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College Applications: Three Anytime Hacks to Help Your Favorite Student (Your Kid).

Christine Schneider
6 min readSep 17, 2021

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My daughter is strong-willed, independent, self-aware, and very likely to ask me to butt out if advice is given in anything other than a candy-coated, subtle way. So as she was beginning the process of starting her college applications, I wanted to provide general thought guidance, without imposing in a way that would shut me out of the process altogether.

Having been a co-chair of the Brown University Alumni Interviewing Program for six years, I had personally interviewed well over 100 local high school students for admission. And I still remember today, two years after my stint as an interviewer ended, the students who stood out. They were the young people who had reflected on who they were and who they wanted to become. They understood and could talk about how their unique combination of lived experiences, interests, passions and skills had combined to produce beautiful rough cut gem stones who only needed the polish of their college experience to shine. And they knew how to connect what Brown had to offer to what they needed.

There was Max, the German exchange student who came out of his shell while traveling in Spain and who was going to be an engineer. There was Bethany, who had learned to blow glass beads, and had created a beautiful bead reward system for elementary school teachers to use in the Montessori classroom. These students knew who they were, and were able to express this clearly and cogently during our interview, with interesting lived examples of their passions, in a way that was the antithesis of boring.

Here are some tips for somewhat casual conversation with your favorite student that might get them thinking about who they are and how they can express that as they begin the journey of applying to college.

  1. Being Self Aware Is Not Enough. My daughter had a very good idea of who she was and what she loved to do when she was a high school junior. She loved theatre (reading and writing plays, acting, production), fashion and thrifting, and writing. What she did not know was how she was different from every other student who loved theatre, and who was an exceptional writer. Every student has a special mix of talents and quirks. We explored this using the triangle method, which looked a bit…

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Christine Schneider

Atlanta, Georgia. Books, cocktails, theatre, art, writing, music, real estate, but not always in that order. Vice Chair of Board of Actor’s Express Theatre.