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Practical, up-to-date interviews with experts in college admissions, financial aid, personal statements, test prep and more. Ethan Sawyer (aka College Essay Guy), interviews deans of admission, financial aid experts, and veterans of the admissions field to extract, then distill their advice into practical steps for students and those guiding them through the process. From creating an awesome college list to appealing a financial aid letter, Ethan skips the general advice and gets right to th ...
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The College Essay Advisors Podcast

College Essay Advisors

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Join College Essay Advisors' Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, and Director of Advising, Becca Myers, for the inside scoop on all things college essay-related – from brainstorming tips to real time essay reviews. This is your chance to go behind the scenes at CEA and discover what admissions is really looking for!
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Today’s episode is all about writing letters of recommendation for teachers and counselors. Continuing our series on What Colleges Want, Tom Campbell (CEG’s Community Manager) is joined by Hanah Lim (CEG’s Director of Workshops and a former high school English teacher), where they provide their tips, tricks, and hacks to help you write more efficie…
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This week, Tom Campbell (CEG’s Community Manager) is joined by Ayesha King (Director of College Counseling at the International School of Los Angeles) to talk about letters of recommendation. They get into: What goes into a letter of recommendation? How are they evaluated by colleges? Who should students consider asking, and how do they ask? What c…
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On today’s episode, Ethan is joined by Christine Bowman, Assistant VP for Admission at Southwestern University. In part 6 in our series on What Colleges Want, Ethan and Christine get into: What is demonstrated interest and how do colleges track it? How important is demonstrated interest to a student’s chance of getting in? How might students find o…
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On this week’s episode, Tom Campbell (CEG’s Community Manager) sits down with Ethan Sawyer (College Essay Guy) for Part 5 in our What Colleges Want series to talk about some of the other written parts of the application—the activities list, additional information section, and supplemental essays. Tom and Ethan get into: How can students write a gre…
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On this week’s episode, Tom Campbell (CEG’s Community Manager) sits down with Ethan Sawyer (College Essay Guy) for Part 4 in our What Colleges Want series to talk about the personal statement. According to the latest State of College Admission report – after grades, course rigor, and positive character traits (see previous episodes), the college es…
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In today’s two-part episode, we’re delving into one of the potentially more confusing aspects of what colleges want — “positive character attributes” — which 65.8% of colleges give considerable or moderate importance. In part 1, I’m joined by Tom Bear (VP for Enrollment at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) and Bob Massa (former chief admissions/…
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On today’s episode, Tom Campbell (CEG’s Community Manager) and Nitzya Cuevas-Macias (Director of College Programs at Downtown College Prep) cover: How do students decide which classes to take—and what questions should they ask when deciding? Key recommendations for selecting English, math, science, social studies, language, and elective courses The…
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Show Notes On today's episode, Ethan sits down with David Hawkins, Chief Education and Policy Officer at National Association of College Admission Counselors (aka NACAC), and they get discuss, among other things: What are the most important factors colleges consider? What significant changes has he seen in the college admission landscape in the pas…
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On today’s episode, Ethan is joined by Amanda Miller, who got her start in financial aid through the College Advising Corps at Davidson College in 2014. A few thousand students, several resources, and dozens of financial aid presentations later, Amanda’s an independent financial aid specialist and college adviser who also serves as the financial ai…
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In today’s episode, Tom Campbell (CEG’s Community Manager) and Susan Tree (a college counseling and admissions legend with 40+ years of experience) chat about “intellectual curiosity”: a quality that many colleges actively look for in students, yet is a little more ambiguous and nuanced compared to mapping out a high school course plan. This is par…
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Hey all, today’s episode is a special one. We had one of our rockstar essay coaches, Shira Harris, sit down with two of her former Matchlighter students, Milena Veliz and Sayem Kamal, to discuss their experiences navigating the college application process as First Generation Low Income Students. At the time of the recording, Milena was an incoming …
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On Season 1 of the podcast, Ethan had a great conversation with Maria Furtado, then Executive Director of the Colleges That Change Lives organization (also known as “CTCL”). It’s a lovely chat and to date one of our most downloaded episodes. On today’s episode Ethan had the pleasure of sitting down with her successor, Ann Marano, and they get into:…
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On today’s episode, Tom Campbell (CEG’s Community Manager) hosts the first installment of a new series called Regional Spotlights, which will bring on college counseling experts who have deep history or knowledge of the exciting college options from (and cultural nuances of) a particular geographic region. We’re kicking off this series with College…
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My guest is Katie Andersen, a former NCAA Division 1 Women’s Soccer player at Duke University, who now advises student-athletes through her organization, College Fit OC. She’s also the co-founder of The Student-Athlete Advisors, which focuses on educating and mentoring educational consultants who advise college-bound student-athletes. Our conversat…
