Category Archives: College Life

The Secret to Gaining Acceptance to the Ivy League by Kristen Moon

Most high school seniors have college admissions on their mind. Many students have the same desire: opening an acceptance letter which says “Welcome to Harvard”.

It is no easy feat to be accepted to the Ivy League and top-tier universities throughout the U.S.

The admission rate for Stanford University hovers around 4%. It is not uncommon for a valedictorian to be rejected. The valedictorian, and their parents, are always shocked when this occurs. How could a student with a perfect GPA and test scores be rejected?

The answer is simple.

There are nearly 40,000 high schools across the country. That means 40,000 valedictorians. With only eight Ivy League universities, the number of valedictorians is more than three times the number of open slots. What this means is that these highly selective universities turn down students who are “perfect on paper” all the time. Being valedictorian is great, but it is definitely not enough to warrant admission to the most selective colleges in the country.

Academics are the first hurdle to overcome in the college admissions process, but there are additional hurdles.

Countless parents and counselors advise their students to be well-rounded, in terms of their academics, participation in sports, volunteering, extracurricular activities, etc.

I suggest that you do the exact opposite.

Most students, and people in general, work hard on improving their weaknesses. They try to present an adequate skill level across all areas. As a result, they are mediocre at most things. The well-rounded strategy backfires in most cases because the student comes across to the admissions officers as average in all fields and does not shine in any one field.

Harvard is not an average college, so why would they accept an average student?

I advise that students work diligently on their strengths. Forget about striving to be well-rounded. I see “pointy” students gain admission to the top universities in the country. They are exceptional in one, maybe two areas.

This strategy takes time to implement; it requires persistence and dedication to become a specialist in your field, and that is the exact reason why it is so extraordinary. The first time Tiger Woods picked up a golf club he was not a pro. Even Pablo Picasso had to start somewhere.

The university wants to know that you are willing to put in consistent, sustained effort in your chosen field until you achieve the kind of success that makes you stand out amongst your peers. ‘Pointy’ students demonstrate that they have the direction, the passion and have laid the groundwork to do this, and that is why they are preferred candidates for any university.

Top universities seek specialists: individuals who are so driven by one aspect or one field that they are enthusiastic about devoting their entire time and attention to achieve outstanding results in that area.

By choosing different students with ambition, initiative and demonstrated skills in different areas, the college builds a class that is well-rounded yet made up of ‘pointy’ students.

I will let you in on another secret.

The most innovative companies in the world – such as Apple, Google, and Amazon – follow the same strategy. They hire “pointy” candidates.

The “pointy” students stand out, not just in college admissions, but in life.

About the author:
Kristen Moon is an independent college counselor and founder of Moon Prep provides one-on-one counseling services catered to university admissions. They guide students through the entire application process including: completing applications, personal statements, supplemental essays, student resumes, scholarships, and financial aid. Their specialty lies in the Ivy League, direct medical programs (BS/MD), and highly competitive universities.

4 Reasons Every College Student Should Consider Studying Abroad By Robyn Scott

The college experience should allow students to start out in a stable and profitable career while also broadening their horizons and introducing them to different cultures and personality types. College helps students transition from adolescence to adulthood and gives them an opportunity to take advantage of myriad different experiences that exposes them to new environments and ideas. One of the best ways for students to broaden their horizons is by taking a semester abroad. Living in a different country helps students improve foreign language skills while immersing themselves in tons of new cultural experiences that will create memories to last a lifetime.


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Four Ways to Balance Your Social Life with Studies, and Pursue Your Passion at College By Adela Belin

The college phase is widely considered as the golden years of a student’s life. With so much to do and learn, it is the time when a student truly grows as a person. But, often, we have also seen many starry-eyed students go on to become depressed and low in spirits as enough time passes in the university. Things take on a mundane spin, and high-stress levels build up. They face severe mental problems, such as anxiety and depression, and end up being lost and conflicted. To every bright side, there is a dark one. College has the promise to provide you with the best days of your lives, but it can also be the dark chasm you can succumb yourself to if you do not manage things well.

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New Semester? 4 Grade-Saving Necessities You Can’t Afford to Skimp On By Emma Sturgis

You don’t escape back-to-school shopping lists in college. The items you need simply scale up. Rather than shopping for glue sticks and craft paper, you’ll need planning and note taking basics, a tablet or laptop, high-speed Internet service, and an ergonomic desk and chair set. You’ll also need to know how best to implement these tools, so keep reading.

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5 Ways to Prepare for Your First Year of College this Fall By Robyn Scott

Students are on their way to their first year of college and looking forward to all of the exciting things they’ll learn and all the new people they get to meet. In this first adult stage of life many students find the transition to be somewhat overwhelming and end up feeling unprepared. These feelings can take away from the many positive elements of the college experience so it’s better to think about what students can do in order to prepare ahead of time and smooth the transition to post-secondary education.


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What Most Students Miss When It Comes to Campus Security By Eileen O'Shanassy

Most students starting college are both excited and nervous to get started in this new phase of life. Not surprisingly, they have a lot on their minds including classes, extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, and more. Unfortunately, many college students don’t give a thought to the security of their property while away at school. This opens the door for thieves to take advantage of new, unsuspecting students. Consider five security mistakes many students make when they go away to college.

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Dorm Considerations to Look into Your First Year By Eileen O'Shanassy

Living in the dorms can be fun and exciting as a freshman, but it can also be unfamiliar and scary. For many students, this is the first time they have ever been away from home for an extended period of time and the first experience making their way on their own. Here are a few tips that will help you adjust to living in the dorms and on your own for the first time.

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5 Things College Students Can Do this Summer to Graduate on Time By Robyn Scott

Graduating on time is the primary goal of every college student; they get to start their career earlier and avoid paying unnecessary tuition if they can be in and out of college in four years. Unfortunately, it’s a challenge for most students to be able to finish all their requirements in the allotted amount of time. It’s difficult to get into required courses and navigating a path to graduation can be confusing. Fortunately, there are many things students can do over the summer to ensure a timely graduation so they can move on to the next stage of their life.


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Student Finance: Money Saving Tips for University First-Timers By Emma Miller

Going off to college is the time when you’ll acquire some skills that might help you live more comfortably both during your studies and later in your life. One of those skills is managing money and developing financial responsibility. Since many students live on a tight budget, they need to acquire some budget-friendly habits that will help them cut any unnecessary expenses and even increase their savings. Here are some money-saving tips that will make your college life more comfortable and enjoyable.

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Five Reasons College Students Should Work as a Peer Tutor this Summer By Robyn Scott

Many college students choose to work as a peer tutor either to prepare for a career in education or to help their fellow classmates tackle a difficult subject they themselves happen to excel in. Whatever a student’s strengths may be, there are many reasons they should consider working as a peer tutor on their college campus this summer. In addition to helping out fellow students, peer tutors gain valuable experience in leadership, get to review their own academic skills, and build their resume to help them start a career upon graduation.


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