Tag Archives: college process

College Application Tips from a College Counselor

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by Beth Ann Burkmar, Director of College Counseling, George School

As a College Counselor, students often tell me they feel overwhelmed by the college application process. While it can feel overwhelming, there are some ways students can help themselves make sure the process goes smoothly. Here are my best tips for applying to college!

Managing stress: Schedule your downtime. The fall of senior year is filled with “To Dos”, both in and out of class. Work backwards from your first deadline—schedule when you will work on your applications, when you will do your schoolwork, and fit in some downtime. You control how you spend your time, don’t let time control you!

Common Application Essay. Colleges want to know something about you that they cannot see in another part of your application. Who are you? Will you be a good friend or roommate? Essays do not have to be a grand story or experience. Admission officers will tell you that some of the most effective essays are about simple things. Make it your own and highlight an aspect of yourself that is meaningful to you.

Supplemental essays. Answer the question being asked! Often students want to cut corners, cutting and pasting one essay to answer the question of another. Beware of this tactic.  A popular question is, “why do you want to go to XX University?” They want to know that you did your homework beyond the landing page on their website. Dig into the school’s website and find things at that university that connect to your interests, both in and out of class. Be specific.

The interview. This is probably the most nerve-wracking part for most students, and yet it shouldn’t be! No one knows you and your interests more than you do. You should look at the interview as more of a conversation. Sometimes, the interviewer is someone from the admission department, but often it’s an alumnus of the university. Colleges want to get a perspective of someone who does not know you as your teachers, and counselors do. Get your interviewer talking about their experience with the school, it will make the conversation feel more relaxed.

Submit your best work. What happens after that, isn’t up to you! Know that you have submitted your best work and applied to a balanced list of schools. Be true to yourself and make sure you’re applying to a school that is a good fit for you. The REAL you!

Beth Ann has served as the Director of College Counseling at George School, in Newtown, Pennsylvania, since 2016. She previously served as the Associate Director of College Counseling at the Hun School of Princeton and worked at Drexel University in college admissions, and the University of Pennsylvania in international admissions. Beth Ann has reviewed thousands of applications for admission to these institutions and is an active member of NACAC and the International ACAC. Beth Ann and the College Counseling team visit universities throughout the US and abroad to provide firsthand experience to students as they discern their college process.

Learn more about college counseling at George School.

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College Application Stress

by Patrick Mahoney ’18

The beginning of senior year is always a stressful time. There are countless things to keep up with, nagging parents, everybody who asks where you are going to school, and all the deadlines that seem to be far away, but creep up in no time.

I wanted to apply to become a chemical engineer and although that might be a lofty goal, it is something that interests me. The College Counseling office, specifically Tova who was my college counselor, helped me figure out where I wanted to apply, shared a good schedule to follow for when what things should be done, and answered any questions I had about the college process.

Now most of my applications are turned in, but my college application anxiety has not faded. I will always be worrying about what schools I will get into and if I will be accepted into my top choice. Tova is always there to help me out, however, she helps me stay calm and manage my level of stress. Even though I know she has many students asking her questions and wanting her to look over things, she always has time to either meet with me or to revise any writing that I send her way.

George School is not only great for how they handle the application process, but that type of care pervades the entire school. It shows up in admissions, the course selection process, and your every school day as a whole. George School is a great place. You always know you have the support of the whole community for any problems that you might have.

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Why College Means a Lot to me

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Here is Bea in her Oxford University t-shirt.

by Bea Feichtenbiner ’19

College has a different connotation in every household. In some, it is a necessity. In others, it is uncommon. In my house, it is expected, but I knew I could make whatever choice I needed. But, I have always wanted to go to college.

Not only do I want to go to college, I want to go to a highly selective school. When I was around twelve, I got my heart set on Oxford University in Oxford, England. The school is globally ranked in many subjects and the more I read, the more I liked. I ended up at George School to get the IB diploma to increase my chances of getting in. Now, in my sophomore year, I think I want to stay domestic for my undergraduate degree and go to Oxford for my graduate degree. I am considering schools like Stanford, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins. I am working with a private college counselor to help improve my application.

College has come to mean a lot to me. I know I have the freedom to take whatever path I wish, but I want to learn. I want to do research and study. More than anything, college offers me a place to do that. I want to go to schools with globally recognizable programs. I want to be overqualified for any position I could possibly want. College is not my end goal, but rather the beginning of a hopefully successful future.

Schools like the ones I am looking at are considered lottery schools. Going into my junior year, my grades and courses are increasingly important. For me, this is just another lap in the race. For some, it is the start. It is time to go on college tours and talk to admissions officers. People are starting and joining clubs to boost their application. I am looking for job and research experience, but also leadership positions. And of course, I am trying to balance a social life as well.

The college process is by no means easy, but for some, it is the way to go. For me, I know college is the next step. For others, it might not be. Regardless of what people want to study, what kind of degree they want to get, or if they want to go to college at all, junior year is going to be a difficult and stressful time.

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Filed under Life After George School, Student Work, Students, The Curious George