Senioritis, Fatal to Scholarships

February 5, 2013
Senioritis. Is it real? So what, I’ve got senioritis. I have already been admitted, what can they do? Colleges can do a lot of grievous tear producing things to students who have senioritis. Your applications have been sent, your first semester is over, and your financial aid forms have been submitted. You may be wondering […]

Senioritis. Is it real?

So what, I’ve got senioritis. I have already been admitted, what can they do?

Colleges can do a lot of grievous tear producing things to students who have senioritis.

Your applications have been sent, your first semester is over, and your financial aid forms have been submitted. You may be wondering what’s really left to do in high school. Whether you are a senior who is counting the days until graduation, or you are one who is becoming nostalgic about leaving friends and family, you are undoubtedly aware that things are about to change. The future is a little unclear, so it’s no wonder you may be feeling a bit alienated from the real world, wondering why you still have to complete assignments and abide by your school and family rules.

It’s a known fact that second semester seniors often feel lethargic and a bit adrift, so you are not alone if you’re finding yourself daydreaming instead of studying. You may also be feeling a bit ambivalent about your relationship with family and friends, which is a sign that you are preparing for next step in your life that will take place this fall.

All these feelings are normal; however, they shouldn't be used as an excuse for not completing work. Try your best to concentrate and to find joy in your final months of high school. The college you choose to go to will ask for a copy of your final transcript and they do have the right to reverse their decision if your grades drop.

Many students have been shocked to find out that a college rescinded on the decision to admit them. That is the worst case scenario. The second worst case is revoking all your scholarships.

So in plain simple language, high school seniors who let their grades drop can lose their admission spot (meaning you won’t be going to that college) or lose any scholarship the college offered (meaning you can go but now it will cost more.)
The best way to demonstrate that you are ready for the independence of college is to make the most of the last months of your high school career. Enjoy high school while you can!

And keep your grades up!

 

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Full Ride Scholarship, Full Tuition Scholarship &Partial Tuition Scholarship

February 5, 2013
There are a couple terms you should be familiar with; Full Ride Scholarship, Full Tuition Scholarship and Partial Tuition Scholarship. These titles have varied meanings at different colleges. So when a recruiter or counselor or another parent throws out these titles, know what they are referencing. To me, Full Ride is the coveted scholarship and […]

There are a couple terms you should be familiar with; Full Ride Scholarship, Full Tuition Scholarship and Partial Tuition Scholarship. These titles have varied meanings at different colleges. So when a recruiter or counselor or another parent throws out these titles, know what they are referencing.

To me, Full Ride is the coveted scholarship and means that the scholarship covers everything expect for some pizza and spending money and maybe you will have to come up with money to cover an airline ticket out to the college. Other than that, everything else is covered.

Full Tuition, to me means that it covers 100% of tuition which at one of the in state colleges is around $10,000 per year. Books, Fees, Meal Plan, Room and Board are usually not included and must be paid by you or rolled into a loan. This could be as much as $15,000 to $20,000 that is not covered in the Full Tuition Scholarship.

Some Recruiters will throw around Full Ride when they really mean Full Tuition.

Partial Tuition Scholarship is exactly that, it covers a percentage of tuition. So in the case of one of the in state colleges, a 25% tuition scholarship could be around $2,500 per year. A 40% Tuition Scholarship at a Private college where the Tuition fees are $42,000 would equal about $17,000 in scholarships.

Don’t throw out a college based solely on the sticker price until you have run all the numbers because some colleges have been known to be very generous and it could be less expensive in the long run.

Know before you go.

Review the Online Lesson #4 Leveraging Statistics at for further detail on this. (Login and password required to view this video lesson.)

 

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Questions to ask on a college visitation

November 25, 2012
Questions to ask on a college visitation PDF Version of this page Picking the right college is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a young adult.  Asking the right questions while on a college campus visit can help you make the right college choice. Answers to some of the questions below will […]

Questions to ask on a college visitation

PDF Version of this page

Picking the right college is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a young adult.  Asking the right questions while on a college campus visit can help you make the right college choice.

