Hillel Stands with Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh

Hillel International
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It is impossible to put into words the grief we feel today for the loss of our family, our loved ones, and our beloved brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh at Tree of Life Congregation.

That this congregation and Jewish community is minutes from our Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh, serving the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, makes the loss closer, but does not change the feeling of connection we would have wherever this might have happened.

Kol Yisroel Zeh Lazeh - all Jews are responsible for one another. 

At Hillel, we have a responsibility to create a safe space for Jewish students on every college campus. In the aftermath of this horrific event, we are continuing to work directly with local law enforcement and university officials around the country to ensure the safety of our Jewish students.

Today, Hillel mourns with our people. Hillel houses across the country will be holding vigils to pray for and support the families and individuals who have suffered devastating losses. May the memories of the fallen be connected to our people forever, and may we never forget to stand for our people everywhere.

Eric D. Fingerhut, President and CEO

Southwestern University: Tips for Writing An Effective Essay

  • Tips for Writing an Effective Admission Essay
    Tips for Writing an Effective Admission Essay
    Southwestern University

So you’ve started putting together your college applications, and like a boss, you’ve been requesting transcripts, filling in your personal information, and asking for recommendation letters. But there’s one last requirement that you’ve been dreading. It’s the summit of your mountain, the boss fight in your video game, the spun sugar on your croquembouche.

We’re talking, of course, about the college admission essay.

If you’re like many high school students, you’ve been putting off this part of your application. Maybe it’s because you’re not inspired by the various prompts. Perhaps you’re procrastinating because trying to express your character, personality, worldview, passions, writing skill, and desire to go to a particular school all within just a few hundred words feels overwhelming. Or maybe you’re stressed because you know a lot rides on this part of your application but you don’t consider yourself a strong writer.

Whatever the reason, we’re here with suggestions—and insider tips from the experts—to make the essay-writing process a little less painful.

It’s a story, not a résumé

Some admission officers pore over your application; others spend only minutes reading your documents. Whatever your reader’s process, you need to grab their attention. And a snore-mongering list of extracurriculars is not the way to hook your audience. As Southwestern University Associate Director of Admission Dana Marchant suggests, “Do not reiterate all the activities and involvement you have completed during your high school year. Focus on one experience and the skill it has taught you. It may be very big (e.g., being adopted) or small (e.g., a jarring conversation at an after-school club meeting), but focus on the life lessons you learned from that experience. Some of the best essays I have read have been about a simple experience, but students have been able to put me in that moment with them and then expounded on how it changed them.”

Remember that stories don’t begin with a repetition of the prompt (e.g., please don’t start with, “One time when I questioned or challenged a belief or idea was …”) or a definition from a dictionary (e.g., avoid saying, “Merriam–Webster defines ‘success’ as …”); instead, you should begin with something descriptive, such as setting the scene or jumping right into the middle of the action. Then, go on to illustrate how the event took place, devoting details only to significant moments. (Life hack: Keep in mind that this is also a story and not a novel, so don’t go all Charles Dickens on this.)

But unlike a story, an essay needs a main point that’s stated explicitly, so beyond describing the event or person, be sure to explain how that event or person changed you. Did you learn a skill you’ve used or would like to continue honing as an undergraduate? Did you learn an important lesson that has shaped how you think or behave in some way? Regardless of the topic you choose, your essay should tell a distinctive, compelling, cohesive story about who you are, how you’ve grown as an individual, and the contributions you’ll make to this particular college campus.

Honesty is the only policy

The application essay is not a résumé, nor is it an epic. And by “not an epic,” I mean both  “not fiction” and “not a grand adventure story about an extraordinary protagonist.” Some students might feel pressured to invent tragic past experiences or monumental achievements to heighten the emotional appeal of their essays, but admission officers can detect bovine feces. They also don’t expect you to have survived trauma or carried out heroic feats by your senior year in high school. So always represent yourself in the best way possible, but make sure you keep that depiction truthful.  

