Greetings High School & Middle School Students & Families
Congratulations to our Graduating Seniors  who are starting their freshman year on a college campus.
with College Consultant Bonnie Rabin, PhD
This blog series provides information about the Common Application Essays (plural!!) relevant for all students and important insights about the COVID-Prompt returning a third year to the application process. The choice of prompts for the Personal Statement/core essay remains (last year there was a new prompt added). I’ll be discussing all these moving parts in this newsletter.
If you’re a regular reader of my blogs and newsletters, you’ve been following my tips on academics and extracurricular activities during the pandemic, revised AP/SAT/ACT exams, summer cancellations and closed college campuses. All of this left many students and parents wondering about the impact during this uncertain time on your high school student’s educational goals and college applications. It’s daunting- confusing- uncertain–but you should know that college admissions officers are just like you- they understand what you’ve been through and prepared to take this all into account during the upcoming college application season. ***Most important- your goals haven’t changed– let’s keep that important perspective in mind!!
Seniors – should be ready to begin their college applications and should have questions about how all of these changes impact the process and chances of college acceptances.
This newsletter explores the five types of essays you’ll find on the 2022-23 common application.
– Core /Personal Statement
– College Specific Supplemental Essays (yes plural)
– Additional Information/Research Abstracts
– Optional COVID prompt (NEW prompt returns a third year!!)
and for some students:
  • School changes,
school interruption and
disciplinary action mini-prompts
There are many factors considered in evaluating your college application, including your college application essay(s). While students don’t need to be worrying about writing their college essay in 8th or even 10th grades, I encourage everyone to begin implementing a student-led path of exploration of both personal and academic pursuits throughout middle and high school. Finding
Experiences both within and outside the classroom are transformative and help to shape a young adult’s unique academic and personal identity. Experiences involve connections with family and members of “communities” that help our young adults become more introspective to learn how they will leverage their strengths and interests to find their place in the world.
These same experiences are also the basis for the essay(s) students will write at the end of their junior year providing readers of your college application with information that reveals who each student has become -and, in particular– the potential impact each young adult may have on a college campus and as a potential alum!
But most important, pre-college experiences build confidence, motivation and better prepare each student for a seamless transition to the undergraduate experience – academic and personal success throughout high school and beyond.
Does your student have an Educational & College Admissions Plan? Are you on target?
Two of the most important ways in which you’ll distinguish yourself on your college application from your equally qualified peers are your extracurricular activities (including honors and awards earned) and the content of your essay(s). Essays should reveal your strengths, passions and how you connect to others by sharing experiences in a heartfelt and authentic essay.
Recognize that for each college, there are more applicants than there are available spaces in the freshman class. A very large percentage of students have equivalent academic credentials including the appropriate/recommended high school G.P.A., completion of challenging and relevant honors, AP, IB and AICE classes, strong teacher recommendations and solid test scores.
With acceptance rates in the single digits in the most competitive undergraduate degree programs and your chances of acceptance at state flagship schools hovering at less than 50%, how do you make a difference and receive an acceptance letter?!
As a former University Professor and admissions committee member and current Cornell University Alumni interviewer, I have thirty years of experience reviewing undergraduate and graduate admissions applications. I know what it takes to get noticed! Let me guide you to making the most clear and effective presentation of your strengths and unique accomplishments to stand out!
Please consider attending my  WRITERS BLOCK COLLEGE ESSAY WORKSHOP  in June.  We are ONLINE for a third year with a detailed daily agenda packed with information, goals and one-on-one conferences in Zoom breakout rooms. For students throughout the US, work on your college essay brainstorming, polishing and editing is conducted remotely during numerous personal appointments. Please join our workshop remotely- on ZOOM call for more information- we start Monday June 6
The essay prompts are unchanged.
The new prompt in 2021-22 was one of my favorites – and it’s included again.
Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
The common app writes: “The new prompt is inspired by scientific research on gratitude and kindness, specifically the benefits of writing about the positive influence of other people in our lives.
This mindset resonates with Common App President & CEO Jenny Rickard. “Particularly at this challenging time, we can help students think about something positive and heartfelt in their lives,” she explains. “And we can do it explicitly.”
Here’s the full set of essay prompts for 2022-2023.
  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
Your college applications are submitted via portals– including the Common Application, Coalition Application or in the case of several public state universities- a college-specific admissions portal. For example, the University of California system has a selection of 4 out of 8 prompts to address which are sent to all colleges within the UC system noted on the one application. While hundreds of colleges will remain test optional, the UC system has eliminated the SAT/ACT as a criteria used to evaluate students.
Nearly all college applications require a college essay- a ‘core’ essay prompt allowing the reader of your application to get to know more about you – the person behind the transcript, test scores and resume. This one essay can be used across several college applications.