Answers to some of the questions below will not only give you a better sense for the college, but will help you decide whether or not it’s a good fit for you.

A good fit is important. If you “fit” and feel comfortable you will thrive. Students who are uncomfortable tend to delay graduating on time or worse, drop out of college.

The number one question you should ask is…

What is your biggest scholarship and how do I qualify for it?  *then do the things to qualify for it.

  1. Does the college offer merit aid?  Average package size? What percentage of students receive? What factor are considered?  GPA required to retain?
  2. How easy is it to change majors within the college or university?  (Example: moving into business program from liberal arts)
  3. During the term (excluding exam periods) which days do students typically study hard?
  4. What type(s) of assignments are required?  Do students study by themselves or in groups?
  5. How much writing/reading/thinking is involved?
  6. Where do students typically study and do homework?  When is the library open?
  7. What percentage of students accept job offers prior to graduation?  grad school admission?  Support from / role of college’s career services department.
    How does college help students secure internship opportunities?
  8. How are classes typically graded?   (e.g. number and weighting of  problem sets, homework, quizzes, exams, projects, etc.)
  9. How quickly are grades available?  How do students receive feedback on academic performance?
  10. How challenging are the courses and exams?
  11. Does the coursework encourage creative thinking or memorization?
  12. What is the typical class size?  (lecture, lab, discussion group)
  13. How many classes do students typically take per semester?
  14. Do students attend lectures or take classes on-line?
  15. How often do students engage in classroom discussion?
  16. How and where do students typically interact with faculty?  Examples of rapport between professors and students.
  17. Do students frequently discuss academic topics outside the classroom?
  18. What percentage of students return for sophomore year? (retention rate)
  19. What percentage of students graduate in 4/5/6 years?  (graduation rates)
  20. How competitive or collaborative is the culture?
  21. What’s the availability of tutoring and extra help?  How common is it for students to hire tutors?
  22. What types of resources and special programs are available? (e.g. Writing Center, Undergraduate Research, Career Planning, Internships, Seminars, Honors, Learning Disabilities)  How popular?  How are students selected for various programs?
  23. What are the general course and graduation requirements?  How can students transfer between programs? (e.g. business, nursing, liberal arts, engineering)  Is there a language requirement?
  24. What is a typical freshman academic schedule?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of the freshman curriculum?
  25. Who typically teaches freshman classes? (e.g. graduate students, professors)
  26. When and how do students select a major?  What are the most popular majors?  How easy is it to double major?    What are the reputations of the various departments?  What guidance is available to students who don’t know what they are interested in studying?  Are there any new or expanding majors?
  27. How easy is it to enroll in classes?  How often are courses full?  How does the wait list priority system work?
  28. Do many students attend summer school?
  29. Are there special pre-med, pre-law, pre-business programs?  What percentage of students go to graduate or professional school?
  30. What percentage of students find work directly after graduation?  What role does the college play?
  31. How accessible and supportive are the faculty?
  32. What’s the typical role of the faculty advisor?  How much interaction?  Do students speak with advisors about summer jobs and career plans?
  33. What kinds of activities are available?  What’s popular? How involved are most students? How much time do students typically spend per week? Are there specific clubs and activities?
  34. Are there honors courses, learning communities, special programs?  How popular?
  35. What are typical weekend activities?  Do students stay on or near campus?  How expensive are typically weekend activities?
  36. How is technology used in the classroom, libraries, eating areas and dormitories?   Is there WiFi throughout the campus?  Is the technology up-to-date?
  37. How do students interact with others who have different political / social / intellectual views and religions?  Is there a prevailing culture or attitude?
  38. How common is study abroad?  Does the school sponsor or recommend specific programs?  How do the credits transfer?
  39. What’s the policy for AP / IB/ AICE credit and for courses taken at other colleges?
  40. What types of events are sponsored by the college?  How often?
  41. How strong is the school spirit?  What activities are offered to encourage school spirit?
  42. Where do students typically live? (e.g. dormitories, on-campus apartments, etc) Does that change after freshman year? Are the dorms clustered or spread out around the campus?
  43. What are the dorms like?  (coed, single sex, lounges, cooking, laundry and bathroom facilities)  How are dorms assigned?  How are roommates chosen?  Is housing guaranteed?  Are the facilities well kept and in good repair?
  44. How do students get around?   Are cars permitted?
  45. Are students welcome in the surrounding community?  What is the surrounding area (town, city) like?
  46. How is the food?  Where do students typically eat?  Do the dining halls serve healthy choices such as fresh fruits and vegetables?  What are the meal plan requirements?
  47. What is the “Greek” influence?   Can you have a good social life without joining a fraternity or sorority?   What percentage of students join fraternities and sororities?
  48. How do students typically dress?  (e.g. designer clothing, casual)
  49. What is the weather like during the school year?
  50. How happy are students with the education and college experience?  What do they like most and least?  Why did they choose the college?
  51. How often do students typically go home?  Where are students from? (e.g. local area, in-state, international)
  52. What role does athletics / arts / religion play on campus?  What activities are available?
  53. What percentage of students participate in intramural sports? Are athletic and recreational facilities open to all students?
  54. What types of financial aid / scholarships are available?  (freshman and upperclassmen)  How available are campus jobs?
  55. What is the cost of attending?  How has that changed over the past few years?  What is the expected price increase?  Are there additional fees for computers or anything else?
  56. How safe is the campus?  What security measures are in place?
  57. What types of health and counseling services are available?
  58. How friendly are the students / faculty?  How do students interact with others of different backgrounds?
  59. What types of students are most compatible with the college’s social and academic environment?
  60. Does the school offer career planning assistance following graduation?
  61. Is there an active alumni association?

