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June 7, 2021

2 Minutes Read

Hi friends,

Greetings from Princeton!

The Savvy Applicant newsletter is where we share important news and actionable guidance on the selective college admissions process. If you have a question you'd like answered, send it our way.  

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New and Noteworthy @PCC


🚀College Admissions Launchpad (class of 2023, 2024, 2025 + parents)

Hosted by Peter and myself, this intensive virtual workshop addresses every element of the college preparation and application process. It will enable you to start making academic, extracurricular, and many other decisions with confidence. 

Date: Sunday, June 13 at 10 AM ET (next session July 10)

To learn more: Click Here


🗃️A Peek Into The Black Box of Holistic Admissions 

We recently recorded a version of this popular presentation. As soon as it's ready, we're going to release the video on YouTube. Unlike the time spent searching for a show on Netflix, we're confident this is 30 minutes you won't want back. 

Date: Coming Soon


✍️Write Your Way Into College (class of 2022)

We've recently updated our signature college essay writing program. Watch for the official announcement of the July cohort dates and course details. 




The Hook


✍️Even though it is technically an admission officer’s job to read your application essay, you don’t want to take them for granted. Because they read hundreds (sometimes thousands) of personal statements, you want to hook them from the start.

One attention grabbing technique is to start in media res, which is just a fancy Latin term that means in the middle of the action. So beginning your essay in media res simply means to start in the middle of a scene without telling all the backstory or what happened prior to it.

The backstory or context can either be easily assumed or if it is necessary to understand the essay, it can be filled in later through flashback or description of the past events.

Here's an example:
Managing to break free from my mother’s grasp, I charged. With arms flailing and chubby legs fluttering beneath me, I was the ferocious two­ year old rampaging through Costco on a Saturday morning.

Better than reading about the drive over and walking from the parking lot inside, right? Check out the full essay and our breakdown.



A few more things...


  •  😀Productive and Happy App: You may be done studying for your final AP exams, but we hope everyone has a productive and happy summer. If you haven't already used Flipd, a productivity time tracking app, we recommend checking it out. It will help you manage and balance your time well. Try it with a group of friends. Community and accountability is what it's all about. 
  • ⛳The Un(conventional) Summer Plan: Hopefully most of you have your summer plans in place, but if not, there may still be opportunities for summer jobs. I'm talking less about an "internship" at your aunt's firm and more along the lines of working in a restaurant, or shop. Maybe as a lifeguard or caddie. While this may seem pedestrian to some, savvy students know how much college admission officers value this type of experience. 
  • 👏Mental Health First: This past week, the tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from a major tournament to tend to her mental health. It was extremely brave to stand up for herself in the face of so many people pressuring her not to. Our friends at Grown and Flown wrote an excellent piece on what teens can learn from Naomi



Are Essays the New SATs? While standardized testing has long been criticized for benefiting wealthier students, a new study has offered similar criticism of college essays. While the researchers' analysis of topics, word choice and syntax is interesting, most experts (me included) found it a little misleading.

The bottom line is that, no matter who you are, your college essays are the best opportunity to tell admission committees about yourself. By telling your story—connecting the dots between your experiences, values, and goals— you reveal what's important to you and how you think. 

Far from just another hurdle, Timothy Brunold, dean of admission at USC, has advised students that "this year of all years, they should pay particular attention to the writing that they submit to colleges." We couldn't agree more.