Good luck to all my students applying for UC schools this week!
November 30 deadline for UC schools
Updates on the Common Core
A new article in the NY Times discusses updates in implementation of the Common Core, a federal program that pushing student evaluation away from multiple choice toward writing and extended answers. States that are moving ahead include Tennessee and District of Columbia. Both states are introducing tougher teaching standards. To see the full article, click on the link below.
College interview tips
Firstly, you should click here to view the six-minute video where two current Harvard undergraduates, Michael Gribben and Indiana Seresin, talk about their experience of being interviewed. (Their advice has been summarised below by Sheila Averbuch.) Here are links to two further articles by Harvard interviewers. Vicky Leung talks about how to put your best foot forward before, during and after the interview; and veteran interviewer Frank Shields lists the sort of questions he has asked during his 40 years of interviewing.
Harvard students' top tips for admissions interviews
1. Treat the interview as a conversation. Your interviewer knows you're nervous and will look to engage you in conversation about whatever puts you at ease – your travels, your extracurricular activity, your favourite subject or teacher, your passion for attending Harvard. Ask your interviewer questions, too, since this makes it more likely that you will both enjoy a free-flowing conversation. The setting should help: unlike admissions interviews for British universities, Harvard interviews are often conducted in an informal setting, such as a coffee shop.
2. Resolve beforehand that you will mention all of your most outstanding achievements. It's important for you to put modesty to one side - there are thousands of other applicants competing for admissions places, so you really do need to mention your most notable accomplishments. Your interviewer expects this and won't think you are bragging. You don't want to come away from the interview and suddenly realize you forgot to mention something vital.
3. Academic revision isn't necessary. A strong academic record is something you will have in common with all the other applicants, so your interviewer will mostly want to hear about your life and interests outside of school. The non-academic part of your life is valuable in helping the admissions office understand more about you as a person.
4. What challenges have you overcome? If there are any significant obstacles you'd like to mention, do tell your interviewer.
5. Let your enthusiasm shine through. Your interviewer will be interested to know why you're keen to attend Harvard and to pursue a liberal arts undergraduate education in the United States. Speak from the heart.
An admissions interview is never going to be a wholly relaxing experience, but do try to enjoy the experience of chatting with someone who is very much looking forward to meeting you. Most Harvard interviewers find it extremely enjoyable to meet applicants. The ideas, insights and above all the tremendous promise that applicants exude is quite stimulating for interviewers, who have already had their Harvard adventure and wish you the very best in your endeavor to become a fellow Crimson scholar.
Courtesy of Jasmine Zhang (Harvard '06)
The importance of the college essay
This article on the college essay talks about the importance of the college essay in admissions. It appears that the more selective the school is (i.e. Ivy League), the more weight it places on the personal statement.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.