About This Book


These days, colleges are deluged with applications, and the application process has become something traumatic that students and parents experience together. This book isn't about how to get into college — it's about providing emotional, not tactical, support. The stories in this book are written by kids who have been there and want to pass on their words of support to the kids about to go through the whole ordeal. Story topics include parental and peer pressure, the stress of grades and standardized tests, applications and interviews, recruiting, disappointments, and successes. Parents and students alike will find Getting In... to College a great source of inspiration.

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Five tips to help teens who are applying to college
Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Getting In... to College by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Amy Newmark

For some teens, college is an expected part of growing up. For others, it seems like an unreachable dream. Either way, a lot of stress comes with applying to college. In the 101 stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Getting In... to College, college students and graduates (and a few parents) share their stories about high school planning, taking the SATs and ACTs, visiting schools, applying, waiting and, finally, deciding. Here are five tips for student (and their parents) going through the college application process.

1. Be open to new possibilities. Sourena Vasseghi never thought she'd go away to college. Born with cerebral palsy, she relied on a wheelchair and on her parents for almost every physical task. She assumed moving out and living on campus was impossible, until one of her community college professors suggested she do exactly that. "I must admit, because someone else could see the possibility, I was inspired," Sourena writes. "By saying 'I can't,' I was already beaten; by asking 'how can I?' my brain would automatically churn out possible solutions." Through a lot of problem solving and coordination, Sourena went to the University of Southern California for two years. "I'm proud to say I relied on my positive thinking," she writes, "and made living on my own at university happen."

2. Make sure your application reflects your own thinking. Like a lot of parents, Donna Paulson was excited about her son Josh's college opportunities. Perhaps too excited. Donna e-mailed some prospective college football coaches about Josh's achievements and included a video clip. This didn't go over well – Josh and his guidance counselor were already preparing a letter and DVD to send. Her helpful efforts didn't stop there. She looked over the application essay portions and brainstormed some ideas for her son. When that got no response, she drafted three essays. A few days later, Josh asked her to review one. It wasn't one of hers, but a wonderful essay he had written on his own. "And I realized this was what his senior year and getting ready for college was about," Donna shares. "Me letting go, and my son taking the reins, and both of us knowing he could."

3. Look beyond the school's name. Britt Leigh applied to Northwestern, Dartmouth, Swarthmore, Yale and one safety school: University of Florida. Her first four choices boasted famous graduates and prize-winning professors in her desired field of journalism, but only the University of Florida offered her a scholarship and admission. Britt was disappointed and had her doubts about a public school education, but that spring semester she discovered that she was in the right place after all. "My real dream for college was to find forever friends, balance school and play, and pursue my passions with support," Britt writes. "Maybe I would have gotten those things at the other schools. Maybe not. But ultimately choosing UF meant choosing to give myself the tools to secure my own future, regardless of the name of the school."

4. Be persistent. Becky Povich's son Mark only applied to one college. He knew that he wanted to study math at Washington University in St. Louis, and he did everything he could to make his dream happen. Mark e-mailed and met with the chair of the math department, read math books extensively and applied early decision. Becky and her husband Ron sometimes worried that their son was not being realistic, but supported him 100 percent. When Mark's early decision application was deferred to the spring, they knew more work needed to be done. Mark continued to excel at school and submitted an extra essay that demonstrated how much he wanted to attend. Finally, Mark received a letter of acceptance. "Some dreams do come true," Becky writes, "especially if you work hard enough and walk in the direction of those dreams."

5. Face your fears. Andrea Gosling knew that getting into her dream school, Oxford University, wouldn't be easy. After stressing over what to write in her application essays — "I was trying to predict the unpredictable" — she was invited to interview. She was terrified she'd failed when one scholar tore her ideas to pieces. "Although I managed to hold it together in the interview room, the tears were flowing before the door closed behind me." That's why she was so surprised to receive her acceptance letter. That same scholar later told her something remarkable about her interview. "I needed to see if you would hold your ground, answer back, if you could sustain a conversation with me. You're all here because you saved the tears for after the interview... You need brains — everyone knows that — but you need courage too."

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