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Admission Ratios

November 2, 2012
How many four year colleges have an admission ratio of 25% or less. Post your answers!      Send article as PDF   

How many four year colleges have an admission ratio of 25% or less.

Post your answers!

 

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New SAT Regulations

September 20, 2012
Last year there was a big scandal with SAT test fraud, seems that a professional was taking the tests in place of the students. This would not have attracted so much attention if the test scores were poor but they were excellent. As this was uncovered, those students lost their scholarships and the person standing […]

Last year there was a big scandal with SAT test fraud, seems that a professional was taking the tests in place of the students. This would not have attracted so much attention if the test scores were poor but they were excellent.

As this was uncovered, those students lost their scholarships and the person standing in for the test was fired.

As a result of all this unscrupulous scandal CollegeBoard has implemented new security measures. These things were outlined at the CollegeBoard conference that I attend last Wednesday on September 12, 2012.

Students will be required to submit a current, recognizable photo during registration that will be included on a new photo admission ticket. Students registering online will be required to upload a digital photo.

Uploaded photos will be mandatory for the March tests and may be implemented before this date. A passport style photo approximately 2 X 2 is suggested.

In addition to this there will no longer be stand by or walk in as it is no longer permitted.

Along with this students who take the PSAT will be required to write in cursive the following statement: “I hereby agree to the conditions set forth online at collegeboard.com and in the SAT Paper Registration Guide and certify that I am the person whose name and address appear on this answer sheet.”

If the student does not write this in cursive (not print) the test may become invalid.

From CollegeBoard’s website: Starting this year, students will copy and sign a statement acknowledging that they agree to the test regulations. As a result, the placement of some fields on the answer sheet has changed. Supervisors should plan additional time for this activity and familiarize themselves with the answer sheet prior to test day.

These new regulations can be viewed on CollegeBoard.org’s website. http://press.collegeboard.org/releases/2012/enhanced-sat-security-measures-announced-2012-13-academic-year

More than likely similar regulations will be required for the ACT test.

Remember to check out how to beat the test on this website.

