College Essay Help Blog

Group sessions summer 2019

Students and parents are invited to our next free monthly session, “The College Application Road Ahead.” Humor and snacks provided as we demystify the complex college application process with neighbors & friends. We’ll cover the nuts and bolts of college applications, college essays, as well as ideas to consider as you move through high school. Some families find it helpful to attend this session a few times, which is fine!

Session: “The College Application Road Ahead”

Dates: June 26, July 17, and August 5

Time: June/July 7:00-8:00PM; August 5 at 8:00-9:00PM

RSVP: Machiele.m@gmail.com for location information

Soon to be college freshmen are invited to join in the group discussion, “What To Expect Your First Year of College.” This session has been helpful for students heading to large/small/public/private schools such as the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, Kalamazoo College, and Calvin College. 

Session: “What To Expect Your First Year of College”

Date: Monday August 5

Time: 7:00-8:00PM

RSVP: Machiele.m@gmail.com for location information

This particular essay draft was different

IMG-8078One evening in late August, a rising high school senior brought over an amazing draft of a personal essay for the Common Application. Here in lies the rub: she wrote 789 words, and the prompt calls for 650 words. She is applying to several competitive universities, so her eloquent writing style will impress the admission reps, and her story will carry the reader’s attention to the concluding statement. It was as if she created the most beautiful cake, yet knew that only a portion of it would ever be enjoyed.

In my decade of experience working with student on college applications, writing a first draft with more words than necessary is most often a good thing. Reviewing the essay and prompt with my students allows them to select their most important statements, often eliminating repeated ideas as well as tangents. This particular essay draft was different – it was whole.

My student was so brave! She set aside her emotional attachment to the art she created to keep to the task and word count at hand. As she stepped off my porch on that summer evening, I complimented her, affirming that the edit she performed under my guidance was very difficult. She looked back at me, thoughtfully reflecting on her enormous effort completed while keeping true to her writing. Pausing to thank me, she smiled knowingly, and then walked off into one of her final summer evenings before senior year.

Michelle Machiele

Michelle lives in Ann Arbor, MI and is passionate about helping students in transition, as well as Italian baked goods. htttps://college-prep-career-prep.com

 

News & Ideas – August 2018

Happy August to my College Application Families! August 7 marked the first student from my Class of 2019 to complete/upload their personal essay to the Common Application website. More on that soon!

It has been fun to email $5 Starbucks gift cards to parents & students who refer a friend to me for college application advising. I will email a gift card to you after your friend’s first college application prep appointment. Cheers!

Please continue to utilize my calendar link to schedule appointments: https://calendly.com/machiele-m

Here is your news and ideas:

1. Since the Common Application opened weeks earlier than in previous years, August 7 marked my first student’s personal essay completion and upload to the Common Application website. While I feel excitement as this is the earliest personal essay completion in the history of my college application advising, I pass along this information with caution as some families may feel pressure for their student to go faster. Writing takes time, polishing takes time…better to trust the college application process than to hurry to the finish line.

2. Look for timely info on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MichellesCollegePrepCareerPrep/

3. Looking ahead, keep in mind that for November 1 deadlines, all materials need to be completed and sent to the colleges by mid October (think October 10). Nine weeks from now, most work for college applications will be finished.

4. My Advisor role on the Common Application allows me to view (not change) your student’s Common Application materials. This has proven helpful to review all materials with students before they submit their application to colleges, and to answer questions – most often calls from parents around 10:00 PM. There are two steps to adding me as an Advisor on your student’s Common Application. I am available to walk students through this process, sending info below as helpful too.

Here is a screenshot of the “Invite Recommenders” section of the Common Application. This is found on the My Colleges tab, select a college, look on the left side menu for Recommenders and FERPA, complete the FERPA Release Authorization, click on the Invite Recommenders section.

Use the drop down menu for Advisor, select ‘Mrs.’ and add Michelle Machiele, machiele.m@gmail.com

Secondly, there is a section for Additional Application Support – my info will auto load then the student selects ‘Yes’ so that I have permission to preview the application.

5. Next free session: August 22, 7:00-8:00PM, “College Application Road Ahead” for families with students in grades 9-12

6. For my students entering college this fall, there will be one more free session of “What to Expect Your First Semester of College” for rising college freshmen. Email me for details and then feel free to invite friends.

Happy summer!

