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Posts by guidedpa

Which college essay type are you?


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Struggling with those dreaded college essays?  Don’t know where to start? “The College Essay Guy”, Ethan Sawyer, breaks down the process of getting to a first draft of your college personal statement in 3 hours!  

In his free guide, “The Essay Workshop in a Box” – Ethan teaches you how to write a great college essay using two options from screenwriting/filmmaking – the Narrative Structure or the Montage Structure.  


In one of the exercises Ethan uses, you start by answering the following questions:

  1. Have you faced significant challenges? (You define “significant.”)
  2. Do you know what you want to study?

Having answered the questions above, you could classify yourself into one of four essay types:

Check out the rest of the Essay Workshop in a Box by the College Essay Guy – maybe you’ll finish that personal statement this afternoon! 

Take Action 

You can view the essay prompts for all the schools on your list in GuidedPath. Which of your college choices has the most questions? Which one has the least?  Do any of your colleges not require essays? Use GuidedPath to keep all your essay requirements in one place. 


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Who’s watching your social media posts?

Alan Katzman, founder and CEO of Social Assurity, recently shared information with GuidedPath counselors about how students can create a winning social media presence. We’re giving you his top four reasons why you should be aware of how social media can impact your college planning. 

Reason #1: Admission Officers Are Looking at Your Social Media
Thanks to Kaplan Test Prep and its annual survey of college admissions officers, we know that at least 35% of admission officers in the United States looked at applicant social media during the 2016 admissions process. We also know that admissions officers are more likely to look when considering scholarships and when invited to do so by applicants. 

Reason #2: Since They’re Looking, Why Not Give Them Something to See?
College admissions officers have neither the time nor the interest to search social media simply to find reasons to reject qualified applicants. If and when colleges look, logic dictates they are looking to learn more about the applicant, opening the door of opportunity for the prepared applicant to make a strong impression and set themselves apart from other qualified applicants. 

Reason #3: The Best Offense is a Good Defense
Almost all colleges now have a prominent social media presence and encourage applicants to interact with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.  By optimizing social media to showcase their activities, interests, accomplishments, and service, applicants can freely and safely interact with colleges and may very well impress the right people as a result. 

Reason #4: Managing Social Media is an Essential Life Skill
Social media is here to stay and will continue to influence character and credibility assessments made by colleges, scholarship committees, and employers. Today, a thoughtful, transparent, and reflective digital presence across social media networks can help students achieve their academic and professional goals and aspirations.  


Take action
Review your social media accounts.  What would you like colleges or others to see about you? Want to do more?  Social Assurity offers online classes to get your social media presence right. 

Alan Katzman is the founder and CEO of Social Assurity. Alan is a pioneer in developing and advancing techniques to teach students how to use social media to build a compelling and reflective digital presence as a game-changing tool for creating academic and career success at all educational levels.  Alan is a sought-after speaker for high school and college students, parents, and educational professionals while frequently participating in education-related events nationwide.  Alan and his work have been featured in The New York Times, CNN, ABC News, NPR, USA Today, Forbes, Business Insider, and Social Media Today. 

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Looks aren’t everything, believe me, I’m a model.


Cameron Russell is a model. She seemingly has it all- she’s tall, beautiful, and a model.  In this fearless TED talk, Cameron looks at the glamour connected to the modeling industry, and the difference between beauty on the outside and the inside. Other issues about gender and racial identity are discussed openly and frankly. 

Take Action
Take the Getting 2 Know U survey.  What would others say are the things important to you? 

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What are the top 5 Myths about Paying for College?

myth debunked

Here are the top 5 myths about paying for college our counselors hear.  Don’t fall victim to these myths! 

1. My family maketoo much money to qualify for financial aid.
This is one of the biggest myths out there. You may not qualify for aid at one school, and qualify for lots of money at another school (see blog How Do You Get Money for College?)