“To paint the lily … Is wasteful and ridiculous excess”

Remember what Salisbury says to the crown and Pembroke in Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of King John (1595), which I know you’re intimately familiar with and can quote by rote:

To descry your plans for achieving world peace,
To say a spork is but a metaphor for life,
Or to hint that an aglet is a fair symbol of your soul
Is slick and unctuous smarm. (4.2.11–14)

OK, that is in no way a direct quotation, nor is it anything close to blank verse, but trust me: the bard would want you to avoid trying to anticipate what the admission staff want to read. So don’t try to be too clever or cutesy in your essay, and don’t try to embellish a perfectly simple story. “We’re trying to discern whether you can you put thoughts on paper in a coherent manner,” says Southwestern University’s Vice President for Strategic Recruitment and Enrollment Tom Delahunt. “The topic doesn’t have to be heavy, like death, dying, or a debilitating illness. It can be light and still give us an indication that you can write and effectively communicate.” Everyday experiences can be meaningful, and youshould describe how a particular difficult conversation affected your thinking about cultural differences or how collecting antique typewriters helps you see technology in a different way. But don’t exaggerate the significance of your experience; the effect it’s had on your personal growth does not need to be elevated to the level of global impact.

And don’t try to use sesquipedalian (SAT alert!) vocabulary when you’re a mono- or disyllabic kind of writer; relying on a thesaurus and using words you’re not familiar with are another sure signal of an inauthentic voice.

The rough draft should not be the only draft

The college essay may seem like its own beast—and therefore one that you don’t know how to grapple with—but the writing process is the same as it often is for an academic essay, a blog post, a letter to the editor, or a cover letter: brainstorm, outline, write a rough draft, get critical distance from it, revise it, edit it, and proofread it.

Notice that I didn’t say, “write a rough draft, and submit it.” Why shouldn’t you let your essay fly? Because you need to take some time away from it to get some critical distance. For example, in the flurry of a rough draft, you might feel attached to a particular sentence or paragraph, but after stepping away—physically and mentally—from your first effort, you might come back to find that those wonderful turns of phrase don’t really fit the content or tone of the rest of the piece. You’ll be better able to catch those inconsistencies and revise them if you’ve given yourself distance from the essay. You want to make sure that your application is polished and tells a clear, convincing, coherent story about why you belong at XYZ University, so instead of dashing it off and being done with it, give yourself at least a day or two away from it so that you can come back to revise with an alert mind and fresh eyes. Only after you’ve had a chance to review your essay carefully and put the finishing touches on it should you click the submit button.

Get feedback

Another way to get critical distance from your essay is to get criticism. And I don’t mean a slash-and-burn review like you might get from an unreasonable reality-TV competition judge. I’m talking about constructive feedback from trusted friends, family, or mentors. Southwestern University Assistant Director of Admission Rebecca Rother recommends having two people review your essay. The first should be someone “who knows you super well, such as a parent, best friend, close teacher, etc. They will be able to see the essence of you in the story you’ve chosen.” The second reader should be “someone who doesn’t know you as well,” such as “a teacher you haven’t had for a few years, a friend of the family, the librarian at the local library, etc. This will be the person who makes sure that you aren’t missing key details to your story.” Often, the college-application essay is so personal that you can forget that your reader, the admission officer, is practically a stranger and may not recognize the people and places you mention in your essay, so your second reader can help you clarify those unfamiliar references.

Another great trick is to ask your two reviewers to read your essay and then, considering the story you have shared, think of three adjectives to describe you. If those three adjectives reflect the message or self-portrait you intended to depict in your draft, then you are on the right track; if not, then you need to rethink your content.

Use your words—preferably correctly spelled ones

Your grammar and usage do not have to be perfect. However, your essay should be polished and free of conspicuous errors, such as typos and spelling mistakes. In addition to having reviewers spot any issues with clarity and readability, Southwestern University Dean of Admission and Enrollment Services Christine Bowman suggests, “print out your essay, and read it aloud to make sure you have not missed any key words or punctuation. Sometimes we type faster than our thoughts get onto the page.” Seeing your essay printed in hard copy can help you see what you might miss on screen; reading it aloud can help you “hear” errors that your eyes might skip.