Michelle

News & ideas – July 2018

Hello & Happy Summer to my College Application Families!

I hope this note finds your family enjoying summer refreshment. Our family spent a week hiking & camping out west – fun to be in the mountains!

New this week, refer a friend and you will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card via email after their first college application prep appointment. Cheers!

Please continue to connect with me online: website (https://college-prep-career-prep.com), Facebook (MichellesCollegePrepCareerPrep).

Here is your news and ideas:

1. Upcoming free group sessions (please pass along, RSVP to Machiele.m@gmail.com)

– August 7, 7:00-8:00PM, “What to Expect Your First Semester of College” for rising college freshmen

– August 22, 7:00-8:00PM, “College Application Road Ahead” for families with students in grades 9-12

2. Common Application news (https://www.commonapp.org)

There are changes in applying to college each year, and this year the Common Application has improvements that will be helpful to families.

–      The Common App website will close July 27 for maintenance and open on August 1, which reflects a shortened down time this year.

–      Enhancements for 2018-2019 include masking the social security number of students when advisors (including Michelle Machiele) view the application preview with student’s permission.

–      The Advisor Invitation section as well as Courses & Grades section have been improved and will be easier to navigate.

–      There were changes to the personal essay prompts last year; there are no changes to the prompts for 2018-19.

–      55 new member schools including Michigan State University. Over 800 colleges & universities accept the Common Application across 49 states and 19 countries.

–      Last year, 1 million students submitted 5 million applications on the Common App, with 24 million recommendation forms submitted for students. Truly amazing numbers!

3. In addition to acceptances at top schools, you may recall that to date my students have received +$2.8 million in scholarship offers, with my Class of 2018 reporting $1,615,500 in scholarship offers. One additional graduate school grant was recently reported, valued at $40,000. With my own children utilizing over $250,000 in academic scholarships, it is my joy to share ideas with new families each year. Academic scholarship milestones for high school seniors to date:

–      Six received offers of $100,000 per school

–      Additionally, two received offers over $150,000 per school

It is an honor to walk alongside families during the college application and entrance season. Godspeed to my Class of 2018 as you enter college soon – please keep me posted on your progress.

Happy summer!

Michelle

 

April newsletter

Happy Spring to my College Apps Families!

So here we are, only weeks away from the May 1 deadline for college deposits. Some of my students have finalized plans, while others are submitting additional applications this week. This is an exciting time of year for me as my junior class has started their application appointments too!

The most I can wish for my seniors is to have a choice in college options by April of senior year. Looking forward to hearing how your family is doing as college deposit day nears. Please free free to reach out to me for short conversations from 7:30AM – 10:30PM.

The Class of 2018 has many choices for college admissions – hard work is paying off! In addition to acceptances, my 2018 seniors have received $1,123,000 in scholarship offers – this is nearly half of my students’ total offers of $2.5 million dollars. This number will grow as a few students are hearing of scholarship offers in the next two weeks.

College visits for admitted schools   Please be sure to visit your top choices for college soon, if you have not done so already. Talk with campus reps, and get off the beaten path to get a feel for the culture of each college.

Mark the completion of the college apps journey   Be sure that you mark the moment as a family when your student makes their college decision. Often in our culture we head back to work before celebrating an accomplishment. College applications are more complex than ever, so be sure to celebrate the end of this journey with your son or daughter.

Facebook    My Facebook page is updated often, please ‘like’ the page to receive timely information:

https://www.facebook.com/MichellesCollegePrepCareerPrep/

College Application Road Ahead session on April 22, 3:00-4:00PM    Please pass along an invitation to my next info session: High school students and parents are invited to this informative group session with neighbors & friends! (No fee for this group session.) Group sessions are intended to give families a clear picture of what could be done each year of high school to improve your chances of admission to your dream colleges, as well as accessing available scholarship opportunities. Please RSVP for location information: machiele.m@gmail.com

Online calendar    Please keep utilizing my calendar to set appointments: https://calendly.com/machiele-m

Feel free to contact me as you have questions – this is an important time for our seniors.

Warm regards,  Michelle

Newsletter for mid-November 2017

Hello to my college apps families!

My heart is so full of joy as today I received an email with news that one of my students received a scholarship offer for $88,000 from Loyola University. Please happy dance with me! I appreciate the efforts of each of my families – it is an honor to know your family and travel with you on this exciting path to your child’s future.  Scholarship tally for my families is now over $1.3 million.