2. It costs more to go out-of-state than to stay in-state. 
Not so. With increased tuition rates in many states, it is not always cheaper to stay in-state.  There are out of state tuition waivers available for many students. Also, colleges offer scholarships to students for athletes, scholars, certain majors, leadership, and other categories. Don’t narrow your list of colleges to just in-state schools.

3. It cost more to go to a private school than a public school.
Not necessarily.  Each family situation is unique and you may find it will cost less for your family if you attend a private school.  See blog: Can you Pay Less to Go To A More Expensive College? for Jack’s story of paying less at Dartmouth than CSU Los Angeles.

4. Outside scholarships help reduce what you pay out of pocket for college.
Not true. Scholarships don’t necessarily reduce your family’s out of pocket expense unless you pay the full cost of college out of pocket. Scholarships are part of your financial aid package. Colleges may subtract outside scholarships from their own merit awards, or from your student loan/work study allocation.  Ask colleges for their policies. This is why it is in your best interest to explore your choices for college.  Find one that best fits your situation and needs.  

5. Financial aid only helps with tuition.
Financial aid is available to pay for ALL college expenses: tuition, room and board, books, transportation, and personal expenses. Colleges realize you need to buy toothpaste and have a pizza now and then. Financial aid can apply to all of these costs. 


Take Action
GuidedPath offers lots of resources to help you plan for college costs. 

  • Take the EFC Calculator survey to determine your EFC and generate a strategy for reducing college costs. 
  • Read how the College Information Financial Aid Graphs provide insight into the financial aid packages offered to students. 
  • Utilize the Financial Aid Form Report in GuidedPath – it summarizes all the financial aid requirements for each of the schools on your list.   
  • Take a look at these financial aid documents prepared for GuidedPath Families including “Tackling the Basics of Financial Aid” and “How to Compare Financial Aid Offers.” 

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Looking for an exciting summer?

What are your plans for summer?  Now is the time to find programs for next summer to participate in. Do it this month!  Many programs fill up early.  Many have deadlines as early as February. 


What types of summer programs are there? 


Want to take an AP government class or a Biology AP class in the summer?  Or be on a college campus?  Or are you an international student needing to brush up on English. Several options exist for you.  

Take advantage of opportunities to do research in an area of interest.  Local colleges may have programs for high school students to assist with faculty research, or take the time to investigate your own interests.   

Hone your sport skills by participating in a camp or program on a college campus. Check with your coach for summer opportunities. 

Test Prep
Ready to take the SAT or ACT? Want to improve your score and get ahead in your studying? Many test prep choices exist – in person, online, one-week intensives, on-going individual tutoring, and classroom-based courses. 

Do a home stay in Switzerland, visit a Latin American country to learn Spanish, or volunteer abroad.  Many travel options exist to broaden your world view.     

Performing arts, music camps, internships, the list of options is endless. 


Here are just a few websites to get you started in looking for summer programs. 


Take Action
Record your summer activity in your Activity list in GuidedPath. 


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Late College Applications – Colleges are still looking for students

Did you get started late on applying to colleges? Got your December test scores back and you’re reconsidering what colleges you are applying to?  

Don’t worry! There are many colleges that you can apply to in January and after (even some through August). Here are a few tips for finding colleges/universities with open applications: 

    1. Schools with Rolling Admissions: Once your application is completed, you receive an admissions decision after the application is reviewed.  The college does not wait for all applications to be submitted before giving you an admissions decision.
    2. Check the Regular Decision deadlines:  Many colleges have “regular” decision deadlines between January and March.  Although, your options for financial aid or scholarships may be less the later you apply.
    3. Nearby Public Universities:  Public universities, especially those near you, may have local attendance areas.  Being in the local area may help increase your chances of being admitted.  Sometimes the deadlines for these schools are later than other public universities.
    4. Religiously Affiliated Colleges: Some religiously affiliated colleges or universities will have extended application dates.

Take Action
Each college profile lists the application deadline for the school.  Search for colleges in the above categories, then check their application deadlines.  If the deadline has not passed add it to your college list.

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