Would you drive a car without reading the instruction manual if you had no experience behind the wheel? If you never baked a seven-layer chocolate-tunnel fudge cake would you try without reading a recipe? If you never played football before would you join a game without learning the rules? As an experienced writing instructor and college coach, I’m always amazed by the numbers of students who decide to apply to college without the benefit of any guidance. I see two groups of students when it comes to deciding whether or not using a college coach is a valuable investment. The first group assumes it will be pretty easy to fill in the forms so the cost of time and money spent on a college coach feels wasted. The second group assumes that college coaches are just for the high achievers who have been grooming their resumes since the third grade. I can assure you that applying to college is so much more than checking off the boxes! Anyone will navigate the complicated admissions process more successfully with a better understanding of how it works.
Most people believe that the application process is simple but it takes a combination of time, organization, and motivation. There are many moving pieces that a college coach can help identify for students.
In the Your College Coach class I will help you figure out how to put the pieces together. For example, the application process can be divided into the application itself (personal information, essays, extracurricular activities,) the supplemental materials (test scores, letter of recommendation, interviews, academic resume) and financial aid. It seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Then think about this for a moment: Within each of these components there are additional details to understand and accurately complete. For example, on the Common Application, did you know that you can list ten activities; these may include in-school, work, summer, or volunteer activities? Did you also know that there is a character and word count for just about everything you will write? Here are a few tips we will cover in class: be as specific as possible e.g. a violinist versus first chair or soloist; don’t confuse honors with activities; use action words; and make sure everything you include provides additional information about your accomplishments.
Too often I see students choose a school based on where their friends attend, or they believe they can’t aim higher, or they just run out of time and rush through the process with a sloppy result. Even students who have spent time developing their plan can learn something new.
Applying to college is an exciting time in your life, filled with new experiences and self-discovery. Let Your College Coach take the stress out of success.
Tina-Marie Baskin has over 20 years of experience helping students find their unique voice. She has a B.A. in English, and Honors in Humanities from Stanford University, and a J.D. from UCLA Law School. Tina-Marie is a private academic tutor and college coach, Saturday Academy Instructor, Oregon Episcopal School Summer Instructor, and Portland Public Schools AVID Tutor. She also runs Portland workshops for parents on financial aid and the college process.