In addition to the core essay, several colleges require college specific essays or “Supplementals (SUPs)” with some variation of the prompt: “Why did you select your major and “Why Us”? “
You should expect that a more “competitively ranked” university will ask you to respond to more challenging essay prompts and that your response greatly impacts the likelihood of admissions success. This is an opportunity to showcase your strengths and demonstrate “informed interest”.
EARLY COLLEGE PLANNING IS ESSENTIAL to have experiences to ANSWER THESE College Specific Supplemental PROMPTS!
While the overwhelming majority of my clients work with me well before the start of their junior year of high school- I do meet new and very bright students with huge dreams as late as fall. Some students did not participate in meaningful and impactful experiences related to their major- leaving very little to elaborate about in an essay defining an academic interest.
Your experiences are unique and so too is your message. Readers of your application truly want to get to know you and hear your authentic voice. There’s no “right” answer-tell your story- the story you share is a clear reflection of your values, unique identity and how you connect with others within your “community”.
Your admissions essay allows you to distinguish yourself from other students–your competitors –and to introduce yourself. A well conceived essay highlights your unique strengths and experiences in a way that your transcript and test scores cannot fully illuminate.
I tell my clients to begin by thinking of experiences that may have brought humor, happiness or even sadness into their lives. The things you remember most are those that shape you – they make you laugh, cry, they are worth sharing because they tell a story that defines you and provides insights about where you want to go with an emphasis on what you hope to achieve during your collegiate experience. Please do not simply rattle off and list accomplishments nor reiterate the clubs you joined. DO define what you learned and how the people you met in these experiences helped you to define your identity, vision and approach to “life”.
Writing Your College Application Essay- College Admissions & College Application Help--
The core essay is time for introspection and reflection about experiences that have truly been defining moments. I’ve enjoyed helping students tell their story-some of my favorite essays have been revealing and intriguing tales of childhood memories of Halloween, learning to ski, fishing with grandparents, multi-generational family celebrations, rummy-cube tournaments, emigrating to the US, observing a bucket of KFC at a family funeral in India, cooking multi-cultural recipes, finding a personal voice through tutoring abroad, gardening that led to a hot-sauce venture and working in the customer service department of a local supermarket chain.
If you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not a great writer- don’t let that thought overwhelm you. Simply talk about yourself – to your close friends, a trusted family member (sibling, cousin, parent) or into the voice recorder on your cellphone- and you’ll have the start of your essay.
You don’t need clichés, quotations, or vocabulary that wouldn’t normally be used in conversation. You DO need details, examples and passionate authenticity. Be yourself! Don’t overthink it!
Inspiration might come from identifying a happy or sad memory, a treasured keepsake, a mistake you can’t forget, something you admire about a parent or teacher’s tenacity, moral compass or kindness. Think about the stories your own parents and grandparents share with you about their youth-imagine yourself twenty years in the future sharing your personal stories with a young adult- what would you likely share?
Have an awesome day!
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.
Educational and College Admissions Consultant
South Florida 561.509.0021    Click to View our Boca Raton Location
Boulder and Metro Denver Colorado 720.737.9944    Click to view Our Boulderand Metro Denver Locations
Nationwide  833.MY.ESSAY
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Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.

Guiding her clients to define and realize educational and career goals.
With over thirty years experience as a university professor and admissions committee member, you’re invited to leverage her extensive knowledge of university curricula and career opportunities.
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Pre-College Academic Advising!
Congrats!!!  A SAMPLE of our Recent College Acceptances Include:
Congrats!!! A SAMPLE of our recent College Acceptances Include:
UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, UPenn, Princeton, Cornell, U. Michigan, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Barnard, Columbia, Smith, Stanford, University of North Carolina, Vassar, Brown, Bowdoin, Wellesley, USC, Emory, U.Illinois, Notre Dame, NYU, Rice, University of Chicago, Washington University (WUSTL), Drexel, Tulane, London School of Economics, Purdue, Swarthmore, SCAD, Ohio, Georgetown, Hamilton, Reed, Miami, Johns Hopkins, University of Florida, University of Arizona, Penn State, Villanova, Northeastern, SUNY-ESF, St. Johns, Embry-Riddle, Colgate, Fordham, Columbia, Barnard, Syracuse, Swarthmore, Pittsburgh, Dickinson, Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Howard, Fordham, SUNY Stonybrook, Duke, Case Western, Rochester Institute of Technology, Parsons, Virginia Tech, Boston U., Hobart & William Smith, Claremont Mckenna, Davidson, Westpoint, Gettysburg, Amherst, Temple, Denison, Howard, UT Austin, SUNY-Binghamton, Hamilton, George Washington, American, Indiana, SMU, James Madison, and many more!…