 

 

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In State Residency

September 11, 2012
In state residency So how do I do it? Get in state residency in another state… Private colleges charge the same COA (Cost of Attendance) regardless of the student’s home state. i.e. Stanford has the same fees for California student as well as students from Florida, Arizona, Maryland or any other state. State colleges are […]

In state residency

So how do I do it? Get in state residency in another state…

Private colleges charge the same COA (Cost of Attendance) regardless of the student’s home state. i.e. Stanford has the same fees for California student as well as students from Florida, Arizona, Maryland or any other state.

State colleges are dependent upon taxes collected from residence of the state. Meaning people who live in Oregon (or insert other state) pay Oregon taxes. A portion of those taxes is set aside to help the local state college for support of institution and other fees. Because out of state students and their parents do not pay, in this case, Oregon taxes, the college is forced to charge out of state fees to non residence students.

There are several states that have partnered and offered adjacent state residence a special fee. Many states provide Reciprocity with other states, where students from one state can receive In State or reduced tuition to attend a college in another state and vice-versa.

  1. New England Board of Higher Education has a reciprocity agreement among Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. http://www.nebhe.org/programs-overview/rsp-tuition-break/overview/
  2. Academic Common Market is a reciprocity agreement among 16 southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. http://www.sreb.org/page/1304/academic_common_market.html
  3. Midwest Student Exchange Program is a consortium of six Midwestern states: Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and North Dakota. http://www.mhec.org/MidwestStudentExchangeProgram
  4. Western Undergraduate Exchange covers institutions in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. http://www.wiche.edu/
  5. Some states have reciprocity agreements with colleges in Canada. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/12/12/manitoba-university-reciprocity/

 

Not every state school participates in reciprocity. As that is the case, the college will charge out of state fees.

Colleges can override the residency status of the student for a variety of reasons, great grades, stellar athlete, etc, all to retain the student.

In state residency is also given to students who intend to make Oregon (or what every state they are attending college in) their home (i.e. pay taxes to the state longer term).

On Cal Poly's website it states: Adult students (students who are 19 years old by the Residence Determination Date for the quarter to which he/she is applying) may establish their own residency for tuition purposes in California if they are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other immigrant; or someone in nonimmigrant status who is not precluded from establishing a domicile in the U.S. The student must establish clear evidence of his/her intent to abandon the derived residence of their out-of-state parent(s) and adopt a new residence.

The big kicker regardless of the state, is that the student must usually prove that he/she is not dependent upon parent funds especially if the parent resides outside the state.

Here is what I recommend. The student should go to their financial aid departments and ask what they need to do to be declared an in state residence. The student should back this up with good grades or some other needed thing. In some situations the college will override the status and grant the student in state residency. The student may be required to fulfill certain requirements to be reclassified as an in state residence.

The student may have to prove that he/she qualifies for in state residency by getting a job off campus, getting an apartment or house other than student housing, live and work there for a year. Just because the student does these things the college may or may not reclassify the student.

The best is for the student to enquire at their school information on being declared an in state student. Some colleges require the student to fill out a form.

Gone are the days when parents do not use the student as a deduction on their taxes. This stratagy is 3 decades old. Gone is the strategy to have the student open a bank account in the state, get a driver’s license and other non applicable tricks. Remember the reason colleges grant in state resedency costs to students is because the student and/or parent paid taxes in that state.

Utimatly it is the decision of the college admissions and financial aid directors to reclassify students. These administrators are given sole atonomy to grant or reject reclassificaiton of resednecy status.

Of course, if you get a full ride scholarship, this is a mute point... see http://azcollegeplanning.com/bootcamp/market-yourself-to-colleges for info on this.

 

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Scottsdale College Fair

September 10, 2012
the Scottsdale College Fair is on Saturday October 13 the day before the Phoenix College Fair at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. This website is easier to use than the NACAC website. (about 100 colleges will be in attendance) Scottsdale College Fair October 13 2012, 1-3PM Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 7380 E. 2nd […]

the Scottsdale College Fair is on Saturday October 13 the day before the Phoenix College Fair at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. This website is easier to use than the NACAC website. (about 100 colleges will be in attendance)

Scottsdale College Fair

October 13 2012, 1-3PM
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 7380 E. 2nd Street Scottsdale, AZ 85281

 

www.ScottsdaleCollegeFair.com

Here is a link to the colleges that will be attending...
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.410373392343057.86931.166314886748910&type=1

about 98 colleges are represented...

