When Applying to College, Write About "What Makes You Tick"

Friday, December 13, 2013


January 1 is a common deadline for college applications. Jacques Steinberg, senior vice president of national non-profit organization, and author of The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College (Penguin, 2003), offers advice for high school seniors, and their families, on getting the applications in on time and writing a superior essay, even with the deadline looming. His main tip for writing an essay is to really show "what makes you tick." And don't shy away from using the common app -- it's "the coin of the realm" for many schools and will give you a chance to show your stuff.


Jacques Steinberg
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Comments [4]

RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

@jgarbuz from Queens

"The purpose of "high school" should be to create workers and not college students."

Maybe...but there is no middle-class income for persons who only have a high school degree. If there is a trade for non-college grads - and there are plenty - we need to do a better job of determining those work paths earlier. General education makes you trainable for multiple careers (the new norm). VoTech training will get you your first position but you will much more expensive to re-train when that path disappears.

Dec. 13 2013 01:32 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The purpose of "high school" should be to create workers and not college students. We only set up 2/3rds of students for failure by making them believe that "college is for everybody." Yes, everyone should seek to learn more about whatever, but we continue to mislead the masses by making college the end-all and be-all goal for everybody. This sets up most people for a feeling of failure in life if they don't get some kind of sheepskin.

Dec. 13 2013 11:43 AM
Bob from Westchester, NY

The one-way early decision commitment by the student seems unfair (especially since the student has to commit months before knowing what financial aid will be given), but the colleges enforce it by getting together and blackballing a student that changes his/her mind. How is this enforcement fair or legitimate, and how do they get around the antitrust laws?

Dec. 13 2013 11:36 AM
Susan from The Hudson Valley

If you have time, could you ask Mr. Steinberg how merit scholarships are applied. We assumed scholarship money would be applied to the family contribution. It seems that that is not the case and most schools apply scholarship awards to the funds used to fill the gap between the family contribution and the actual tuition.
Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it would be nice if a $50,000 scholarship was actually worth $50,000. Right now we have a lovely award letter to show our friends and family and the same financial worries we've had all along.
Happy Holidays!

Dec. 13 2013 11:08 AM

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