Archive for July, 2012

Perfect SAT Scores Can Be a Detriment

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Students are surprised when I say that a perfect 1600 SAT can sometimes be viewed as ho-hum boring. A score between 1450 and 1550 is a good target for the Ancient 8 and their ilk. They show strong reasoning skills but not nerd-like characteristics. Yes, I know, that could be an incorrect assumption, but the most competitive colleges are looking for students that have something to offer a class other than an ability to ace standardized tests. Strong SAT and ACT scores are expected from every applicant. “What else ya’ got?”

Here are the top 10 things admission committees want to see in an applicant. Number five on that list is “Well Written Essays” also called ‘Personal Statements’. Of course, a strong GPA, challenging courses, one or two extracurricular activities in which you have demonstrated serious interest and/or leadership, honors and teacher recommendation letters are very important factors. But only the latter and the essays say (or should say) something about the student’s personality.

The college essay is the only time the admissions folks gets to ‘hear’ from the student directly…in his or her own voice. For most of us, writing is a chore and one of those things that we put off. Particularly in this day and age of twitter, text messaging, 30 second sound bites and other mindless distractions. We look on the task of sitting down and thoughtfully putting ideas on paper as agony and time that could be spent on more important things like Facebook.

I know, because I have been there. It is like a giant ‘Black Hole’ from which there is no escape. But I am also here to tell you that once you gather the strength, clear your head and quiet your mind…you will be very pleased with yourself once the job is done.

So, if you are faced with that task and have not yet started, yesterday would be a good time to start. Follow the tips at the links above and set aside the same time each day to write. Remember, even the most famous authors had to write and rewrite several times before they were finished. Even after they thought their job was done, they needed an editor to read the draft and make suggestions and correct grammatical errors.

In other words, you will need time to do it right. Call us if you want to ‘brainstorm’ some topic ideas or other help. We still have time to help before a black hole sucks us back in.