about in your college application essays!
Keep Calm and Carry On. All your friends may be freaking out. Your teachers and counselors could be pressuring you. Your parents might stress you out. Don’t panic! Patience and perseverance can help carry you through the rollercoaster that is senior fall.
Remind yourself that this time in your life is not permanent. Senior spring is only a few months away. Having a positive attitude and showing gratitude for the opportunity to attend college will help you. You might even look back fondly on your senior fall; as Aeneas says to his crew after enduring a terrible storm in Virgil’s Aeneid: “Perhaps, one day, remembering even these things will bring pleasure.”
Suzanne Raga is the author of You Rock! How To Be A Star Student & Still Have Fun. A graduate of Princeton University, she also runs the music blog After The Show.
By Carol Barash, PhD
Founder, Story To College
Seniors, if you haven’t started your college application essays, it’s time to get going! If you are stuck, confused, down on yourself, or otherwise flustered, I can definitely empathize.
When I told my guidance counselor my first choice was Yale, she said, “No one from our school has gotten into Yale for 9 years. You will definitely not be the one to break the curse.” Thankfully my AP US teacher, Mrs. Bressler, said, “That’s ridiculous, you are a top student. Write a great essay, and show them who you are.” When I showed my essay to my mother, she thought I should not use the word “pejorative” in my first sentence (because she didn’t know what it meant).
I stuck to my guns, used “pejorative” in my first sentence, and submitted an essay about being a strong girl in a high school where “feminist” was a curse word. It was my own and I ended up breaking the Yale curse.
So if you’re stuck somewhere between all the people who push you in all the ways that parents, teachers and counselors will lovingly do, here are 4 steps to get past where you are stuck, to find an essay topic that is totally your own, and meet all the deadlines coming up this fall:
1. Refresh: Before you start writing—especially something as important as college application essays—take some time to set aside your doubts and self-criticism (just write them all down and throw the list away), so you are starting with a clean slate. Imagine you have been admitted to your top choice college, and the job of your essays is to let people know what you do once you arrive.
2. Build a Bridge: For each of those things you will do in college, what have you done in the past and what are you doing in the present that reveals your knowledge and readiness to take on the next challenge in college? If you haven’t done it exactly, what have you done that gets you close, or how else can you show you are ready?
3. Transform Scripts to Stories: Many high school students start with the same big ideas they want colleges to know about them: I’m a leader, or I’m ambitious, or I work really hard. To write a college essay that distinguishes you from lots of other students who look alike on paper, you want to get past the scripts of being a leader or ambitious and start telling stories that reveal your character and show what difference you want to make in the world.
4. Choose a Moment: Once you have explored your attributes and aspirations, and written down the experiences that reveal them to others, explore specific moments that show those attributes and aspirations in action. Committed to green energy? How did you gain that passion, and what are you doing with it right now? Want to run for Congress one day? What courses will you take in college to set you on that path?
You may be thinking, “I just want to tell them what they want, and get this thing done.” Bad news is also the good news here: There is not one essay topic that is right for everyone, or what a particular college is looking for. But the best essays flow from moments in your own life where you have learned, or changed, or made a difference—and no one knows your life better than you! Have fun, and let us know if you have questions.
Coming up next: How can I shape my college application essay to reveal my unique character? Sign up here to receive College Essay email updates from Story To College.
Story To College teaches students tools to tell their own stories and advocate for themselves in college admissions, job interviews, life and learning in the twenty-first century.
By Carrie Greene, CarrieThru, LLC
I was surprised when Story to College asked me to write an article. I typically work with entrepreneurs, helping them grow their businesses to six figures and beyond. I help them with marketing and productivity. What do I know about helping teens get into college? After a bit of thinking I realized that getting into college is about being an entrepreneur.
One of the biggest challenges an entrepreneur faces is that there is no road map for what they want to do because it’s their dream that they are following. They don’t have a boss telling them what projects to work on and no teacher giving them homework assignments, teaching them what they need to do, or showing them the steps they need to take. Entrepreneurs need to dig deep into themselves. First to uncover their dream and then the hard part, they need to get motivated, stay motivated every single day, and take risks to make it happen.
You are at the beginning of your dream right now. You probably have some ideas about what path you’d like to follow. Are you a science person? A history buff? Do you love literature? You have ideas and now you’ve got to take it to the next step. You’ll go to college (I promise you, you’ll get in). BUT in order to get in you have some work to do and while it might not be easy it is really important that it gets done and gets done well.