We rounded the corner in application season as we are now in mid-November. Please keep in mind that there is plenty of time to apply to more schools!

Sharing a list of schools that my students have applied to so far this year. This list may inspire you to apply to another school, especially for those searching for scholarships. (Note: each year, Wittenberg University offers a full scholarship for one Washtenaw County student.)

For more ideas of colleges, go to the “Home” tab on my website 7 scroll down to see the  “Success Stories” College Acceptances map. I will keep updating this map over time, so let me know as you hear back from colleges.

Keep utilizing my calendar to set appointments: https://calendly.com/machiele-m
I will be available the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.

Feel free to email and call/text.

Warm regards,
Michelle

college name and website
Bethel University https://www.bethel.edu
Butler University https://www.butler.edu
Calvin College https://calvin.edu
Case Western Reserve University https://case.edu
Central Michigan University https://www.cmich.edu/
Chapman University https://chapman.edu
Cornell University http://www.cornell.edu
DePaul University https://www.depaul.edu
Duke University https://www.duke.edu
Eastern Michigan University http://www.emich.edu
Georgetown University https://www.georgetown.edu
Grand Valley State University http://www.gvsu.edu
Harvard University https://www.harvard.edu
High Point University http://www.highpoint.edu
Hope College https://hope.edu
Indiana University https://www.iu.edu
Kalamazoo College http://www.kzoo.edu
Kenyon College http://kenyon.edu
Kettering University https://www.kettering.edu
Massachusetts Institute of Technology http://web.mit.edu
Miami University (Oxford Ohio) http://www.miamioh.edu
Michigan State University https://msu.edu
Michigan Technological University http://www.mtu.edu
New York University http://www.nyu.edu
Northwestern University http://www.northwestern.edu
Ohio State University https://www.osu.edu
Purdue University https://www.purdue.edu
University of Michigan http://umich.edu
University of Michigan–Dearborn https://umdearborn.edu
University of Minnesota https://twin-cities.umn.edu
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill http://www.unc.edu
University of Notre Dame https://www.nd.edu
University of Pennsylvania https://www.upenn.edu
University of Texas at Austin https://www.utexas.edu
University of Utah http://www.utah.edu
University of Wisconsin https://www.wisc.edu
Vanderbilt University https://www.vanderbilt.edu
Villanova University http://www1.villanova.edu/main.html
Washington University in St. Louis https://wustl.edu
Wayne State University https://wayne.edu
Wesleyan University http://www.wesleyan.edu
Western Michigan University http://wmich.edu
Wheaton College https://www.wheaton.edu
Wittenberg University https://www.wittenberg.edu

Newsletter for November 2017

Hello to my college apps families! November 1st (a major deadline for many college applications) is almost here! See information below for November information and ideas. 

Keep utilizing my calendar to set appointments: https://calendly.com/machiele-m

Warm regards, Michelle 

Follow up with each college  Follow up with each of your colleges to be sure that they have received all materials needed to process your application (transcript, test scores, recommendations, main application, etc.).

  • For colleges with November 1 deadlines, TODAY is a great day to call the college or check your status online if available.
  • If you find that something is missing, ask clarifying questions as to the best way to get the information to the college as soon as possible.

Advisor role on the Common Application Many families have listed me as an “Advisor” on the Common Application, which has been terrific to review your information & essays to catch mistakes and make corrections! Please be sure to notify me as each essay is ready for review (main essay as well as essays for each college). To edit information, students and I have connected via phone, FaceTime video, Google Docs to edit as needed. For more information on this new role, https://appsupport.commonapp.org/link/portal/33011/33013/Article/3877/What-is-an-Advisor

FAFSA Parents and students who have not filled out the FAFSA, now is a great time to do this together.

Students and Parents  Please feel free to text/email/call me as needed. A few minutes for us to chat/clarify/brainstorm/celebrate/comfort together can take away the pain of college applications. Most days, I am available 8:00AM until about 11:00PM, and will get back to you quickly if you need to leave a message.

Speaking of celebrating  Do take time to celebrate milestones in the college application process together! It seems like the deadlines never end, so mark the milestones between start and finish to help keep up the energy. Examples of families marking the milestones together include happy dancing in the kitchen, a special dessert, and a walk around the block together in the evening.

