Madeleine Karydes

Madeleine Karydes

Recent Posts

Creating Your College List Using Data

[fa icon="calendar'] 8/26/20 1:10 PM / by Madeleine Karydes

Developing your college list is a challenging task. Many students who approach us at Empowerly aim to apply to 6 or 7 (or more) well-selected schools, and spread those across safety, target, and reach colleges. So how do most people create these lists today?

Some students create complicated spreadsheets. Some simply apply to colleges that are easily accessible—schools that are geographically close, or that they've heard about from friends. Other students just guess, based on a vague impression.

But there's a better strategy: one that will help you reduce your stress, find your best-fit campus, and put you on the road to success. Do those benefits sound good to you? Read on.

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Interview with a Princeton Alum and Science Fair Champ

[fa icon="calendar'] 8/24/20 2:43 PM / by Madeleine Karydes

Ever wondered how top STEM students get their start?  Curious what sets them apart from the rest of the pack?

Empowerly sat down with Changxiao, our  CTO (Chief Technical Officer), to learn more about what extracurriculars in science helped him gain acceptance to Princeton. We asked all the questions you might want to know. Read our interview to understand his perspective on admissions and high school extracurricular activities!

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Counselor Chat with Christine W.

[fa icon="calendar'] 7/13/20 8:45 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

Are you wondering whether you should consider college counseling? Ready to start, but lost when it comes to actually get going? We asked your top questions to our talented counselor Christine W., to get her perspective on this pivotal moment in young people's lives. Read her advice below about:

  • why finding the right counselor is so important,
  • when the best (and worst) times to start counseling sessions is,
  • and what she wishes all parents knew.
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Online, Digital, or Virtual: Being Well-Rounded Still Helps Admissions

[fa icon="calendar'] 7/9/20 9:15 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

The competition for college admission has never been tougher than it is now. The National Center for Education Statistics recently estimated that approximately 20.2 million students were enrolled in college. Today, as school administrations are only beginning to announce their plans for the fall semester, those in-demand spots are suddenly uncertain.

What we do know is that college admissions’ personnel accepted these lucky students after careful consideration. The college or university board of admissions, with a weighting system unique to each school, determines the criteria for acceptance. Some criteria that are evident across the board at different colleges and universities are: good grades, well-written college essays, glowing recommendation letters, and of course, community and school extracurricular activity involvement.

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What to Do at a Virtual College Fair

[fa icon="calendar'] 7/3/20 9:30 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

If you’re a rising junior or senior, you’re probably starting to think about building and finalizing your college list. At this point, you may be wondering, “what do I do at a college fair?” or even asking yourself, “how do I network at a virtual college fair?” — and while this is unprecedented territory for all of us, luck for you, the experts know what to do.

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What If There Aren't Any AP Classes that Relate to My Major?

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/26/20 9:00 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

Want to understand how to optimize your high school course selection and get on track for your intended major in college? Wondering whether taking that extra AP class will even be worth it for you? Maybe you’re just unsure of how fall 2020 will impact your AP classes and tests, or what to do to prepare. It’s a common area of confusion for many students, and for good reason. Why take an academically rigorous, college-level course, if you aren’t sure how it will help you?

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Weighted vs Unweighted GPA and How Colleges View Them

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/6/20 8:30 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

COVID has brought grading schemes under the microscope, once again. You may well know that schools evaluate academic performance in two ways:

1) in the classroom through letter grades, and 2) through Grade Point Average, or GPA.

You’re likely familiar the grading from A-F, but colleges are interested in overall performance—with a quick glance of your unweighted GPA which will fall between 0.0 and 4.0. Colleges could also be interested in a weighted GPA which applies more proportional weight to more difficult classes.

However, more and more classes are also offering P and NP. Wondering what that means? Read on for a breakdown of how this plays out today.

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Case Study: How College Counseling Helps San Mateo Students Get Ahead

[fa icon="calendar'] 5/21/20 9:00 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

The city of San Mateo, located in the intellectually vibrant Bay Area, is an incredibly well-educated community. The US Census Bureau reflects an idyllic picture of a typical Northern California “brain hub” hotspot: geographically close to the Silicon Valley, residents bringing in a high median income (approximately $994k annually), homes boasting nearly universal internet connection, and of course, the classic mild California climate. 

Yet with a launchpad as great as this one, students are still feeling lost facing the college admissions process. With only cookie-cutter in-school support resources, where else do they turn for help?

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What an Admissions Expert Has to Say About AP Tests

[fa icon="calendar'] 5/17/20 8:00 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

It’s AP season, so we talked to one of our wonderful counselors, Jennifer Liepin, about her own advice on AP tests. Read her thoughts below about:

  • why you should take AP classes,
  • how they help with college applications,
  • how to prepare for the test,
  • and what you should do if you don’t do well.
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Important: Digital Toolkit Update!

[fa icon="calendar'] 4/1/20 6:48 PM / by Madeleine Karydes

As they say, time is money; don't waste either of yours. Want better results for all your hard work? Track your progress.

Record your academic performance and standardized test scores in your Academic Profile section of the Digital Toolkit. By doing so, Empowerly's counselors, editors, and expert researchers can give you more customized feedback and recommendations!

 

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Preparing for an AI-Powered Future

[fa icon="calendar'] 3/4/20 5:00 PM / by Madeleine Karydes

Why is an AI education important?

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10 Most Common College Essay Editing Pitfalls

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/22/19 5:42 PM / by Madeleine Karydes

Your college essays speak for you within your application. They tell your story and your dreams. They remain your best opportunity to really pull together your resume, transcripts, and letters of rec in order to create a complete picture of who you are as a student. And it’s your first and last chance to make an impression on the admissions officer who has never met you before but will eventually decide whether to accept or reject your application.

This pressure is no joke. But rather than paralyze you, it should serve to emphasize the importance of the final draft you submit! With stakes like these, you should absolutely edit your drafts to ensure you catch the little details. 

We know—the editing process proves difficult for lots of people. That’s why we’re here to explain the ten most common editing pitfalls so that as you’re combing over your essays one final time before you send them off, you’ll know what to avoid.

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Essay Scoop: How to Answer University of Washington Essays

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/18/19 9:35 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

The University of Washington application evaluates student candidates holistically, emphasizing more than grades and scores. That means that the essays you submit are absolutely critical! Your writing needs to effectively tell your story to reviewers and convince them that you should be at their school.

Let’s take a look at the prompts you’re working with to make sure your essays hit the right note.

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Boost Your Test Scores with 3 Easy Fixes

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/16/19 9:15 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

The key to succeeding on test day?

Sure, there are certain academic standards you’ll need to know and intellectual skills you can perfect with practice over time. But if you’re down to the wire and looking for some quick and dirty tips for how to boost your scores quickly, here are three easy fixes to improve your results.

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Calculating Your Financial FAFSA Facts

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/15/19 2:30 PM / by Madeleine Karydes

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a universal form that all students in the United States can submit in order to receive government support to help pay for their education. The 2020-2021 form opened on their website on October 1st, 2019 and will be accessible to submit until June 30th, 2021. However, the sooner you submit, the better—and yes, you SHOULD submit one!

Before you sit down to fill it out, here are some things you need to know in order to get the most aid possible.

 

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