When I’m working with my entrepreneur clients who are building businesses one of the biggest challenges they face is being overwhelmed. There is so much to do, and frankly a lot of it they are simply not good at. They find it very hard to get anything done. It’s so much easier to just put it off for tomorrow or another day.
You’re likely in a similar position. There’s a lot to do and it’s all new to you. There are so many colleges out there. So many essays to write. So many recommendations to get. So many decisions to make. So much you don’t know. And then there’s mom and dad nagging you. Where are you going to apply? Have you written your essays yet? When are you going to ask Mr. Smith for the recommendation? It’s overwhelming! All you want to do is go to college right? Why do you have to deal with all of this?
The truth is that you have to deal with it. You’re not the first person to be overwhelmed by all the pressure and unfortunately you won’t be the last. The good news is that there are strategies you can use to help. Here are the most important strategies that I share with my clients. These strategies put money in my clients’ pockets and it will help get you into an amazing college without killing your parents along the way!
Do a brain dump. What do you really have to do? Make a list. Put it all out there so that you can see it and know what you’re dealing with. Even if the list is big and scary knowing what you have to do puts you in a position of power and control.
Create deadlines. You’re not going to do everything in one day (or even a week). Look at what you need to do and set deadlines for yourself. When do you want to have that first essay done by? When do you want to give your teacher the forms for your recommendations? When do you want to have your list of colleges to apply to complete?
Break it up. The deadlines are important but what do you need to do to reach them? What are the steps that you need to take to write that essay? What forms do you need to print out in order to get them to your teachers? Who do you need to talk with to help you decide what colleges to apply to? Make a list of these steps and decide when you’re going to do them.
Don’t go it alone. Ask your friends, teachers, and guidance counselors for advice. See if you can take a class to help you with your essays. Ask your friend to join you for an “essay writing party." Schedule time with your parents to go on campus tours. And do yourself a favor: share your plan with your parents and guidance counselor. It will keep you honest with yourself and also (as long as you’re sticking to your schedule) keep them off your back.
Trust your instinct. You really do know what’s best for you. Consider the advice and input you’ve gotten and think it all out. What do you think is best? Now go and do it!
Carrie is a speaker, trainer, coach, and author of the book Chaos to Cash: An Entrepreneurs Guide to Eliminating Chaos, Overwhelm and Procrastination So you Create Ultimate Profit. Carrie is a master at cutting through the chaos and confusion that surrounds business owners so that they can stop procrastinating, take action, get more clients, and make more money. Carrie can help you get focused, create systems and structure, make decisions, set your priorities, and most importantly carry through so that you can achieve the success and profits you want for your business.
For free resources and to learn more please visit www.CarrieThru.com.
By Carol Barash, PhD, Founder and CEO, Story To College
This summer, through two programs sponsored by the University of Rochester Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, high school students from these two cities will have the opportunity to share their experiences and collaborate in a college learning environment.
On Saturday, July 14, Story to College will lead a Celebration of Community Voices, bringing together diverse high school students from the greater Rochester area to tell their stories and to hear the stories of high school students they might otherwise not meet.
And the following week, July 16-20, the University of Rochester is sponsoring a 5-day Story To College Application Essay Development Course at Jefferson Market, another reminder of Andrew Carnegie’s enduring legacy on the West Side of New York City.
The goal of these University of Rochester programs is to bridge the divide that so often separates high school students from privileged neighborhoods and economically challenged neighborhoods, and create a college classroom environment where they can learn and build community together.
“There are gaps of sophistication between these two groups, gaps of expectation, and of course gaps of opportunity,” explains Joe Latimer, Assistant Dean of Diversity and Outreach at the University of Rochester. “Our goal is to begin to close those gaps before kids get to college. High school students rarely care where someone comes from. They are curious and available to what other students offer. We believe that giving students who might not otherwise meet a chance to learn side-by-side, while they are still in high school, makes them all more ready not only for college, but for the increasingly diverse and global work force they are entering after college.”
Facing the prospect of college – and especially college application essays – students are all a bit timid at first. It is the vision of Story To College that by telling their stories to one another, sharing their unique life experiences and working to craft application essays that reveal what matters to them and what difference they will make in a college community, students begin to close the distance between the two Americas – and between young people in the US and young people who grow up other places.
Ever so briefly they are just a bunch of kids in jeans, sneakers and hoodies, starting a journey from where they are today to where they want to be in the future. I am inspired every time by how willing students are to work and build community across their differences – and reminded how much we need both cities, all of our children, to flourish in college and beyond.
This is Part Three of a three part series about my experiences with three recent Story To College programs that tie together everything we aspire to do for college-bound students. Read Part One and Part Two.