I LOVE to receive texts from students marking when they apply, and I send them virtual confetti in reply. Please call/text/email news of applications submitted, replies received, and scholarships offered. I like to keep a running tally – so far my clients have received  +$1,281,920 in scholarship offers.

Website update  As of October 30, the Paypal link on my website will be working again – thank you for your patience as I know this is a convenient way for many families to pay. You may access online hourly payments (not for packages though) on my website: https://college-prep-career-prep.com/services/

For families with a monthly hour-tally, I will send out invoices after the November 1 deadline has passed.

It’s not over yet – still many applications to go!  Keep applying to colleges in November and beyond as many wonderful opportunities are out there. I know a student who learned about his dream college in January of his senior year of high school. He applied and was accepted to the college as well as the college’s soccer team.

It is a pleasure to know so many families supporting their students, and I look forward to talking with you. Thank you for all you are doing together at home!

 

 

Newsletter for October 2017

Hello to my college apps families! Here comes October – see information below. 

Keep utilizing my calendar to set appointments: https://calendly.com/machiele-m

Warm regards, Michelle 

Note regarding November 1 deadlines: Did you know that it takes weeks to process your materials after you click submit? Put your best foot forward for a

  • deadline of November 1, complete your applications by October 16
  • deadline of Thanksgiving, complete by November 6
  • deadline of Winter Break, complete by December 8

 New on the Common Application – good news!   An “Advisor” is a new type of recommender for your Common Application. To add Michelle Machiele as an Advisor to preview your Common Application with you, add email address Machiele.m@gmail.com

– If you receive support from advising and community-based organizations, you will be able to work with those counselors just as you work with your school-based counselors and teachers within the application.

– Advisors will then be able to manage their caseloads and view student progress within the Common App system.

– In addition, if you wish to do so, you will be able to share a view of your in-progress application (read-only) with your school counselor, advisor, or mentor.

– If you choose to invite an Advisor, that action will remain private. The Advisor invitation and profile information will not be visible to a your colleges or any other invited Recommender.

Transcripts  Check with your high school counselors to be sure of the process for sending your high school transcripts to colleges. For example, Ann Arbor Public School high schools have families utilize Parchment to send transcripts to colleges.

Test scores   Per Ann Arbor Public Schools, scores sent from Ann Arbor Public Schools are considered “unofficial.” Students are responsible for requesting official test scores be sent to the colleges to which they are applying. Scores can be sent during test registration with the testing company, or at a later time (allow 1-2 weeks for colleges to receive scores). See the testing company websites. (For SAT, go to the College Board website, click on ‘SAT tab’; SAT dropdown ‘Scores’; ‘Send Score Reports to Colleges.’)

 FAFSA  The FAFSA opens on October 1, 2017.  From experiences with my own children receiving scholarships, colleges asked if we filled out the FAFSA before giving our children the scholarships. I encourage my families to fill out this information on the official government website. Beware of copycat websites!

Common Application Personal Statement Essay: The Beauty of Question #2

IMG_5404.JPGAt a party last evening, I met a university student who is interning for a friend. I told the intern that I am a College Application Coach and one of the high school students I’m working with is applying to the exact university and program where he is enrolled. I asked about the intern’s college application essays, specifically what was the theme of his Common Application personal statement. Yes, I knew this was one of many essays the intern had written years ago.

This is a fun icebreaker question, especially when meeting college students at a party – try it yourself sometime. Many people remember the theme of their college admissions personal statement essay. It turns out that the question the intern answered had the theme of a lesson learned from a failure or obstacles. The student told me a quick synopsis of the essay, and we instantly bonded. Obviously he was successful in his application and in life.

With five prompts to choose from, only 17% of applicants write on the Common Application Question #2, the ‘lesson learned from failure’ question. This question allows students to write reflectively, to beautifully rise above life’s circumstances, and demonstrate proof in the pudding by moving forward.

My advice to students is to write a draft essay on Question #2. After the brave first draft, read the prompt again and make sure that you answered the question, specifically the part about learning from experience. Before submitting your essay, show your draft to someone who will be somewhat critical of your writing to get feedback on how clearly you communicated your ideas.

Be memorable.

Michelle Machiele, mother of four, provides college admissions coaching and application advice. From her 2015-2016 students, 100% attend the college of their choice and 30% received generous scholarships. (This is the second blog in a series on Common Application personal statement essays.)

https://college-prep-career-prep.com/