Tailor it

This has nothing to do with clothing; this has everything to do with making sure that you’re not sending the same essay to every university. If an admission counselor at Yalevard reads that your wonderful volunteer experience at the local giraffe rehabilitation center makes you a great fit for Stanmouth, then they’re likely to guffaw … right before they chuck your application into the rejection pile. Such mistakes can make you look careless and less than committed to the school. But even beyond just mentioning the correct names of schools, do your research to find out what makes each university the right fit for you. Clarifying specific aspects of each college’s curriculum, special programs, student organizations, athletic teams, or other opportunities and why they are an ideal match for your interests and values can impress admission staff that you’re serious about their institution. (Pro tip: you’ll want to remember this tip when you write cover letters and even résumés for internships and jobs; customizing your content to specific employers is always key.)

All that said …

Earlier, I mentioned that you shouldn’t make mountains out of molehills within your essay. Similarly, don’t exaggerate the importance of the essay itself: it is only one part of your college application, and it is rarely the sole reason a student gets admitted or denied. A particularly strong essay won’t balance out a consistent record of underwhelming academic performance, and a less-than-award-winning essay will not necessarily cancel out an otherwise stellar application filled with excellent grades, commitment to community service, and compelling recommendations. Admission staff aren’t looking for the perfect topic or essay; rather, they just want to get a better sense of each applicant’s passions, opinions, and ways of thinking so that they can fill each incoming class with a diverse group of interesting classmates and roommates. So work hard and carefully on your college-application essay, but don’t obsess over it.

Best of luck!

What’s new at High Point University (NC)?

I hope your fall and school year have gotten off to a great start. It continues to be an exciting time of positive change and transformation at High Point University. The newWanek School of Undergraduate Sciences building that will house our Biology, Chemistry and Physics majors is well underway, under roof and will open next summer. The Caine Conservatory which will have a working greenhouse and support botanical research is also underway and will open next summer. We broke ground in September on the Qubein Sports Arena and Conference Center that will open in the winter of 2020. Along with these amazing physical changes on campus, I have another exciting update to share with you.
The High Point University Faculty Admissions Committee and President Qubein unanimously supported our move to and continued offering of ‘Test Optional’ admissions. In fact, over a quarter of our enrolled freshmen this fall applied test optional.
As a university committed to weaving students into the family, HPU has always considered each prospective student on a variety of factors. These include, but are not limited to: GPA, demonstrated interest in attending HPU, community involvement, academic achievement, leadership demonstration, extracurricular activities, a series of essay submissions and the rigor of their high school. Transitioning to ‘test optional’ reflects the university’s dedication to review the character and full abilities of each applicant in the admissions process. It is also supported by data which shows GPA is a stronger indicator of success rather than SAT or ACT scores. HPU will look for test optional students who work hard, have achieved in the classroom and are prepared for success in college.
Under the test optional program, submitting SAT or ACT scores in the application for admission will be optional. However, in awarding our Presidential Scholarships (from $7,000 per year to full tuition per year) and selecting top students for our Honors Scholar Program, test scores will be required. Test Optional students with strong GPA’s may still qualify for High Point Scholarships.
We appreciate you sharing this exciting news with students and families. Our admissions counselors look forward to sharing more about this and many other exciting changes that benefit students at High Point University with you as they travel to your area this fall.
Best regards,
D. Andrew Bills
Senior Vice President for Enrollment

What’s new at Lebanon Valley College (PA)?


New Health Professions Pavilion Opens

The College officially opened the new Jeanne and Edward H. Arnold Health Professions Pavilion, which is home to our athletic trainingexercise science, and physical therapy programs. This $20 million academic building shows LVC’s commitment to the health professions field.

