Tuesday, April 13, 2021

College Admission Essentials - Book Notes

 As Olivia is getting ready to apply to colleges she would like to attend, I am reading some books about the college admission process called College Admission Essentials by Ethan Sawyer. 

Although we have been through this process already with Sophia, there is always something new to learn. This book had some helpful tips; and I was glad that I read it. Below are some things that are relevant to us and I want to remember:

- Admission officers want to know what matters to you - your values.

- Do the Essence Objects Exercise. Imagine a box. In the box is a set of "essence objects" or things that remind you of important moments, relations, or values in your life. 

What's an object that reminds you of home?

- What object makes you feel safe?

- What's something that inspires you?

What's a food that reminds you of your family?

What's a book that changed your life?

What object represents a challenge you've faced?

What's a dream or goal you have for the future?

What's something about you that sometimes surprises people?

Who are you with and what are you doing when you feel most like yourself?

What makes your heart skip a beat?

What brings you joy?

What's hanging on your bedroom walls?

What are you proud of?

What's the last spontaneous thing you did?

What's your earliest memory?

What's an object that reminds you of something that still feels unresolved in your life?

What's an object that represents something you know now that you didn't know five years ago?

What action or gesture represents love to you?

What do you like to do that does not involve technology?

What will you save for your child someday?

What's the most memorable meal you've ever eaten or made?

Is there a book that you are always lending to people?

What do you like to collect?

What have you kept from a trip?

What reminds you of summer?

What's something that people associate with you?

What's your favorite smell? Your favorite thing to look at? Your favorite thing to touch?

- Do the Values Exercise. You'll select 10 values from a list and whittle that down to the most important values.

- Do the Core Memories Exercise. For each of your top five values, write down either a core memory, an image, or an essence object that you associate with each value. 

- Do the Enneagram test.

- Extracurricular activities that you may not have considered: running a small business, photography, bird watching, and online class certifications.

- Things to do during the summer:

-  Take an online course in something that fascinates you. Google "Free and low-cost online courses from top universities."

- Do one good deed a day for thirty days, then blog about it.  

- Shadow relatives or family friends at work.  

- Create your own internship.

- Do research with a local professor. 

- Do the 21 Details Exercise.

- Make a list of the extracurricular activities. Include work and family responsibilities. Refer to this part on the College Essay Guy's website about writing about activities and using a variety of verbs: How to Write a Successful Common App Activities List (collegeessayguy.com)

- List your awards in order of importance. Start with those that mean the most to you personally.

- Include additional details about activities that wouldn't fit in your activities list. See here for more information: How to Use the Common App Additional Information Section: Guide + Examples (collegeessayguy.com)

- In an essay, the focus could be why you're choosing a particular major.  

- Don't use common or obvious adjectives to describe yourself (e.g., adventurous, compassionate, passionate) or adjectives that repeat information that's already clear on your application (e.g., motivated, hardworking, determined).

- Get letters of recommendation from teachers and others who know you. Use this questionnaire to help them write their letters.

- If the college requires an interview, read this section of the College Essay Guy's website.

- All of the special effects people, set dressers, and costume designers in the movie credits are non-famous artists making a living by putting their talents to work.

- The arts are essential to a meaningful life. Sometimes it's obvious like a new musician and sometimes it is subtle like the lighting in a restaurant, a floral arrangement, or a building that makes you want to walk inside. The arts invite us to look at the world differently, to consider other perspectives, and to feel like someone else out there understands you.

- Will the college you are looking at support your creative development? If you like to pour bronze, does the school have a foundry? Ask about research resources - like slide libraries, music archives, and print collections.

- Create a great art portfolio:
- Give yourself time to prepare your portfolio. It can take several months to up to a year to create a portfolio.
- Create more artwork than what the application requires. If it requires 15 artworks, aim to create 30-40.
- Draw from life.
- Include a wide variety of subject matter in your work - figures, self-portraits, still lifes, landscapes, interior spaces, and architectural spaces, character design, abstraction, editorial illustration, typography, urban sketching, poster design, book covers, and more.
- Avoid cliches in your artwork. If you are given a prompt called "time" do not do an image of a watch, clock, or hourglass. Find an uncommon connection.
- Express your own point of view. Express an opinion, narrative, mood, or an emotion. 
- Present your artwork professionally.
- Create using a wide range of media. Drawing with pencil, crayons, conte crayons, markers, soft pastels, oil pastels. Include drawings, photography, paintings, sculptures, mixed media, collages, digial media, animation, printmaking, clay, installation, and more. 
- Use high-quality photographs of your artwork.
- Attend National Portfolio Day. Follow the Facebook page.

- More comprehensive information about pursuing an art major is here.

- Students with learning differences can ask for accommodations including:
- teacher's notes
- note takers
- preferential seating
- use of a calculator
- use of a computer
- breaks as needed

Testing accommodations might include:
- extended time on tests and exams
- test-taking locations with reduced distractions
- use of a calculator or computer
- testing across multiple days
- breaks as needed
- oral examinations
- spell-checker programs

- Develop a self-directed project based on what you care about.
- Connect with what you care about
- Connect your values to a problem that is either local, global, or both. Consider what causes suffering (for you personally, what suffering (by other people) do you react to the strongest, what makes you most afraid for the future, and what you would like to be different in the world.
- Write your vision statement - what your core values are and how you describe the world as you'd like it to be.
- Make your project happen.
- Write about your project in your college application. 

- When comparing financial aid packages, fill out the award letter analyzer.

- Three ways to decide what your heart wants:
- One day - imagine for the next 24 hours you're going to attend School A. Wear a sweatshirt from that school, say to yourself, "I'm going to School A." See how it feels. Repeat with the other schools.
- One hour - create a pro- and con- list. 
- One minute - flip a coin. Heads up you go to one school, tails you to to another. Catch the coin and hide the result. Ask yourself, "Which was I hoping would or wouldn't come up?" Then look at the coin and pay attention to how you feel. 

Websites to Explore

College Essay Guy 

Books to Read

The Brothers Karamazov

1 comment:

Rita said...

Oh, wow! This book covers so much I never thought about before I went to college--LOL! :)