Applying To College

College Essay Writing and Interview Skills


Leave a comment

Best Ways to Begin and End College Interviews

Best Ways to Begin and End College Interviews

How you begin and end your college interview makes a difference.

Your college interview begins even before you say hello. It starts when the interviewer sees you for the first time and notices how you hold yourself, how you dress, if you smile.

Make a great impression: know how to begin and end your college interviews.

  • Be the First to Offer a Handshake. When you meet your interviewer, make eye contact, smile and hold out your hand. The interviewer will see someone who’s enthusiastic, confident and mature.

    Ace your college interview - handshakes
  • Greet the Interviewer by Name. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr./Mrs./Dean _______.  Thanks for taking the time to see me.”
    • Wait! Do you even know the interviewer’s name?? If you’re meeting an alum and you were contacted by email, check there. If you’ve made an appointment to see an admissions officer during a college visit, either ask for the name when you make the appointment or ask politely at the desk when you arrive.
    • Use the interviewer’s correct title, such as “Dean Johnson.”
    • What if the name is difficult to pronounce? Here’s what to say:  “It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Dzubak. Did I get the pronunciation right?” Give yourself triple bonus points for trying – because most students probably won’t.
    • Want to remember your interviewer’s name? Take a notepad with you and write it down before you go.

  • Confidence Counts. I’ve answered my door to many students who look like they want to disappear into the woodwork. But it’s the student who stands tall and greets me with enthusiasm that has a head start. That’s the student who appears ready for college.
    • You can be one of those students – all it takes is practice.
    • Practice having an adult greet you. Work on your confidence level and greeting skills until you’re comfortable enough to handle the real thing.
  • When It’s Over, Say Thank You. You’d be surprised how many students (and adults) miss this important step.how to write collehow to write college interview thank you note
  • You Can Also Say:
    • “I really appreciate the opportunity to meet with you.”
    • “I learned a lot today – it’s made me even more interested in attending.”
    • “I really enjoyed talking with you. I appreciate the time.”
    • “Would it be okay to get in touch if I have any more questions?”

These sentences are courteous and thoughtful. You’re letting the interviewer know that you’re aware he or she made time for you. When you appreciate that effort out loud, you make a good impression.

  • Send a Thank You Note.
    • Send an email thank you right away. Follow up with a snail mail thank you within a week.
    • In your note, mention something that you spoke about during the interview. For instance:

“Dear Dean Hart, Thank you for taking the time to speak with me last week. After we spoke, I researched the study abroad program you suggested and I agree with you—it looks like it could be an excellent match with my major.”

When you mention what you spoke about in the interview, or even include additional material that relates to your discussion, you’re creating a good impression. Your interviewer will take note, and that’s the way you start to build a relationship. Relationships can make a difference when colleges decide which students to admit.

Begin and end your college interview by using these steps. Your interviewer will be impressed.

Related blog posts:
5 Best Tips for College Interview Success
College Interview Tips: Is it Okay to Ask for Something to Drink?
College Interview Tips: How to Interview with an Alum
College Interview Tips: Combatting Nerves
Interview Tips: How to Interview with a College Sports Coach

Other helpful links:
From Go See Campus: Make A Great Impression In Your College Interviews
From Princeton Review: College Interviews

sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting in Redding, Connecticut. A Writers Guild Award-winner and two-time Emmy Award nominee, Sharon lectures extensively on essay writing. Sharon teaches students how to master interview skills, write killer resumes, and transform their goals, dreams and experiences into memorable college application essays. She works with students everywhere: in-person, by phone, Skype and email. Visit her website for more info. Connect on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Read My New Interview on i-Student Global

I just finished an interview with i-student global:A Cup of Tea with Sharon Epstein.” (Yes, I’ve been outed – tea is my drink of choice.) It gives an overview of college essay writing from my point of view. 

If you haven’t heard of it, i-student global is an in-depth resource for students who want to study abroad. For the past several years, I’ve been a contributor to i-student global. The site’s packed full of information, resources, college scholarships, student blogs, and expert advice from college counselors.