 

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Christian College Fair

September 10, 2012
Scottsdale Christian Academy SCA 4400 N Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix, is hosting the National Christian College Fair from 6 PM to 8 PM see the website for more information (47 colleges will be in attendance, up from last year's 34!) And for those of you who live in the east valley, Valley Christian High School will […]

Scottsdale Christian Academy SCA 4400 N Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix, is hosting the National Christian College Fair from 6 PM to 8 PM see the website for more information (47 colleges will be in attendance, up from last year's 34!)

And for those of you who live in the east valley, Valley Christian High School will be hosting this year's Christian College Fair.

  1. October 22 2012 East Valley Phoenix at Valley Christian High School 6-8PM -VCHS 6900 W. Galveston Street, Chandler, Arizona
  2. October23 2012 Northeast Phoenix at Scottsdale Christian Academy 6-8PM SCA 4400 N Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix
  3. October 25 2012 Tucson at Pusch Ridge Christian Academy 6-8 PM - PRC 9500 North Oracle Road, Tucson, AZ

 The following schools will be represented:

  1. Abilene Christian University -Abilene, Texas
  2. Anderson University-IN -Anderson, Indiana
  3. Arizona Christian University -Phoenix, Arizona
  4. Azusa Pacific University -Azusa, California
  5. Bethel University -St. Paul, Minnesota
  6. Biola University -La Mirada, California
  7. California Baptist University -Riverside, California
  8. Calvin College -Grand Rapids, Michigan
  9. Cedarville University -Cedarville, Ohio
  10. Colorado Christian University -Lakewood, Colorado
  11. Concordia University-CA -Irvine, California
  12. Concordia University-NE -Seward, Nebraska
  13. Concordia University-OR -Portland, Oregon
  14. Dordt College -Sioux Center, Iowa
  15. Fresno Pacific University -Fresno, California
  16. George Fox University -Newberg, Oregon
  17. Goshen College -Goshen, Indiana
  18. Hope International University -Fullerton, California
  19. IMPACT 360 -Pine Mountain, Georgia
  20. John Brown University -Siloam Springs, Arkansas
  21. LeTourneau University -Longview, Texas
  22. Lipscomb University -Nashville, Tennessee
  23. Lubbock Christian University -Lubbock, Texas
  24. Moody Bible Institute -Chicago, Illinois
  25. North Park University -Chicago, Illinois
  26. Northwest University -Kirkland, Washington
  27. Northwestern College-IA -Orange City, Iowa
  28. Oklahoma Baptist University -Shawnee, Oklahoma
  29. Oklahoma Christian University -Edmond, Oklahoma
  30. Point Loma Nazarene University -San Diego, California
  31. Providence Christian College -Pasadena, California
  32. San Diego Christian College -El Cajon, California
  33. Seattle Pacific University -Seattle, Washington
  34. Simpson University -Redding, California
  35. Southeastern University -Lakeland, Florida
  36. The College at Southwestern -Fort Worth, Texas
  37. The King’s College -New York, New York
  38. The Master’s College -Santa Clarita, California
  39. Trinity Christian College -Palos Heights, Illinois
  40. Union University -Jackson, Tennessee
  41. Vanguard University -Costa Mesa, California
  42. Warner Pacific College -Portland, Oregon
  43. Westmont College -Santa Barbara, California
  44. Wheaton College -Wheaton, Illinois
  45. Whitworth College -Spokane, Washington
  46. William Jessup University -Rocklin, California

 

http://myblueprintstory.com/christian-college-fairs

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Common Application Essay Prompts

September 6, 2012
The essay is your chance to stand out and shine. A great essay outlines your character, personality and personal traits. It should follow the word count requirements.

