Danielle D.

Recent Posts

College Admissions: How to Select and Contact your Recommenders

Posted by Danielle D. on 8/18/17 6:32 PM

In the olden days of college applications, high school seniors would haul stacks of addressed, stamped envelopes to each of their recommenders, so that those recommenders could send a different hard-copy recommendation letter to every school the student was applying to. So much work! In some ways, submitting recommendation letters for college applications has grown easier: now, you can use the Common Application to invite your recommenders to submit their letters electronically. Once you’ve added schools to the “My Colleges” section of the app, each school will have a “Recommenders and FERPA” section that lets you click a button to invite your counselors and teachers to submit recommendations on your behalf. Each of your recommenders will be emailed instructions to access their own Common Application accounts, no stamped envelopes needed.

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Tags: college admissions

Where Else Could you Go to College? Your Top Four Choices Beyond the Ivies

Posted by Danielle D. on 7/17/17 4:36 PM

When high school juniors and seniors are putting their lists of schools together for college applications, they sometimes run into a paradox: on the one hand, there are so many colleges and universities they could apply to. On the other hand, everyone seems to be talking about just eight of them—the Ivy League (or maybe a few more if they’re counting the Ivy Plus).This mindset can feel so limiting! It’s probably not a good idea to base a school list on a set of colleges that are actually only grouped together because they were made an NCAA athletic conference in the 1950s, but it can also be overwhelming to try to sort through a massive guidebook to all the US colleges. Instead, this post will highlight some other types of colleges and universities that are very worth considering—if one or two jump out as appealing to you, I’ve included tips for how you can search for more schools of this type.

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Tags: college admissions, college

How to Address Weak Areas of your College Application

Posted by Danielle D. on 6/5/17 6:44 PM

Although it may feel like you have to have the perfect application to get into college, with acceptance rates at one top-tier school dropping below five percent, there is no perfect formula for being accepted to college. Your goal instead should be to present any “problem areas”—a dip in your GPA, lower test scores than you wanted, or other high school hiccups—in the best possible light. Sometimes, this means putting your problem front and center by writing about it in your Common Application essay as an example of your ability to learn from challenges, while in other situations you might ask your counselor or recommenders to address the issue in their letters. Rather than hiding your problems and hoping for the best, you should have a proactive plan for demonstrating that you can hold yourself accountable for mistakes and learn from them in the future.

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Tags: college admissions

4 Key Tricks for Brainstorming Your College List

Posted by Danielle D. on 5/10/17 6:01 PM

If you’re a rising high school senior looking toward college application season, one of your most important first steps is putting together a list of colleges you want to apply to. This list will help you plan college visits and make a schedule of application deadlines; it’s also an important time to check in about which schools’ admissions criteria match your test scores, grades, and activities. However, with more than 3,000 four-year colleges and universities in the United States alone, the college search can be a little overwhelming, and it can be difficult to think beyond big-name schools or the colleges where all your high school classmates go. Here are four creative tricks for brainstorming outside the box when it comes to making your college list.

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Tags: college admissions

The Best Ways to Prepare for an Essay Exam

Posted by Danielle D. on 5/20/16 9:00 AM

College students are often intimidated by essay exams, a common final exam format for courses in the humanities and social sciences. Because the exam itself provides so little structure for your answers, it can feel impossible to get all of your thoughts on paper in an organized way without running out of time. As someone who has graded a lot of college students’ exams, I’ve realized that students most often lose points because they don’t realize that an exam essay is a specific genre of writing that you can practice in advance, even if you don’t know the exact questions you’ll be answering. By developing a strategy for success in writing exam essays, you’ll be able to make sure that the material you worked hard all semester to learn shows up in your answers on the day of the test.

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Tags: study skills, English, expository writing