Even if you’re not a prospective international student, you’ll find loads of college admissions resources that can be helpful in your own college application process.

While you’re there, check out the articles I’ve written for the site: “7 Tips for a Great ‘Why This School’ Essay,”10 Tips for Writing a Successful College Application EssayandWriting Personal Essays in 500 Words or Less.”

sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting in Redding, Connecticut. A Writers Guild Award-winner and two-time Emmy Award nominee, Sharon lectures extensively on essay writing. Sharon teaches students how to master interview skills, write killer resumes, and transform their goals, dreams and experiences into memorable college application essays. She works with students everywhere: in-person, by phone, Skype and email. Visit her website for more info. Connect on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.


Leave a comment

Jump-Start Your College Interview: Bring Photos

lJump-start your College Interview - Bring Photos

Want to jump-start your college interview?

Bring Photos. Why?

  • Photos can be great conversation starters.
    • Imagine being able to say, “I’ve got some pictures of the play I starred in.” The conversation is off and running.
  • Sharing photos can put you at ease.
    • Are you on the shy side? Pull out your photos. It will relax the conversation right away.
  • Photos help when something’s hard to explain.
    • One of my students from Wilton, Connecticut, starred in a lot of plays. Instead of trying to describe the roles he played, he brought photos. The photos filled in the details so he didn’t have to describe each role, plus they showed him doing what he loved.

Ace Your College Interview - Bring PhotosWhat kind of photos should you bring?

  • Anything visual. If you’ve been in a dance recital, concert, or marching band—if you’ve built a tree house, gone with your sports team to the state championship, or just come back from an experience you want to share—almost anything you’ve done can be a shared in a photo.

Avoid These Photo Pitfalls:

  • Too many photos! Edit your photos before you share them. Don’t bring a dozen when two or three will do.
  • Don’t make your interviewer wait while you thumb through a hundred photos. Find the photos you need beforehand. The object is to get the conversation started, not bring it to a grinding halt.

Above All: Everything you bring should represent you at your best. If you think a photo is too goofy, silly, or perhaps even inappropriate for an interviewer, don’t bring it.  If you’re not sure, ask an adult.

Then share your photos and enjoy the conversation.

Helpful links:
5 Best Tips for College Interview Success
College Interview Tips: Is it Okay to Ask for Something to Drink?
College Interview Tips: How to Interview with an Alum
College Interview Tips: Combatting Nerves
Interview Tips: How to Interview with a College Sports Coach

sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting in Redding, Connecticut. A Writers Guild Award-winner and two-time Emmy Award nominee, Sharon lectures extensively on essay writing. Sharon teaches students how to master interview skills, write killer resumes, and transform their goals, dreams and experiences into memorable college application essays. She works with students everywhere: in-person, by phone, Skype and email. Visit her website for more info. Connect on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.


Leave a comment

Danbury College High School Fair Tonight

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 9.47.01 AM
Join me at the Danbury College & Vocational Fair tonight
– Monday, October 21.

5 – 8:30 pm at the Danbury Fair Mall.

This is a HUGE college fair! Hundreds of colleges are represented. If you’re looking for a college, this is the place for you.

You’ll have the chance to talk to representatives and learn about the schools. You can pick up information, and ask questions.

Look for me when you come. I hope you’ll bring your questions about your college essays!

sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting in Redding, Connecticut. A Writers Guild Award-winner and two-time Emmy Award nominee, Sharon teaches students how to master interview skills, write killer resumes, and transform their goals, dreams and experiences into memorable college application essays. She works with students everywhere: in-person, by phone, Skype and email. Visit her website for more info. Connect on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.


Leave a comment

Advice for Graduating High School Students: The View from My Inbox

Advice for graduating high school seniors

This is an interesting time of year for me.

In my email I find notes from students excitedly telling me where they’ll be headed in the fall.  I’m also hearing from new students, often apprehensive about the college process, needing to figure it out.

The intersection of two worlds.

It’s a year-long cycle. Head down, one foot in front of the other, schools visited, essays written, applications completed, interviews done, flying toward something new and oh-so-fabulous.

