When writing a college essay, it's always necessary to think about which topics are acceptable and which may not be so well received. Since colleges often encourage you to "take a risk," and "show who you really are," choosing the right topic can be a tough call. This New York Times article by Steven Petrow gets to the heart of the matter addressing the charged question, "Should a student conceal her lesbian identity in college application essays?"
Petrow found that student views varied widely with some current students not wanting to mention sexual orientation in case it could affect chances of admission, while others felt that it might even increase changes of admission at schools where diversity was encouraged. A portion of students who had written on the topic during their admissions process felt that it did cause them to be rejected from schools that they should have been admitted to.
Opinions among admissions officers vary widely as well. In the end, it is a personal choice as to what a student considers private vs. a sharable story that is central to a student's identity. According to one comment that was left, what you decide could have an impact at some schools, "I sit on an admissions committee and it's just that - a committee, with all that entails...One or two of our members are not quite with the changing times. We often have to vote, and I can recall several times when the decision was swayed against the candidate on the basis of something they had bravely confided in their personal essay. Touchy issues are certainly not limited to sexual orientation. I don't want people to have too many illusions about the wisdom of admissions committees!"
September 18, 2013 — Sylvan Learning announced today that it has partnered with College Essay Organizer, a rapidly growing Web-based company focused on helping students gain admission to their top college choices.
With over 30 years of expertise and more than 800 locations across North America, Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of personal learning for students of all ages, grades, and skill levels. “We are expanding our college preparation services to help families navigate the complex college application process,” says Jeffrey Cohen, Sylvan’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our partnership with College Essay Organizer will enable students to write stronger essays and submit more compelling college applications. Our students are going to love how easy it is, and their parents are going to love the results.”
College Essay Organizer remains the only technology of its kind in today’s booming college prep market. Dan Stern, Founder and President, developed College Essay Organizer five years ago, in partnership with A-List Education,to streamline the college essay process. The Website, an outgrowth of Stern’s Manhattan-based tutoring and college prep company, Metro Academic Prep, instantly provides students with all of their essay questions for their selected colleges, including many essays for programs and scholarships not found on the applications or the Common App. The issue of students overlooking such essays and submitting incomplete applications has become a significant problem in recent years. College Essay Organizer exists to ensure that applicants avoid this misstep, and to show how essay questions across different schools share overlapping themes so students can write fewer essays but maintain high quality.
“The goal,” Stern says, “is to help students work smarter. If an applicant is considering just six colleges, which is low in today’s competitive climate, she may be shocked to discover there are twenty or more essays to write, and it can be overwhelming to know how to begin. If the applicant can see how to write four essays that work for all twenty questions, she’ll produce better-quality writing and get it done faster.”
In addition to offering this automated essay tool, College Essay Organizer and Sylvan will also feature the new Expert Access webcast series, which allows students to listen to and interact with the nation’s leading authorities on a range of college admissions topics. “As a parent of two high school students, I have a first-hand view of the challenges involved with the college application process,” says Sylvan’s Cohen, “and these innovative college application services will help more students get accepted to their first-choice colleges — without having to spend a small fortune to make it happen.”
About Sylvan Learning
Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels with more than 30 years of experience and more than 800 centers located throughout North America. Sylvan's trained and Sylvan-certified personal instructors provide individualized instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams.
Charles Hadlow, EVP Corporate Development
About College Essay Organizer
College Essay Organizer has been used by tens of thousands of students, hundreds of independent consultants, and leading high schools throughout the world. It is partners with the Independent Educational Consultants Association and Higher Education Consultants Association. Its technology is based on the work of Metro Academic Prep, a Manhattan-based tutoring and college prep company that has supported thousands of students from New York to South Korea.
Dan Stern, Founder & President