It is common for students to take the summer off. You have spent 9 -10 months in intense study, writing epic papers, engaged in higher order thinking and solving the most complicated problems the world has to offer. So yes you deserve a break and should be allowed to enjoy summer but what about spending part of your summer investing in your future. What if 2.5 days of personal investment could catapult you ahead of most rising seniors in the nation. Day two of the Summer Intensive was spent doing just that.
Students began the morning engaged in Case Studies. In these case studies they played the role of College Admissions Counselor. They had to determine if a student should be admitted, denied or wait listed for The University of _______________. These rising seniors played their role well, analyzing every detail from SAT scores, GPA, personal experiences and extracurricular activities. The benefit of such an exercise, students can a greater understanding of the admissions process. Many assumed that GPA and grades were the primary deciding factor. They were pleased to learn that life experiences can play a role in an admittance and sharing their personal stories during the essay portion can sway the reader’s view.
Learning the value of a well crafted essay was eye opening to many of the Summer Intensive program participates. So these rising seniors were thrilled to learn they would be able to practice their initial essay. Gathered in a small group with only their mentor (representatives from College/University admission offices) students wrote at a fevered pace. From an outside observer you may have thought it was the official SAT or an English final exam. It was a group of students giving up a portion of their summer to gain insights into the college process. Learning how to tell your story is a crucial part of life not just college admission. Sharing your life in a way that does not come across as braggadocious or makes you seem mediocre can be tough. Through quality feedback from their mentors students came away from workshop with a developing first draft.
What happens when your GPA, SAT scores and personal experiences are not enough. What do you when you crafted your words the best way you know how but it does not get your point across. Maybe it is time to show demonstrations of interest. Making a phone call to the university admissions office. Taking the time to go on an additional college visit. Maybe when you know the representative of that school is in town setting up an interview. As a part of day two students participated in Mock Interviews. The mock interviews lasted ten minutes and then students received immediate feedback. Hearing pointers around making eye contact but not staring, telling stories with vivid details yet knowing what not to say, and how to be an active listener without seeming insincere. These soft skills seem like common sense but as student learning these skills may be the difference between, “hey we need you at our school” or “we wish you the best during your search.”
The second day involved a lot of think work and personal reflection. Students analyzed case studies, thoughtfully developed essays and experienced mock interviews. They learned more about the Common App and how to use it as a tool to navigate the process thanks to Aba Blankson, Director of Communications . Johnathan Hill with ZeeMee demonstrated ways to make their profile come to life and standout amongst other applicants. So day two saw students exhausted mentally but ready to have fun. The day closed out with a talent show and then time to relax in preparation for the final day.