At times it can be tough to see through the slog, but it’s inevitable: After June comes November. After November comes acceptances. After acceptances, graduation.

So, for my 2013 graduates – here’s to you. You did it. And as you leave for adventures yet to be imagined, remember:

Be joyful.
Try new things.
Speak up.
Take risks.
Never lose sight of your dreams.

In a few years I look forward to discovering more notes from my students, excitedly telling me their post-college plans: internships, grad school, work, family, adventures yet to be imagined. And then I’ll turn to the other emails in my inbox, the ones from my new students, and assure them it can all work out.

Graduating this year? Here are helpful links and good advice:
Credit Card Insider: College and Your Credit
5 Pieces of Advice Every High School Graduate Should Get
The Best High School Graduation Advice No One Ever Told Me

sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting in Redding, Connecticut. A Writers Guild Award-winner and two-time Emmy nominee, Sharon teaches students how to master interview skills and transform their goals, dreams and experiences into memorable college application essays. She works with students everywhere: in-person, by phone, Skype and email. Visit her website for more info. Connect on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.


Leave a comment

Free College Prep Program in Ridgefield May 9

Ridgefield Parks and Recreation College Program

Are you a member of a college-bound family?

Come to my final college prep program of the spring (and it’s free!):

“Less Stress, More Success”
May 9
7pm
Ridgefield Parks and Recreation
Ridgefield, Connecticut

I’ll be joined by Jennifer Soodek, an independent educational consultant and founder of Head4Success career and college counseling in Ridgefield and Westport. Jennifer and I spoke at ProAccess, the teen center in Bethel, and had a terrific time working together.

We’ve teamed up to help students and their families:

  • Navigate the college admissions process
  • Learn how to write memorable college application essays
  • Take that stress level down a notch (or more)

Jennifer will talk about the application process, from college visits to SAT and ACT testing to creating the right college list.

I’ll teach students how to write great application essays.

You’ll leave knowing what colleges look for and how essays can go from boring and bland to unique and interesting.

Bring your questions and learn from the experts.

This is a great program for high school students and their families.

More info: Ridgefield Parks and Rec. I hope to see you on May 9!

sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting in Redding, Connecticut. A Writers Guild Award-winner and two-time Emmy nominee for her work in television, she teaches students how to master interview skills and transform their goals, dreams and experiences into memorable college application essays. Sharon works with students everywhere: in-person, by phone, Skype and email. Visit her website for more info. Connect on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.


2 Comments

Common Application Essay and Writing Changes 2013-14

2013 Common App Essay and Writing Changes

There are changes coming to the writing portions of the 2013-14 Common Application. Here’s an overview that The Common App released today:

1. What writing opportunities are available in the 2013-14 Common Application?

The Essay. Required of all applicants.
Additional Information. Optional for applicants who wish to report circumstances or
qualifications not reflected elsewhere in the application.
Required Explanations. Conditionally required for applicants based on responses to
application questions about school discipline, criminal history, military discharge, or an
interrupted education.

2. What is changing about writing in the Common Application?

•  There are 5 new essay prompts.
• Each writing section will have an enforced 650 word limit. The essay will not allow a
response shorter than 250 words.
• The extracurricular short answer question will be part of supplemental essay requirements for schools that want to ask this question.
Uploaded documents will be replaced by text-entry. Students can compose their
responses directly in the application or cut-and-paste a response drafted in another word
processing program.

3. Can students format their writing?

Yes. Basic formatting (bold, italics, underline, and accented characters) will be available. In
addition, text pasted from a word processing program will typically retain these styles of
formatting.

4. Will students have other opportunities to share more writing or additional submissions?

Yes. Through supplemental essays, if colleges wish to ask for them. Also, colleges may be willing to receive uploaded documents such as resumes, research papers, or graded assignments. (Make sure to find out if individual schools accept these kinds of submissions.)

sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting in Redding, Connecticut.
Need help? I work with students everywhere: in-person, over the phone, Skype, and by email. Visit my website for more info. Connect with me on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter:

follow Sharon Epstein on Twitter