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4 Steps With myKlovr That Will Help You Write a Compelling College Application Essay

The changing landscape of college admissions

Technology has facilitated many aspects of our lives including college applications. With The Common Application platform, it has become easier than ever to apply to many colleges at the same time. In 2015, According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 36 percent of first-time freshmen applied to seven or more colleges, while 10 years earlier, this number was only 17 percent. What are the consequences of this increase in applications? College applicants can ‘cast their net wider’ and increase their odds of admission. On the other hand, college admissions officers have to review this ever-growing number of applications. The average number to be reviewed is as high as 850 applications per admissions counselor.

These changes pose new challenges for the high school seniors preparing their college applications. Transcripts, grades, and test scores remain very important, and nothing can compensate for poor academic performance. But when there are hundreds of applicants with similar academic results like your own, how can you increase the chances that an admissions officer chooses your application among many? A college application essay may be the answer.

The importance of the application essay

According to the research that we conducted in 2017, an application essay plays an important role in the candidate assessment process. In general, there are three types of essay topics:

  • Tell us about yourself.
  • Tell us why you have chosen to apply to our college.
  • Write a creative essay.

Colleges ask for essays to evaluate students’ writing skills and his or her ability to formulate a logical argument, as well as to learn more about them. This task helps to assess the student’s overall fit with the college, along with understanding how a student can contribute to the college’s community and culture. Last but not least, colleges want to see how well a candidate can complete a major piece of work that assignments like writing an essay constitute.

When working on your essay, you have to make sure that it is well structured and written, factually true, and meets all the formal criteria that a college expects to be met. But an essay is also an opportunity to tell your personal story, engage your reader: the admissions officer. It helps to make you stand out in a crowd of applicants. Just imagine how many essays an admissions counselor has to read. Do not fall into the ‘dull’ category.

At myKlovr, we propose that you take four steps to be better prepared to tell your own story.

1. Discover what makes you special

College admissions officers are not looking for personal essays that are biographies or full of dates and places. They are in search of young people who will be successful in college and will make great contributions to the school.

We believe that everyone is special, but not everyone has discovered what it is that makes them special.

The research that we conducted among college counselors and admissions officers revealed 12 personal qualities that are associated with college success. Six of them, which we call interpersonal, are related to how we interact with other people (e.g. collaboration, empathy, leadership), and the other six, intrapersonal, describe traits in themselves (e.g. enthusiasm, critical thinking, perseverance). In the Personal part of the myKlovr Student Portfolio, you will find a short assessment where we invite you to reflect on which of these character features define you as a person. It is a great idea to ask others for their feedback. Remember that your parents, friends, and teachers may see you differently than what you think.

The objective of the assessment is to help you identify what makes you special and which personal qualities can constitute the main thread of your own story. Do not expect to max out on every personal quality. This is unrealistic and perhaps not very helpful when you want to tell a unique and compelling personal story.

2. Don’t tell, prove it

Admissions officers are skeptical by nature. They need to be great listeners but equally, they need to read between the lines and to separate ‘the wheat from the chaff’. They will expect you not only to tell them how great of a candidate you are, but to prove it and convince them of this.

How do you do that? With facts. Your myKlovr Student Portfolio has a few sections where you can capture your experiences, roles, achievements and recognition that you were awarded. These parts are there so that when you are writing your essay, you can look there for evidence that endorses your story. Claiming that you have great leadership skills is one thing, but explaining how you organized a group of fellow students to clean up your neighborhood’s  animal shelter after it was flooded is quite something else.

Sometimes, it is hard to remember these events when you need them. Details may be difficult to recall. This is why we encourage you to include all these events in your Student Portfolio. You will not need to use them all, but a well selected, relevant story can give your essay a lot of credibility and make it a more memorably engaging read for an admissions officer.

3. Engage through storytelling

Everybody has heard about the power of storytelling. Human beings pay more attention and better remember stories than data. In fact, our ancestors accumulated and passed knowledge on from generation to generation via stories; think only of the ancient Greek mythology or the Bible.

