June Update: Possible UT Changes, Activities & Applications, Student Social Media, and More

UT Changes on the Horizon?

Always on the hunt for the latest scoop, we recently learned that UT is considering changes to the essays -for the 2017-2018 cycle. We have been in touch with admissions officers at UT and will know immediately once any changes have been confirmed. In the meantime, we have already tweaked our essay process to adjust for this, so any completed work has not been for naught--fear not! We will let you know as changes are announced (or scrapped) as well as any effect these changes may have on your student's application plan.

5 Myths About Activities and College Applications

When it comes to completing college applications, things have changed a lot over the years (and we don't just mean in terms of no longer having to use a typewriter to complete them!). Today, completing an application is a holistic process; in an ideal world, a student's essays, application, and academic record will all paint a picture of a student that gives a clear idea of what type of person he or she is, and what she plans to do in college and beyond.

To help you navigate this piece of the admissions process, we've debunked a few application myths and misconceptions. Read more....

What Admissions Officers Look For In An Essay

Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of rising seniors quite like the college essay. Students tend to think they must be something specific (insert your choice of adjective--funny, introspective, remarkable) when, in fact, college admissions officers really just want them to be, well, them. From demonstrating passion to revealing quirks, this US News piece reveals the types of college essays that stand out to college admissions officers at some of the nation's top schools.

Lisa & Bob on the Road: Trends to Watch

From our third national conference in recent months, we wanted to bring you the latest trends we are seeing in the college admissions process: 

  1. Increasing use of media/technology in applications: From asking for links to websites on resumes to allowing video uploads, colleges are incorporating digital media in applications. This is a great opportunity for students to showcase work and experiences where a traditional pen-and-paper explanation doesn't do them justice. One way students can start cataloging these types of materials is with a ZeeMee account (a free online resource that helps students build a digital story to share with colleges).
  2. More application options on the horizon: The biggest new player in this field is the Coalition Application, which rolled out to much fanfare (and more than a few stumbling blocks) last year. Far from going away, the tweaked Coalition application appears to be only growing in popularity with colleges, who are looking for new opportunities to learn about applicants. 
  3. Personalization is the future: From adding more (shorter, supplemental) essays to asking for ZeeMee links, colleges are seeking out any chance to really get to know a student. 

What Adults Regret Most About Their College Choice

Another college? Another major? When it comes to regret, adults are split on which aspects of their college education they regret the most. According to a recent study, there is a clear correlation between the level of degree attained, and the satisfaction with one's choices. Least happy with their decisions are those with some college experience, but no degree. In addition to providing useful ammo to parents with students who want to drop out of school, the stats from this study also point to important factors such as choosing the right school or course of study. Worth a look!

Student's Social Media Mistakes Can Have An Impact

You've heard the tales of the students who've had their acceptances revoked based on inappropriate social media posts. You've talked to your student about being careful what they Tweet or what pictures they upload to Instagram. But the savviest kids today are doing a lot more than just watching their tone online. From creating secret accounts (with fake names) to hiring companies to scrub their digital footprints, maintaining a clean online record has become a serious piece of the admissions puzzle.  

Preparing Students for Future Careers

Planning for careers after college ranks as the #1 concern for parents of high school juniors & seniors. And for good reason--studies indicate that students who explore possible career interests in high school (through job shadows, internships, summer programs, etc.) tend to be happier and more focused in their careers in their late 20s than students who waited until later to start "trying on jobs." But talking to students about future careers can be a delicate balance for parents, and 55% of high school students say that their parents are putting pressure on them to gain professional experience. So, how should you broach the subject? Read more...

14 Reasons to Ignore the US News Rankings

Parents and students alike pore over the annual US News College Rankings each year, adding or nixing colleges to their lists based on the rankings. We have learned much over the years about how these rankings are calculated--and have come to loathe the hold they have over the admissions process. From basing rankings largely on popularity to not factoring in essential elements such as student experience and debt load, we can think of more than 14 Reasons the US New College Rankings are Meaningless, but this article is a great start!

College MatchPoint Team Spotlight: Julie Richie, M.F.A

Born in Boston and raised in Connecticut and New Jersey, Julie attended Brown University where she studied political science, played soccer and lacrosse, and wrote for the Brown Daily Herald and the College Hill Independent. At Brown she met her husband, a native Texan, who wooed her to the Lone Star state. She has held a variety of writing and editing positions in public relations and journalism and received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Lesley University in 2011. She has been published in numerous regional and national publications and especially enjoys writing and editing creative nonfiction and has a particular interest in helping students uncover and write about their most interesting stories. For the past nine years she has successfully coached numerous students through the boarding school and college admission essay process. She loves the refreshing energy of students and is constantly inspired by their diverse interests and accomplishments. For many years, Julie also served as an alumni interviewer for Brown. She recently moved from Dallas to Austin, where she lives with her husband and two sons. When she is not working on her own writing projects or reading, you can find her cooking adventurous new recipes, hiking, or mountain biking.  

Overparenting and the Rise of Helplessness

Not all the kids are all right. That's because many parents have done so much for their kids--and for so long--that many young adults can't handle simple responsibilities like managing their own calendars or doing a load of laundry from start to finish. Often, the cycle starts early (ever "help" with a first-grade science diorama?) and ends up with a parent micromanaging a teens grades and college application process. We've all been there. You can break free from the overparenting trap--check out these tips from a former Stanford Dean (and author of How to Raise an Adult). 

Even those of us who don't fall into the helicopter parent category can still learn a thing or two about fostering agency and resilience in our kids. Fr om academic and emotional readiness to daily "adulting" tasks, this fantastic piece from the NY Times highlights a number of skills that young adults will need to master for success in college and beyond.

Soft Skills for Future Success

Yes, that degree in macroeconomics may pay the bills, but to truly succeed in the workplaces of the future, experts are pointing to a number of required skills that have less to do with a specific knowledge set and a whole lot more to do with the so-called soft skills (working well with others, being flexible, etc.). Discover the 5 future skills you need for success, as determined by more than 350 HR professionals from the world's largest companies.