Senior year is full of anxiety and emotion. Seniors often come to us with 2 central questions: “What should I write my essay about?” and “Which schools should I apply to?”


“What should I write my essay about?

Let’s address the first question. The essay is a chance for a college admissions counselor to get to know you, apart from your GPA, SATs and extracurricular activities. Keep in mind that an admissions counselor might spend 5-20 minutes on your whole application, depending on the volume of applicants at that school. A large school will typically spend less time on each application. Since you do not have much time to catch the reader’s attention, your essay should start with a “bang.” Try a quote, a scene description or a dramatic statement. Write about something important to you. However, you should avoid controversy. (Imagine that you write an essay about the importance of gun control, and the person reading your essay owns several guns…) Select a topic that is not too broad. Write about something important to you. Keep the theme of that topic from the beginning to the end of that essay for the sake of coherence.


“Which schools should I apply to?”

To students who are residents of California: you are blessed with an excellent public college system. Whether you apply to CalStates or UCs, you will find strong institutions at a reasonable cost. Make sure you have completed your A-G requirements before applying.

You may also consider applying to some private schools. For example, a small engineering school, a liberal arts college or a Christian college. Please avoid for-profit schools, such as University of Phoenix and Devry, if possible. These schools do not have a strong retention rate.

One excellent resource is . Try out the “College Search” link which will give you a narrow list of schools based on your ideal location, major and school size.

Also, visit at least two colleges during your junior or senior year. Visiting a college helps you envision whether or not you will fit in. Your goal is not to pick the school where your friends go or the school with the best football team. Your goal is to pick a college where you will THRIVE and succeed. When you do a campus tour, you will see if the school is the right fit for you.


In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact us at CEF. We are glad to help! Our email is [email protected]