Once you have chosen what personal qualities will provide the backbone for your own story, and selected the facts and events to substantiate them, it is time to articulate your story. The ‘About Me’ part of your myKlovr Student Portfolio is there specifically to help you put together, practice, and elaborate your story. Start writing it early and come back to change and improve it as often as you want. Invite other people to read it and offer you their advice. If you do that early enough, you will be less nervous in your senior year.

We also encourage you to produce a personal video. All it takes is a script that you can write yourself, a smartphone (plus a tripod if you want to be really fancy), and a free YouTube account. Why would you produce a video? Just think about an admissions officer who is reading through a pile of essays. Wouldn’t it be a welcome change for them to check out an applicant’s video and see a real human face? Your video (must be under 2 minutes or otherwise few people will watch it) gives you an opportunity to connect with an admissions counselor, tell your story, convey your emotions, and ultimately be remembered.

4. Share your vision

Colleges look into their applicants’ pasts, but also assess their future students’ and graduates’ chances. Once a college admits you, they really want you to do well and graduate successfully. They care because a graduation rate. It is an important indicator that affects a school’s reputation.

Admissions officers would like to know what your vision of your future is so that they can assess if their college is the right place for you to achieve your goals. If you love animals and want to become a veterinarian, and they do not offer a relevant major, there would be high likelihood that you’d not be happy at their college and transfer to another one – something that colleges do not like.

In your myKlovr Student Portfolio, we have included a section entitled ‘Statement of Purpose’. We invite you to write about your future here. What do you want to achieve in life? How do you want to get there? What is a college of your dreams? What majors are you excited about? These reflections are important for two reasons. First, they will help you formulate your expectations, and secondly, you will be much better prepared to choose a college that is right for you. Moreover, you will be able to convincingly explain to an admissions officer why you are applying to their college and how you expect it to help you achieve your life’s destination.

Nobody can write your college application essay for you better than you will because an authentic and emotionally engaging essay has to come from a true source.

Welcome to myKlovr! How to Make the Most of Your Membership

MyKlovr is a first-of-its-kind college counseling technology solution for college-bound high-school students. Our single-minded focus is to help every myKlovr user increase their chances of college admission.

Why is it important to us? 90% of 15 million high-school students in the US are planning to go to college. But over 20% of them never enroll in college. Then, over 40% of college students do not obtain a degree within six years of starting college. Eventually, college graduates are left with the burden of student loan debts of $40,000 on average.

On the other hand, having a college degree is getting more and more important. Studies demonstrate that a college graduate earns $22,000 more per year than a high-school graduate. Education opens doors to more opportunities and helps find satisfaction and fulfillment in life.

At myKlovr we want to help every student achieve their education goals. Using myKlovr is not difficult and follows a simple process:

 

 

At the beginning, a myKlovr user needs to tell us something about themselves so that we can understand their strengths, opportunities, interests, ambitions, etc. This is the role of the Student Portfolio.

Based on that information, our artificial intelligence formulates personalized Goal Recommendations for every user. This is our digital college prep.

Finally, every myKlovr user needs to decide which Goal Recommendations they want to focus on. Thus, they build their own, unique Action Plan, which will increase their chances of college admission.

There are 9 steps to make the most of your myKlovr membership:

  1. Your Student Portfolio Overview
  2. The Academic Part of Your Student Portfolio
  3. The Personal Part of Your Student Portfolio
  4. The Career Part of Your Student Portfolio
  5. The About Me Part of Your Student Portfolio
  6. Your Goal Recommendations
  7. Your Goals
  8. Your College Finder
  9. Your Account

 

Step 1 – Why is Your Student Portfolio So Important?

Your Student Portfolio is the first thing you should use once you have become a myKlover’ian.  Until you enter at least some of the information, we can’t provide you with any counseling or advice. This is how it works:

Your Student Portfolio consists of four parts that I am going to review them in the four following topics. Why so many? Because college admissions are not only about grades and test scores. Good grades are not always enough. And not-so-good grades don’t have to be a road block, if you tell a compelling personal story. This is what your myKlovr Student Portfolio is for.

As you start building your Student Portfolio keep in mind the following:

  • Most students complete the Academic part first, but you can start wherever you want
  • You don’t have to complete the whole lot in one sitting
  • The more detailed your input, the better your myKlovr Goal Recommendations
  • Keep your Student Portfolio up-to-date so that your Goal Recommendations remain useful.

