Spotlight: How to Be Yourself in 500 Words (or Less)

[fa icon="calendar'] 11/16/20 8:00 AM / by Empowerly Team

Know who reads your application–and help them know you.

I feel very lucky to have been accepted to, and graduated from, Stanford University. While I worked hard in high school and put my best foot forward in my applications, I want to emphasize that there will always be some serendipity in college acceptances. At the end of the day, you can only be yourself. What you do have control over--and what you can work on in your college applications--is how well you use your essays to summarize who you are to admissions officers.

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Essay Scoop: How to Answer Cornell University's Essays

[fa icon="calendar'] 11/8/20 11:15 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

If you’re looking for the right way to approach Cornell University’s essay supplement, look no further. The beautiful school, boasting 50 Nobel laureates and a fittingly noble public mission, draws attention for the high caliber of education--and cutthroat 10-percent acceptance rate--and demands a strong application to succeed. But don't let that scare you off. Here is Empowerly's guidance on how to answer Cornell’s essay! 

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Essay Scoop: How to Answer Vanderbilt University's Essays

[fa icon="calendar'] 11/2/20 8:15 AM / by Empowerly Team

If you’re applying to Vanderbilt University, you’ll want to do a stellar job on the one additional prompt they ask you to answer. Here are our thoughts on the best approach to this essay.

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Essay Scoop: How to Answer Harvey Mudd Essays

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/28/20 11:32 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

Harvey Mudd College is an unsuspecting heavy-hitter. As part of the Claremont Colleges network, the school is naturally well-funded to dedicate plenty of resources to each student. Despite this materially supportive environment, however, something else sets Harvey Mudd apart in the eyes of high-achieving students: the competitive atmosphere.

Are you intrigued and excited by a challenge? Do you thrive on healthy competition and a high pressure atmosphere? Then you might be the perfect fit for the intellectual forge of Harvey Mudd. Not interested in that kind of intensity? Remember; there is more than one path to success, so you don't need to force yourself to jump into the deep end!

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Essay Scoop: How to Answer Washington University in St. Louis' Essays

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/26/20 12:16 PM / by Madeleine Karydes

This one’s a trap...there’s no supplemental essay!

Washington University in St. Louis is an incredible school and there’s no supplemental essay required. Make sure your Common/Coalition App essay is stellar, and you’ll be good to go.

Not satisfied? We won't leave you hanging. In this article will dig a little deeper.

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Essay Scoop: How to Answer UC Berkeley's Essays

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/16/20 6:45 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

It's a fact: UC Berkeley is the most competitive state school in California. The school boasts Nobel laureates and ground-breaking research in many fields, and is considered by many to even be the #1 public university in the world.

Beyond the classroom, the vibrant Bay Area community in close proximity to other top universities and the Silicon Valley make this campus a very attractive option for young scholars looking for a launchpad into their future. With all these resources on the table, it's no surprise the admissions readers must be picky.

Empowerly provides guidance on how to answer some of its personal insight essay questions.

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Elite High Schools and Competitive College Admissions

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/12/20 12:05 PM / by Gelyna Price

 Four Tips to Keep in Mind when Applying to College from an Elite High School

Case Study: Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco

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Essay Scoop: How to Answer MIT Essays

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/2/20 11:48 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

Wondering how to approach the essay supplements for MIT? You’re not alone. It’s no surprise that the school is extremely selective, with the admission rate hovering around eight percent each year. If MIT is your dream school, you face serious odds. Read on to learn a little more about the school itself and get tips on how to think critically about your essay strategy so you can give yourself the best chance possible of standing out.

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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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Guides: How I Got Into Stanford

[fa icon="calendar'] 8/12/20 2:56 PM / by Amanda Orbuch

Martha Collins, a Stanford alum, shares her Stanford admissions story. She discusses her tips for best approaching the application process and what she feels made her application stand out.

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Beyond the Numbers: 3 Tips for Writing Your College Essay

[fa icon="calendar'] 7/7/20 1:14 PM / by Melanie Falconer

Excellent students will often soar through their final exams, SATs, ACTs, and get stunning references from their teachers. But then, the college essay hits them like an anvil. This is because they’ve mastered everything thrown at them, but never looked at their own story. The personal statement is easy to dismiss and scoff at, but really, this is the only chance to know a person aside from numbers on a page and secondhand stories from teachers.

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Responding to the Common App COVID-19 Prompt

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/19/20 8:00 AM / by Julia de Raadt

Right about this time each year, college applicants begin brainstorming ideas as they prepare to write their college application essays. But this year, students find themselves in an unusual set of circumstances that differ from any other application year—they have just finished off their school year in the midst of a pandemic. In order to recognize the unusual circumstances that students are in, the Common App has decided to include a dedicated question to address the challenges and successes of students during COVID-19. We'll walk you through it.

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When to Start Working on Your College Essays? Now!

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/9/20 8:00 AM / by Jennifer Liepin

The beginning of your summer, your rising senior year, is the perfect time to start planning your first college essay. Your mind is no longer full of the memorized facts, equations, and extracurricular scheduling of the school year. You also are likely to have more time to dedicate the process of brainstorming, writing, and editing that are necessary to write a thoughtfully organized and meaningful essay. 

Do not sell yourself short in waiting to write this all-important piece that will be a deciding factor as to whether or not you are accepted to the school of your dream; start now!


Here's how to approach writing your college essays over summer.

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I Didn't Get Into a Summer Program: Plan B

[fa icon="calendar'] 3/25/20 8:00 AM / by Farah Weheba

The old adage is "You are what you eat," not "You are where you were accepted." We're serving up some perspective to untangle your sense of self-worth from any summer program rejection letters. Check out growth mindset, and put together an amazing and self-driven plan B summer program. 

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Facing A College Rejection Letter

[fa icon="calendar'] 3/2/20 8:00 AM / by Farah Weheba

The old adage is "You are what you eat," not "You are where you were accepted." We're serving up some perspective to untangle your sense of self-worth from your college admissions letters and college rejection letters. Check out this whole growth mindset business. 

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