LVC Listed #1 For Getting a Job

Career guidance site Zippia has identified Lebanon Valley College as #1 among all U.S. colleges and universities in its listing of “The Best Colleges in Each State for Getting a Job 2018.” The placement rate for Lebanon Valley is 96.185%, according to College Scorecard data.

Largest Class Ever

The College welcomed a record-breaking 518 new students this fall, exceeding last year’s incoming student group, which was then the largest in the College’s history. The cohort includes 473 first-year students and 45 transfers.

NOW: Next-Level Career Counseling

The new Edward and Lynn Breen Center for Graduate Success offers a developmental model for students to connect networking, internship coordination, professional skill-building, and one-on-one advising with their academics.
Try Our New Scholarship Calculator

Try Our New Scholarship Calculator

Students now have a new tool to help them estimate costs. Our scholarship calculator uses SAT scores and GPA to estimate financial aid packages.
Spend Time at LVC This Summer

Fall Visit Opportunities Start Soon

Students can select from a variety of visit opportunities this fall, including open houses, personal tours, and specific events focused around their major.
Opportunities to Visit The Valley

Discover More LVC Campus News

Visit our website to keep up with the latest happenings about student internships, success stories of our graduates, significant events, and more.
www.lvc.edu  |  1-800-LVC-4ADM  |  717-867-6181

Ohio Wesleyan University Updates

I write today to introduce myself and to share a few quick updates about Ohio Wesleyan that I hope will help you in your work. I’ll start with the updates:

$30,000 MERIT SCHOLARSHIP –We are pleased to announce we are renewing our expanded scholarship program for 2018-2019 to ensure top students have access to the kind of personalized, challenging, hands-on educational experience that OWU offers. Students with a minimum 3.4 grade point average and an 1150 SAT or 23 ACT score will again receive an automatic $30,000 Branch Rickey Scholarship, renewable for four years.

Students who are close to meeting these requirements will qualify for merit awards starting at $20,000. For additional information, please click here.

OFF-CAMPUS INTERVIEWS– Ohio Wesleyan is offering many off-campus interviews this fall. Students are invited to register online to meet with us at www.owu.edu/oci.

And just a quick note about me. I’m pleased to have joined Ohio Wesleyan in August, coming from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. In addition, I am the 2018-19 president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and I am passionate about the importance of higher education, especially the liberal arts. I also have a high school senior involved in the college search process – making me doubly appreciative of all you and your colleagues do!

I hope to meet you in person soon. In the meantime, if I can ever be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


Stefanie Niles, Ed.D.
Vice President of Enrollment and Communications
Ohio Wesleyan University

Stefanie D. Niles, Ed.D.

Vice President for Enrollment and Communications
President, National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
Email: sdniles@owu.edu
Office: (740) 368-3025
Web: owu.edu
Ohio Wesleyan University
61 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015

Ohio Wesleyan University
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  • U.S. News & World Report Top 100 Liberal Arts University
  • One of 44 Colleges That Change Lives
  • Forbes Magazine Ranks Ohio Wesleyan First in Ohio, 17th in Nation on List of ‘America’s Most Entrepreneurial Colleges 2015’

Discover Beloit College (WI)

Here’s how Beloit ranked across these 3 categories.

Learn More about Admissions at Beloit College

In its 2018 rankings, Washington Monthly ranked Beloit College #38 out of the top 228 liberal arts colleges in the country (You can find a PDF of the full ranking sheet attached). We’re proud to be recognized by a ranking guide that is committed to comparing 4-yr colleges and universities based on what they’re contributing to the public good, across three equally weighted categories. Below, we’ve included a quick breakdown of why we jumped nearly 60 spots from our 2017 ranking (#95) to land at #38 in 2018:

Social Mobility. We’re committed to making a Beloit education more affordable for all students.

  • To find out more about merit-based scholarships and need-based aid, visit our Financial Aid page.
  • To find out more about our Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusiveness’ programs for students who are first-generation college students, from a low-income background, have a documented disability, and/or are domestic minorities, click here.