The best way to use your Student Portfolio is to start early and keep fine-tuning it as much as you want. You are crafting your personal story so that when you submit your college applications you tell your unique story, that will make you stand out in a crowd of applicants.

 

Step 2 – The Academic Foundation of Your Student Portfolio

Academic performance is not everything when you apply to college. But it is still very, very important. College admissions officers pay a lot of attention to your transcripts, test scores, etc. We know what colleges look for and will provide you with guidance that will put you in the best possible position as a college applicant.

Many students complain that when they start preparing their college applications they can’t find all the required grades, scores, etc. Guess what. Now, you can keep it all in your myKlovr Portfolio.

A tip before you dive in: Always keep your data up-to-date. Otherwise, myKlovr Goal Recommendations will become obsolete.

The Academic part of your Student Portfolio has the following sections:

  • Current School – This is a part of your individual profile.
    Include your most recent GPAs. For myKlovr, the Academic GPA covers only core academic classes (English, math, science, social studies), while the Overall one includes all classes.
  • Standardized Test Scores
    Almost all colleges require SAT or ACT scores and they are one of the first things that admission officers look at. Put in all tests that you have taken, including PSATs and Pre-ACT.
  • Transcripts
    Provide us with your course grades as of your 8th grade. Colleges want to know your entire high school history and evaluate the trends / changes from one year to another.
  • Advanced Courses & Exams
    Honors and APs are a proof of your academic excellence and help you stand out. Schools will often weight advanced course grades higher than the regular ones for your GPA.
  • Language and Writing Skills
    This is your self-assessment. You may ask other people, including your teachers, for their feedback.
  • Academic Achievements & Awards
    Brag about the accolades that you have won. They can become an important part of your personal essay.

Always keep your data up-to-date. Otherwise, myKlovr Goal Recommendations will become obsolete.

 

Step 3 – The Personal Aspects of Your Student Portfolio

It is amazing how much your passions, interests etc. can help your admission chances. But you need to tell a concise and compelling story. This is what the Personal part of your Student Portfolio is going to help you with.

The first four sections here cover Cross-Cultural Experience, Extracurricular Activities, Volunteering & Community Services and Hobbies & Interests. At the beginning write about everything that you could tell a friend. Nothing is insignificant. Try not to skip any detail like dates, awards, leadership. We ask about them for a reason and we use them in the analysis of your profile. Over time, myKlovr will help you select the activities and events that can most boost your attractiveness as a college applicant.

What follows is an assessment of your Personal Qualities. After talking to many college admissions officers, we have selected 12 that they look for when evaluating college candidates. Don’t think that you are expected to max out on all of them. Nobody does. We want you to understand what your 2-3 top personal qualities are so that when you write your application essay you can tell a unique story of what makes you an amazing candidate.

Last but now least come the Achievements & Awards. It’s bragging time! Include only accolades that are connected to the Personal part of your portfolio. Other recognition belongs to the other parts.

 

Step 4 – Why Do Your Career Interests Matter in Your Student Portfolio

The Career part of your Student Portfolio is there for two reasons.

Firstly, we want to encourage you to think about what you want to do in life. There is no rush. You have plenty of time to decide. But if you know your career preferences, it will be easier to select the right colleges for you.

Most colleges do not expect their applicants to select their career path or even their college major. But they are likely to ask you to explain why you have chosen to apply to their college. When you can talk about your future and how their college can help you get there, it will be easier to convince the admissions counselors that you are the right candidate for their institution.

Secondly, we invite you to capture any internship, work experience or even related recognition, that you may have. Experiences like that give you a taste of what a specific profession can be like. Spend a few weeks at an attorney’s office. Do you still want to be a lawyer? Besides, this is a chapter of your personal story that may connect with an admissions officer at your dream college.

 

Step 5 – About Me Part of Your Student Portfolio: Tell Your Compelling College Applicant Story

The About Me part of your Student Portfolio is what most myKlovr’ians leave at the end. It is short but profound and requires that you think about who you are and who you want to become. The other parts of the Student Portfolio, that we have covered already, are meant to help you in this process of introspection. Think about About Me as your college application cover letter.

