adMISSION POSSIBLE THE BOOK: Everything you need to know about about finding, applying and getting into the BEST college for you
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ANSWER: Here are some things you can say and do to make a college admissions interview go your way:

• Be specific in your answers, giving details and explaining the why of your answer

• Relate the interviewer's questions back to your own activities and interests

• Whenever there is an opportunity, talk about what you're interested in and about what you feel passionate.

• Be positive

• Bring four or five reasons why you are interested in the college

• Have four or five questions ready to ask the interviewer about the college

To help you relax, treat an admissions interview just like any other conversation with an adult. Smile; act friendly; be chatty and polite. It's very difficult to have an unsuccessful admissions interview, especially when you dare to be yourself.


ANSWER: An activities resume is a 1-4 page written summary of your academic, extracurricular, sports and other involvements, that focuses on your high school years, but also ties in long term interests and activities that may go back to when you were a young child.

A resume is the cornerstone of a student's application. After grades and test scores, colleges are very interested in what students do when they are not in class. Developing a resume is an opportunity to get organized, visually seeing what you have done and developing ideas about what to focus your application essays on. Many students declare that they got into colleges because of their resumes.

You can give your resume to:

• Your high school counselor
• Teachers
• Admissions people with whom you have an interview.
• An accompaniment to your college applications (except for the public universities such as the UCs and an occasional university such as Stanford who ask you not to include a resume or other extra material)


ANSWER: There is no question that getting test tutoring is the best way to prepare for the admissions tests, if not acing them. In spite of some people insisting that test prep is not necessary, preparing for the SAT or ACT can raise your scores from 50 to 200 points. BUT whether that happens depends on the test prep itself and how much time and effort you put into it. Effective preparation usually takes 2-3 months.

Think about test tutoring in this way. If you were an athlete and had never played a sport before, would you want to get coached and practice before you actually played? Of course! The same is true for taking standardized tests. The best preparation helps you get the most out of the testing experience.

ANSWER: There are endless numbers of colleges that are as good as the Ivy Leagues. Remember, a college's high ranking or reputation does not mean that it is the best college for you. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you should attend the most prestigious school you can get into. There are many, many distinctive, high quality colleges and universities that are not as prestigious as the Ivy Leagues to which high school students apply, get accepted and end up loving. You should also know that many relatively unknown, small, liberal arts colleges such as Hampshire College, Whitman College and Kalamazoo College are among the Top 50 Colleges identified by the National Science Foundation that produce the most students who go onto to receive doctorates or M.D.s
ANSWER: While each phase of the college admissions process is important, nothing is more important than how you complete the applications. This is when you finally make your admissions case. When all is said and done, the best case is letting colleges know exactly who you are as a student and person in as articulate and complete way as you can. Doing this will make you stand out from other applicants. Here are a few other things to remember:

• Neatness, accuracy and the lack of mistakes is critical

• Be sure to follow the application directions, including answering each and every aspect of the questions they ask and keeping to the character/word count

• Describe and explain everything

• Always have someone edit your answers and your essays

• Make sure that you make a copy of your application before you submit it


ANSWER: If you are like a lot of people, writing a coherent, convincing essay is perceived as a daunting task. But it needn't be if you think of your essay as a way of showing admissions readers a special written "home movie," starring you in an interesting story.

If you take just a little time, chances are you can think of many stories about you that have been told around the family dinner table, to friends, written in a journal or even turned in for a writing assignment at school.

Humorous anecdotes are family favorites and often contain kernels of truth about you as a person or lessons you have learned that can be shared in an essay. Did a funny encounter with a stranger in line at the concert become a lasting, close friendship that led to a fantastic summer job? Did klutziness in one sport move you to another one in which you excelled beyond your wildest dreams? Some really fine essays describe dramatic situations, but just as many capture important insights that come from small, everyday occurrences.

Good essays are not a laundry list of awards or prizes or a travelogue of what you did and saw on a trip. Often the more impressive story is the one in which you demonstrate an "a-ha" moment—something happened that caused your life to turn around, rethink long-held assumptions or undertake a task that you had never done before.

If your college essays are coming up, the best way to get started is to gather stories in a good brainstorming session with your family and/or friends. Once you have a bunch of ideas, select the best and write them down as possibilities.

• Next, go over them one by one to see which have messages you want admissions officers to "get" about you. Select one and begin jotting down further ideas, relevant quotes or dialogue, interesting facts and observations.

• Once you have a page or two of thoughts and ideas, organize them into an outline or jump into writing a first draft. Once you have a draft, then take a break and let it sit for a day or two. You need a little distance to be able to evaluate what you have done.

• Go back and edit the draft and give it to someone you trust to do another edit for you.

• The last stage is evaluating those edits to see if they make sense to you. Take some, leave others and then come up with your final essay. See! It's not as hard as you think.

So the next time you sit down to answer an essay question, instead of popping into a sweat and squeezing out words, start the process by brainstorming personal stories. Remember, the more memorable the story is, the more memorable you will be when it comes time for admissions people to make your admission decision.

You can find many other answers to your questions in adMISSION POSSIBLE® and also on




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