Research. We have a significant number of faculty (and students!) who are producing cutting edge research, and a significant number of students who go on to earn their PhDs.

Service. We encourage Beloiters to be engaged citizens in their communities.

Offering an affordable, top-notch education for students who are looking to be change makers in their communities. That’s what Beloit is all about.

To see whether Beloit might be in your area soon, click here to view our counselors’ travel schedules.

Like Beloit College on Facebook. Follow Beloit College on Twitter.
Friend Beloit College on Snapchat.
Follow Beloit College on Instagram. Subscribe to Beloit College on Youtube.

Beloit College: Be More, Be Remarkable

Ph: 608-363-2500 - Beloit College – 700 College Street, Beloit, WI 53511

October is Bullying Prevention Month

In support of National Bullying Prevention Month, W. W. Norton & Company is proud to share tips and strategies to support your school’s ongoing efforts to create a positive climate and build social and emotional competence.

Click on the image below to download a PDF to share with your community.

While no magic cure-all exists, educators and parents can implement quick and easy techniques that make a huge difference in the lives of kids. 

20% off and free shipping on all our books containing tips, tools, and strategies for bullying prevention and intervention.

Simply add the desired books to your cart and the code nobully18 will be applied at checkout.

University of Washington Says, “Welcome Back!”

University of Washington
UW Counselor Connection

  • Welcome back!
  • Coalition webinar Oct 3 – see what’s new
  • Computer science expands freshman admission
  • Direct to College (Engineering) admitted student stats
  • New staff members joining recruitment team
  • Redesigned admissions website
University Of Washington Students
Welcome back!
New Huskies take annual “W” photo after Convocation (Sept. 23, 2018)
This fall, the University of Washington welcomed the largest freshman class in UW history.
Coalition webinar October 3
Join us for a webinar October 3 at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time to learn about changes to how students self-report their coursework (including reporting Running Start and other dual credit courses) and more. Advance registration requested.
Computer science expands freshman admission
Beginning with the freshman class of 2019, the largest pathway into the computer science major at the UW will be via direct admission. The expansion of the Direct to Major program for computer science assures more freshmen at the point of admission that they can pursue computer science. Additionally, it will provide students with an improved four-year experience, beginning in the first year.

To be considered for the Direct to Major program for computer science, students must list computer science as their first-choice major on the UW application. Many applicants who list computer science as their first-choice major will be admitted to the UW but not directly admitted to computer science. While some space will remain for them, as well as those who wish to apply to computer science later in their academic careers, those opportunities will be correspondingly fewer. Therefore, students enrolling at UW without direct admission to computer science should be prepared to pursue a different major. Some students choose related majors, such as informatics, applied and computational mathematical science, geographical information systems and others. The Allen School also offers a range of courses, including upper-division courses, for non-majors that may supplement other interests.

New Admissions website
This summer we redesigned the Admissions website to include new pages for you and your students.

If you have bookmarked any UW Admissions pages, please note that some URLs have changed and may need to be updated.
Direct to College (Engineering) admission statistics
Beginning with the autumn 2018 applicant pool, students who listed engineering as their first-choice major on their UW application were considered for Direct to College admission in the College of Engineering. The results of that first cycle are in, and 58% of students who were admitted to the UW and who requested engineering majors were admitted Direct to College with the assigned major of “Engineering Undeclared.” The following ranges apply to those students.

High school GPA: 3.3-4.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
ACT: 20-36
SAT (EBW + M): 1050-1600

New staff members joining recruitment team
The Office of Admissions has experienced some transition this summer. Matt Bishop, Isabel Bethke and Joseph Fisher left us for graduate school and a job at UCSD. However, we’re very pleased to announce the appointment of two new staff members.