Common Application (Common App, CommonApp.org) Essay Prompt https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/Docs/DownloadForms/2013/2013AppFY_download.pdf 

Most colleges require an essay to be included in the application. The essay is your chance to stand out and shine. Your essay should be an extension of your application while supporting your extracurricular achievements and outline your intended major.

Regardless of the essay prompt the main factor is the underlining question, “tell us about you”, “who are you?”.

A great essay outlines your character, personality and personal traits. It should follow the word count requirements. The common application essay requirements are 250 – 500 words. Do not write an essay that is 249 words and do not write an essay that is 501 words.

An essay that is less than the minimum or more than the maximum shows that a student cannot follow directions. Your application and essay should show your best side. Part of that best side includes following directions.

The essay should point out specific characteristics that the college should know about you.

In essence, the essay should be the equivalent of a sales letter “selling” your best side, an “I’m awesome because of X”.

A great essay cannot be written in one sitting. It must be written, re-written and read to correct all punctuation, spelling and grammatical errors. The context of a great essay is something that should be pondered and considered before committing to a final draft.

Choose one of the essay prompts and start your draft.

A popular topic for the essay is: Who influenced you and how did it affect you. Many students choose this topic and typically write about a family member that they admire. Do not write an essay about how awesome your grandparent is because of this or that but write an essay that says my grandparent is awesome and then I did X. The essay should be about YOU not your grandparent. The college wants to admit you not your grandparent.

A well written essay can answer multiple prompts. While not every college uses the Common App, the essay prompts will most likely be similar. You may have to tweak your essay a little bit at the beginning or end of the essay to answer the prompt. (You can use the Common App's essay prompts and start early writing your essay. )

On that point, verify that your essay actually answers the prompt you selected.

One last point, read the essay out loud. If it sounds okay then it probably is. If the essay sounds funny, there are probably errors that need to be corrected.

From Common App website:

Please write an essay of 250 – 500 words on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below, and attach it to your application before submission. Please indicate your topic by checking the appropriate box. This personal essay helps us become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself. NOTE: Your Common Application essay should be the same for all colleges. Do not customize it in any way for individual colleges. Colleges that want customized essay responses will ask for them on a supplement form.

  1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
  2. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
  3. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
  4. Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
  5. A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.
  6. Topic of your choice.

Need help with writing an incredible essay, we can help. Contact us.

 

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University of Arizona Personal Statement Essay Prompt

September 6, 2012
University of Arizona - Personal Statement: A personal statement is our best means of getting to know you and your best means of putting your academic performance and activities in the context of your life.

University of Arizona Personal Statement Prompt

The University of Arizona's (Arizona.edu) application requirement includes an essay or commonly referred to as a Personal Statement.

The main factor with this Personal Statement is the underlining questions, “tell us about you”, “who are you?”.

A great Personal Statement outlines your character, personality and personal traits. It should not be very long. The statement should point out specific characteristics that the college should know about you.

In essence, the Personal Statement should be the equivalent of a sales letter “selling” your best side, an “I’m awesome because of X” statement.

A great Personal Statement final draft cannot be written in one sitting. It must be written, re-written and read to correct all punctuation, spelling and grammatical errors. The context of a great Personal Statement is something that should be pondered and considered before committing to a final draft.

One last point, read the Personal Statement out loud. If it sounds okay then it probably is. If the Personal Statement sounds funny, there are probably errors that need to be corrected.

 

From UA’s application:

Personal Statement - For All Freshman Applicants:

A personal statement is our best means of getting to know you and your best means of putting your academic performance and activities in the context of your life. There are no "wrong" answers. When you write your personal statement, tell us about those aspects of your life that are not evident from your academic record. Because personal statements are brief, they usually focus on one aspect of a student’s life. For example, you could focus on a character-defining moment, a cultural awareness, a challenge faced, family background or cultural heritage, individual talents, academic commitment, or extracurricular activities. Tell us what you would like us to know about you in considering you for admission and/or scholarships.

 

Need help Maximizing Scholarships? Contact us.

 

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