Common Sense Approach (CSA) to College Admissions (8th-9th Grade)


The CSA is a 10 week long group program primarily designed for 8th-9th grade students and parents to educate them on the college admissions process. Early exposure to the highly nuanced college admissions "game" can be the difference between making rookie mistakes and thriving on a well thought out strategic plan for the next 3-4 years. Each week, about 40 minutes of the 1-hr. long class is devoted to discussing one new component of the college application. The last 20 minutes are allocated to a Q&A session based on the day's topic. Topics of discussion in the past have been:

  • Session 1: General Overview, The Common App / Coalition App, Academics - Standardized Tests, PSAT, NMSQT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, APs, GPA (unweighted v/s weighted), Class Rank, School Profile, College Courses.
  • Session 2: Extracurricular Activities
  • Session 3: Sports - School Team, Outside the School, Sports Recruitment, Sports Scholarships
  • Session 4: Summer Programs, Work Experience, Internships, Research
  • Session 5: Good Citizenship - Making Caring Common (Turning the Tide)
  • Session 6: Admitted Students’ Profiles from Ivy League + Stanford & MIT
  • Session 7: Recommendation Letters - Academic Teachers, College Counselor, Outside/Additional Recommenders.
  • Session 8: Essays - Common App Personal Statement, College Specific Supplements, Short Answer Prompts.
  • Session 9: Supplemental Material (Earlier Submission Deadlines), Research Abstracts, Art Portfolios, Short Film, Video Montage, Creative Writing Sample, Expanded Resume, Social Media Links
  • Session 10: Misc. Topics; ED/EA/REA, Regular Decision, Legacy Admissions, College Major, Demonstrated Interest, Financial Aid, Student Loan; Admission Interviews; Wrap-up of CSA.