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May 25, 2021

2 Minutes Read

Hi friends,

Greetings from Princeton!

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

If this was forwarded to you and you'd like to join our community, you can sign-up here.  


Upcoming Events


🚀College Admissions Launchpad (9th and 10th graders + 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 associated with preparing for the college admissions process with confidence. 

Date: Sunday, June 13 at 10 AM ET.

Want more details? Grab a time to chat with Peter



✍️The Epic Essay


Last week we had the chance to present a second college essay seminar to UPchieve scholars. I love sharing storytelling magic and see where the students take it!

The secret, however, is that what seems like magic is actually technique. We focused on how to take their initial story ideas and turn them into a compelling narrative.  

While a personal statement is a piece of creative writing, having a strong outline ensures a narrative structure that acts as a beacon to follow throughout the drafting and editing process. There's not necessarily a correct structure, but there are a couple classics that both allow for flexibility and promote cohesiveness.

The epic structure is one of the most enduring in history. It has been used in everything from Homer's Odyssey to films like Star Wars and The Matrix. Commonly referred to as "The Hero's Journey", it's a great way to organize your personal statement.

If you have a primary character strength you want to highlight through one continuous narrative, this is the way to go. You can and should weave in additional character strengths along the way, but the defining characteristic of the Hero's Journey is that the events are linked by causality.

Learn the 5 key stages of the Hero's Journey



A few more things...

  •  😌Relaxed Superstars: May is officially mental health awareness month, but mental health—health—deserves attention always. Many teens are struggling and according to recent research, the driver, more than the pandemic, is pressure to excel. While a desire to challenge oneself is usually positive, a healthy (and most attractive to colleges) way is living what Cal Newport describes as a "relaxed superstar lifestyle." 
  • 🔬Mind the Gap: The term "gap year" is misnomer and straight up horrible branding. Many savvy families now think of them as "purpose years" that are catapulting students toward future success in college and beyond. They're not for everyone, but everyone should be aware. The Daily Princetonian took note of a few students who did some rather amazing things.
  • 😎UC Test Free : The University of California system has agreed to extend its court-mandated policy of test-free admissions through 2025. Even if students submit SAT or ACT scores, they will not be provided to admissions readers. We wish other colleges would be this transparent.    


And what about parents? Students are not the only ones that experience the stress of the high school years in "normal" times, let alone a pandemic. It's important to recognize this and think about what each individual member of the family is going through and needs. This article may help.

While we can't help with everything, we created the College Admissions Launchpad to give families peace of mind that they had the best information about the college admissions process. It's all about maximizing potential, minimizing stress, and learning how to develop a personal brand that stands out.  

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