Start with My Story. Most students write their story first, change and improve it over time, and record a video shortly before they submit their college applications. But it is a great idea to produce a video early and make it better. All it takes is a smartphone, a YouTube account and some free time. My Story is where you talk about yourself, demonstrate what makes you different and explain why you are an awesome college candidate. Don’t talk about everything. Choose a few things and tell your story in an authentic and emotional way.

The Statement Of Purpose comes next. Focus on your future here. What do you want to achieve in life? What difference do you want to make in the world? Think big and aim high. Remember, it is easier to achieve your goal when you know what it is. It is also easier to engage an admissions officer when you have something engaging to say about your future.

 

Step 6 – Your Goal Recommendations Are the Core of The myKlovr Digital College Prep

Goal Recommendations are the core benefit of our digital college prep. In response to your input in the Student Portfolio our Artificial Intelligence-driven engine formulates these recommendations of focus areas that, when you achieve them, you will significantly increase your chances of college admissions. When you become a Premium user, you will enjoy an advantage here. You can choose a college tier (a group of colleges of similar level of acceptance difficulty) for which specifically you want myKlovr to provide you with Goal Recommendations.

The Goal Recommendations are arranged, just like your Student Portfolio, under Academic, Personal and Career tabs. Click on a Recommendation to see why you have been given it.

You can do two things with a Recommended Goal:

  1. Add it to My Plan, if you accept the recommendation and want to work on it,
  2. Decline it, if you don’t like it or it is not the right time for you to work on it.

Remember, every time you update your Student Portfolio your Goal Recommendations will be updated accordingly so that you always receive the most relevant counseling from myKlovr.

 

Step 7 – Your Goal Is Your Own Commitment to Yourself

Your Goals are what you have decided to do to increase your chances of college admission. But a goal is a goal and you need to be able to work with it.

At the end of your list of goals there is a rectangle with a plus sign. Click on it if you want to create a completely new goal. It can be anything, even something like ‘Wash the dishes every Thursday night’. After a second thought … even though admirable, it probably won’t help you much with your college chances.

When you become a Premium user, you have access to the milestones under every goal. These are steps that you can take to achieve a specific recommended goal.

Another cool feature of My Goals is that you can mark milestones and then entire goals as complete so that at any moment you can see what progress you have made. It helps one’s motivation to see that the work is done, so come back often to check your goals off.

There is one important thing about Your Goals. It will only be useful to you if you do something about it. A goal without any effort put behind it is wishful thinking. A plan that you carry out is progress.

 

Step 8 – Your College Finder Is Like a College Degree Matchmaker

Searching for the right colleges is important but can also be overwhelming and frustrating. Our College Finder is designed to make this process easy. It has seven different sections, each of which offers a range of search criteria. There are a lot of colleges and universities in our database, so you’d better use the filters if you want to find the colleges that are right for you.

You can jump from one search section to another, go back, add, change and remove filters as much as you want. The search results will be continuously updated. If you see very few colleges there, it is because you have added too many search filters, or some criteria are inconsistent. In such case, you need to reduce the number of search criteria or adjust them.

Play with the College Finder as much as you want. Try different searches. Selecting colleges is important because you are choosing a place where you are going to spend an important part of your life. Make sure that you love every day of your college years.

 

Step 9 – Invite Your Parents or Upgrade Your Account

When you click on your photo in the top right corner of the screen (assuming you have uploaded it before) there are a few house-keeping sections there.

The most useful one is ‘Account Settings’. This is where you can update your email and password, check your order history and put in your billing information.

The two most useful features of ‘Your Account’ are ‘Account Type’ and ‘Parents’.

Under ‘Account Type’ you can change your subscription. We have three options for you:

  1. Starter subscription, which is free and mostly used by high school students looking for general guidance and starting to explore their college choices,
  2. Premium subscription ($19.99/month), ideal for those of myKlovr users who are ready to focus on specific college groups and work with detailed prep plans,
  3. Premium-Plus ($99.99/month), for students who want to combine tech-driven college-prep with human, face-to-face counseling.

You may not realize that your parents can also sign up for myKlovr. Obviously, I don’t expect them to use our college guidance for themselves, but they want to support you on your way to higher education. In the ‘Parents’ tab you can invite your parents to join myKlovr, receive their invites and review who you
are connected with.

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