November 28, 2018


Welcome back to News and Views! We hope that all of our readers had a very restorative Thanksgiving Break.


Seniors, with the November 30 UC deadline nearly upon us, please be sure to check in with your advisors for any final editorial assistance you may need on your responses to the personal insight questions. Also, please note that Ms. Van Wagenen will be absent next Monday and Tuesday due to her visit to Grand Canyon University. If you have any urgent matters that require her attention, check in with her before the end of this week.

Santa Clara Theatre and Dance Scholarship Auditions

Santa Clara University's Department of Theatre and Dance will hold their annual merit scholarship auditions on Saturday, January 19. This is a great opportunity for prospective students not only to audition for departmental scholarship funds but also to see Santa Clara's facilities and meet their performing arts faculty. Though you may not yet be in the habit of mentioning Santa Clara in the same breath as NYU-Tisch or Juilliard, the school does boast a respectable record of educating performing artists. Alums have performed on Broadway and in national tours such as The Lion KingCats, the Rockettes, and on television. Playwriting has emerged as one of Santa Clara's newest disciplines to garner attention, with recent graduates winning national recognition awards and having their work produced off-Broadway. For more information about Santa Clara's Department of Theater and Dance merit scholarships auditions, see here.

Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program recognizes students for their community service, academic performance, and leadership skills. This year, scholarships of $2,500 will be awarded to over 800 students nationwide. Each applicant must:


  • Have a demonstrated commitment to community service and outstanding character, integrity, and leadership ability
  • Be enrolled as a high school senior
  • Reside in a community served by Comcast and/or in one of the following NBC or Telemundo markets: Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, El Paso, Los Angeles, McAllen (TX), New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and Washington, D.C.
  • Plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two- or four-year college or university in the United States for the entire 2019- 2020 academic year
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent)
  • Demonstrate financial need


The deadline to apply is December 7, 2018. For more information, visit the program's website.

Claremont McKenna Financial Aid Opportunities

A letter we recently received from the president of Claremont McKenna College emphasizes that the school has deepened their commitment to removing financial obstacles to attendance. Through The Student Imperative, they have raised over $200 million to meet all financial needs through special opportunity funding--with guaranteed first-year internship stipends of $5,000 or more. CMC is especially interested in receiving college counselor nominations of emerging scholar-leaders. If you are applying to CMC and want one of these nominations, please see Ms. Van Wagenen or Mr. White right away. Meanwhile, please remember that you must apply to CMC by December 1 to be considered for merit-based scholarships.

Collegewise: Tips on Applying to the Ivies

The sterling reputation of schools in the Ivy League is well-deserved for reasons of real substance, but it also has to be said that the Ivies' active efforts to maintain and shape their brand have been extremely effective. And yet, as our friends at Collegewise remind us, "Highly selective colleges like those in the Ivy League don't want name-brand seekers. They want ambitious, passionate, intellectually curious students who want to make valuable contributions in and out of the classroom. And more importantly, they want students who are confident enough to select each particular school based on fit [emphasis added] regardless of the school's inclusion in the Ivy League athletic conference." For more on this critical point, see here.

Juniors: Thinking Ahead about College Application Essays

This one's just for you, Juniors. As you know, the explicit phase of college counseling will begin for you here in January. Hopefully, you also know that this will include very hands-on support in your English classes for writing the Common Application essay. You probably realize, however, that the odds are slim that you will be able to get away with writing only the Common App essay for all of your college applications. Therefore, you may be wondering what you can do to get ahead of the essay-writing curve, especially since the list of schools you are applying to has yet to be determined.


Well, here's a bit of advice: While your primary focus in the spring should be on continuing to get the best grades you can, doing your best in your extracurriculars, and preparing for (and taking) the ACT or the SAT, try reflecting from time to time on these three questions:


  • What community is most important to you?
  • What activity is most meaningful for you?
  • What are the specific characteristics of the college that would be the best fit for you? 


Just write down about the responses that occur to you and develop them when you can. Certainly, your answer to either of the first two questions could work for one of the Common App prompts, but you are likely to get a lot of mileage out of your answers to other two, as well, in crafting the various supplemental essays that you will probably have to produce. Colleges' supplemental prompts are not worded identically, but a strong tendency is for them to pose the questions above in one way or another.


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