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Join Stacey and Becca as they discuss the 2023-24 Yale University supplemental essay prompts. Part 2 of 2! Access our 2023-24 Yale University Supplemental Essay Guide: https://www.collegeessayadvisors.com/supplemental-essay/yale-university-2023-24-supplemental-essay-prompt-guide/ Watch some of our YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ma…
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Join Stacey and Becca as they discuss the 2023-24 Yale University supplemental essay prompts. Part 1 of 2! Access our 2023-24 Yale University Supplemental Essay Guide: https://www.collegeessayadvisors.com/supplemental-essay/yale-university-2023-24-supplemental-essay-prompt-guide/ Watch some of our YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ma…
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Join Stacey and Becca as they discuss this summer's SCOTUS Ruling on Affirmative Action, the ramifications for students of color (and the education system as a whole), and provide guidance to applicants wondering how to (or whether to) use the written components of the application to offer admissions additional context regarding their background an…
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On this episode I had the honor of sitting down with Sam and Shannon Bergeron. Sam is a transgender man who transitioned in high school (in Texas) and who now works in college admissions at his alma mater, Hampshire College. Shannon is Founder of Core College Consulting, where she specializes in using a whole child college counseling™ approach. She…
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Join Stacey and Becca as they discuss the final two 2023-24 Harvard University supplemental essay prompts that applicants must respond to in 200 words or fewer. Access our 2023-24 Harvard University Supplemental Essay Guide: https://www.collegeessayadvisors.com/supplemental-essay/harvard-university-2023-24-supplemental-essay-prompt-guide/ Watch som…
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Join Stacey and Becca as they discuss the first three (out of five) 2023-24 Harvard University supplemental essay prompts that applicants must respond to in 200 words or fewer. Access our 2023-24 Harvard University Supplemental Essay Guide: https://www.collegeessayadvisors.com/supplemental-essay/harvard-university-2023-24-supplemental-essay-prompt-…
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On today’s episode I got to sit down with Rick Diaz, the Regional Director of Admission for Southern Methodist University (SMU) and someone I’ve known for more than 15 years. We have a pretty wide ranging discussion that covers: A behind-the-scenes look at how SMU reads applications and how they shape a class—and what that even means Then we dive i…
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Join Stacey and Becca as they share some of their favorite brainstorming exercises to get the ideas flowing. Part 2 of 2! Watch some of our YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MaLsIu1vdE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6VxiKDeqQc Work one-on-one with an Advisor from our team: https://www.collegeessayadvisors.com/one-on-one-advising/ F…
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Join Stacey and Becca as they share some of their favorite brainstorming exercises to get the ideas flowing. Part 1 of 2! Watch some of our YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MaLsIu1vdE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6VxiKDeqQc Work one-on-one with an Advisor from our team: https://www.collegeessayadvisors.com/one-on-one-advising/ F…
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In this episode I sat down with TED speaker Tina Yong to talk about why students don’t have to write about trauma in a college essay to stand out—and what they can do instead. We discussed, among other things: Tina’s experience as an immigrant/racialized person feeling the pressure to turn her personal story into a personal statement with a linear,…
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Join Stacey and Becca as they discuss the Common App’s seventh and final prompt option, which asks applicants to share an essay on any topic of their choice. Watch some of our YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MaLsIu1vdE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6VxiKDeqQc Work one-on-one with an Advisor from our team: https://www.collegeessa…
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Today is a special episode in that it’s bilingual—the first part is in Spanish, the second part in English. My guest is Lorenzo Gamboa (Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach at Santa Clara University) and we’re discussing some of the things he believes Latinx families should know as they prepare for college. Hoy es un episodio especial porq…
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Join Stacey and Becca as they discuss the Common App’s sixth prompt option (out of seven), which asks applicants to describe a topic, idea, or concept they find so engaging that it makes them lose all track of time. Watch some of our YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MaLsIu1vdE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6VxiKDeqQc Work one-on-…
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In this episode we’re talking about the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down race-conscious admission and what the implications might be for colleges, students applying to those colleges, and the counselors who advise them. And what better person to talk about it with than Jay Rosner, whose entire career has been devoted to the intersecti…
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Join Stacey and Becca as they discuss the Common App’s fifth prompt option (out of seven), which asks applicants to discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth. Watch some of our YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MaLsIu1vdE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6VxiKDeqQc Work one-on-one with …
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Join Stacey and Becca as they discuss the Common App’s fourth prompt option (out of seven), which asks applicants to reflect on something that someone has done for them that has made them happy or thankful in a surprising way. Watch some of our YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MaLsIu1vdE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6VxiKDeqQc W…
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Join Stacey and Becca as they discuss the Common App’s third prompt option (out of seven), which asks applicants to reflect on a time when they questioned or challenged a belief or idea. They'll discuss the pitfalls of this prompt (and how to avoid them), as well as the opportunities it presents for self-discovery. Watch some of our YouTube videos:…
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