  • Aubrey Weaver, Assistant Director of Admissions (Meet Aubrey)
  • Alishia Ruff, Admissions Counselor (Meet Alishia)

Quick Takes from Wittenberg University (OH)



Fountain at Entrance

Important Dates:

Fall Visit Days: Oct. 19, Nov. 2, and Nov. 12
Early Decision Deadline: Nov. 1

Early Action Deadline: Dec. 1

Message from the Vice President

Carola Thorson

Wittenberg University takes engaged action to the next level. Simply have a conversation with a Witt student and you will hear about their program of study plus the activities they are actively participating in, or in many cases, leading. Our community of learners brings conversations from the classroom into their student organizations and likewise brings their leadership skills from student organizations into their academic settings. The symbiotic relationship and value of what happens in and outside of the classroom is often what draws students to our vibrant campus in Springfield. And this is why I’m thrilled to begin my role as vice president of enrollment management at Wittenberg University.

You play an important role in the college search process and we are grateful for your partnership. I want to draw your attention to two updates:

  1. We will soon launch The One Thing, a new monthly e-newsletter designed to give you the most important news about Wittenberg in a quick and concise way. The first issue will be dropping in late October.
  2. Be sure to check our fall travel schedule and encourage students who could be future Wittenberg Tigers to come visit!

Thanks again for all you do and best wishes for a successful year.

Carola Thorson
Vice President for Enrollment Management

BSN Program Receives Approval

Nursing Pin

With the need for more nurses intensifying nationally, Wittenberg now offers its own four-year, fully self-contained Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. The liberal arts-inspired nursing program has been approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing, Ohio Department of Higher Education, and Higher Learning Commission. LEARN MORE

Wittenberg Offers Student Referral Award

Students at Activities Fair

Prospective students who are referred to Wittenberg prior to submitting an application for admission may be eligible to receive a $1,000 Wittenberg Referral Award. To qualify, the student must be referred by a Wittenberg alumnus, alumna, current student, or parent; a Lutheran pastor, rostered leader, youth minister, or layworker; or a 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering Adult Leader. LEARN MORE

 Did You Know?

Myers Hall

The Wittenberg Office of Admission now uses Slate as its customer relationship management (CRM) system. School counselors have free access to slate.org, a tool that allows you to manage your school profile data with colleges and universities, plan visits with admission representatives, and securely submit materials directly to institutions. LEARN MORE






Georgia Tech Fall Minute

Happy Fall!

By now, I’m guessing your tan is fading and you are knee-deep in traveling college reps. First, thank you for the bottle of water and warm reception. It’s always nice to see a friendly face on the road. I have to be honest with you, though, in visiting schools, I’m always moderately depressed. Sure, it’s partly the number of out-of-tune tubas and lack of appreciation for references to John Hughes movies, but it’s more so the anxiety surrounding the admission process.

Our goal is to be a transparent resource and to assist in calming families’ nerves, so we created a video to help them better understand how we review applications. We hope irony will work its magic and demonstrate through animated characters that admission is actually a very human and personal experience. We also consistently tackle these topics on our blog.

Finally, our Early (some may argue too early) Action deadline is October 15. That is also the deadline for students who wish to be considered for the Stamps President’s Scholars Program.

Go Jackets!
Rick Clark signature
Rick Clark
Director of Undergraduate Admission
First-Year Application Information
We have a few important bits of information regarding our admission process this year:

  • The Early Action (non-binding) deadline is October 15, and the Regular Decision deadline is January 1. As you know, we will not read every application on October 16, so please submit your portion(s) as soon as possible following the application deadline(no later than December 1 for Early Action applicants).
  • While students may not specifically apply for the summer term, we do enroll a summer first-year class of 400 students.
  • Students may self-report their test scores via the Common Application or Coalition Application for us to utilize in file review. Only if the student is accepted and chooses to enroll at Georgia Tech must they submit official test scores.
Progress and Service
What do cybersecurity skills, a long-distance girlfriend, competitive spirit, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation have in common? Ask Ryan.
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Office of Undergraduate Admission • Georgia Institute of Technology • Atlanta, GA 30332-0320