Wednesday, June 10

Show the Colleges WHO You Are!

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
One of the things we tackle at our co-op is high school and college prep counseling.  The book Who is this Kid? Colleges Want to Know! is a great reference tool from The Critical Thinking Co.  It includes suggestions and exercises to help guide the student through the process...

The book is designed to take the panic out of preparing college applications...especially the application essay, interviews, and college visits.  These are the steps that often trip students up as they try to second-guess what colleges want to hear...when they really just want to get to know you and what makes you different from the other hundreds of applicants.

Broken down into a structured process, the authors keep a light tone while offering guidance and wisdom from those who came before.  They offer several activities to help students craft essay and interview responses that will set them apart from other candidates.

Each of these topics is addressed:
  • Student Self-Assessment (including a campus culture quiz)
  • Building the Colleges List (college fairs, campus visits, etc)
  • Applications, Essays & Interviews
  • Calendar for College Admissions

Our son is only a sophomore, but already looking toward college.  He's had the opportunity to complete a couple of college visits as we travel around the country.  We used the form included in this book during one of those visits, and that helped guide him through questions to ask the student giving him the tour.  When asked about it later, he said that it was helpful to have that sheet handy as it jogged his memory.

We've also gone through the essay questions included in the book.  He's not to the essay portions of applications yet, but it never hurts to start talking about these types of questions earlier in high school...that gives the student ample time to consider formatting an answer.  Examples of essays discussed in the book are:
  • What are your three favorite memories from as early as you can remember?
  • What have been the three most important events in your life?
  • Who has influenced you most in your life, and how have they influenced you?
These are all questions that can be answered generically or personalized.  The book walks you through brainstorming answers to these questions and how to format the essay so that it both shows off your intellect and personality.  

In addition to essays, there are practice interview exercises so that the student has an idea of what to expect in an admissions interview.  There is also a practice Common Application and application organizer to help keep your materials straight.

This book is available in either physical or e-book format.  It would make a great base for a teen class in a co-op, and you may use it in a single classroom with up to 40 students per year.  I think it would be fantastic in a Socratic classroom, where you throw out an essay topic or interview question and let the kids discuss freely.  You could even culminate the semester with 'practice' interviews where they show off what they've learned and how they've applied it to themselves.
Find out more about The Critical Thinking Co. at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

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