I can't believe how much university/college tuition has risen over the last few decades! If you're a senior that has decided (back on May 1) which college you'll be attending, you might be overwhelmed about how to fill the gaps that you likely have in your financial aid package.
After all those essays from the admissions process, you're likely to want to take a break from anymore writing or submission of applications - but don't! Applying to scholarships is actually worth your while as there are many students that do sit back and relax and don't even bother to apply. This ups your odds of getting some aid. And, many of the times, you won't need to submit a personal statement. And very likely, you'll find that you can recycle a lot of the work that was completed back in the fall!
We highly advocate for prioritizing application to local scholarships. There are many of them, while at a lower gift, you're more likely to actually receive the award. There are a few places in which you can search for all types of scholarships, specifically for local scholarships...
You can find both national, regional, and local scholarships online. Our favorite websites for the search are:
Again, if you don't apply, you won't get anything! And lots of smaller scholarships can make a significant dent in tuition costs. So, while we aren't telling you to avoid the big, prestigious scholarships, we do encourage you to apply to many of the opportunities that may have smaller awards that have less competition and better your odds of securing funds.
Best of luck on the scholarship search and application process!
Last week, a first-generation student from Walnut, CA gained admissions to ALL eight Ivy League schools! I was especially proud as she was born in Malaysia, where Tilia and I are originally from! Cassandra Hsiao's admissions essay hit tugged on a few heartstrings - do have a read here.
Cassandra captures the experience of the first-generation student so well - we have all been conscious about not just what we say, but HOW we say it, always in fear that a slip in pronunciation might just betray our immigrant roots. However, delve a little deeper and we can start to appreciate the many stories that come from the mispronounced words - the struggles to learn a new language, to adopt a new culture while at the same time trying your best to just fit in. Cassandra shows us how to rise above this fear of standing out by mastering the very same language her mom struggled with - to be an amazing student writer and journalist!
At Lucent, we have helped countless of immigrant families gain admissions into their dream school. We have always advocated for telling personal stories and this plucky Malaysian-born Californian high schooler has definitely shown what a unique and amazing experience being a first-generation student can be!
Here at Lucent Education, we must take it for granted that there are some pretty straightforward principles around resume formatting. It's a fairly easy and fun design task for us to work off of your current formatting (usually) and keep your stylistic flavor while modernizing - there are rare cases when we totally revamp the resume formatting. Here are some tips that go a bit beyond the general template of a resume:
Don't forget, read your resume as if you're a recruiter. It only needs the information on there to get you that interview (and sometimes for a hiring manager to see your experience further back). So, it sometimes hurts to cut out pieces of your work history because you lived it (and it was important!), but the resume isn't where you dictate your entire life's work; it's a personal marketing tool to help you get an interview.
With the new year, many are thinking about what they'd like to accomplish for the year. Eating and living healthier. Strengthening relationships with friends. Spending more time with family. And of course, what to do about a job that you're ready to move on from.
So, here are a few resume refreshing tips to get you started...
It's the end of summer, the weather's getting cooler and it's also college application time. We recently came across this very brief article on how Jessica Yeager, a graduate of Harvard and MIT, managed to get offers from 7 Ivies! Read more here.
Our take on this : Start early, dream big and do your research. The last point is we at Lucent Education feel that we can make the biggest difference. It's good and well to be able to get information off websites and YouTube videos, but nothing beats getting advise from people who have actually been there and have experience helping others get there too! Have a look at what our clients say about us!
As always, drop us a message or visit our Facebook page for more info!
With summer well and truly underway, we hope that you are using these warm and lazy days productively! Pokemon Go might be getting everyone off their couches and into the streets, but a little more effort productivity-wise goes a long way!
NPR Ed recently posted a piece on how high school students need more than just college-prep. Employers are increasingly expecting college graduates to possess some measure of competency at jobs, be it punctuality, customer-service or professionalism. It was suggested that any summer job, including ones that may seem 'pointless' or 'dead-end', might actually make students a lot more competitive out of college.
So there. We think it's definitely time to don those aprons and learn a few new skills - be it latte art or flipping burgers! Even better, go experience the work environment of a career you've never thought of being in. If jobs are hard to come by, volunteer to offer your time. There are few employers who would say no to bubbly enthusiasm and an extra pair of hands!
If there are any industries that you might be interested in and are looking for an introduction, do drop us and e-mail!
My younger sister, there's a large age gap, just graduated from Oberlin. It was her absolute first choice school - turning down other exceptional institutions to be there. She was considering pursuing music - and Oberlin Conservatory is one of the top in the nation, if not the world. During graduation weekend, this stood out. The spirit of the school is very performance oriented - from the O!Circus to steel drums to taiko - there was a performance every afternoon during graduation/alumni weekend, somewhere on campus. I really enjoyed hearing the senior recitals at Finney Chapel - the musicians are quite talented!
Oberlin's known for being quite liberal - and that showed. From man buns to an all-sex system for bathroom usage in dormitories, the school definitely inspires a tree hugger type feeling that you get when walking across the better known UC Berkeley (Cal). But, there's a more casual feel to the culture as compared to schools like BU, Tufts, Middlebury, Amherst. It's similar to how ballet dancers, perfect and tidy during performances, wearing gritty, ripped clothing during practice. Perhaps in the perfection of performance, Obies (as they call themselves) turn to a grittier, more laid back version of themselves as they walk through campus.
The school is composed of 2 schools - liberal arts & conservatory. I do believe that the conservatory's culture spills over into the rest of the school's culture. The tour guide even said that although she was a violinist, her goals weren't to pursue music in college, but wanted to be around performance (and she will be minoring in dance). However, from conversations with students and actions of the students at graduation - there is a clear differentiation of the two programs. As there were only about 700 graduates total, each name was announced. The conservatory was first - and not too long after the completion of the dual degree students, the conservatory students began to leave their seats. Ok - 3 hour long graduation, I'd be tempted, too! But, if one of my best friends was in the liberal arts college - I'd stay put and get ready to cheer for him/her. This was telling for me. Not in a negative way, but to share with prospective students that the two are separate entities and with as much muddling there is between them, there is still a clear divide between conservatory and liberal arts students. It all makes sense - you'd be spending a lot more time in classes with those in the same school.
Overall, Oberlin has an excellent academic reputation. Some of the newer buildings are LEED certified, the spaces are beautiful, the campus inviting. For the right student, what an awesome undergraduate experience! I would heavily consider the liberal arts school if you fit into the following categories:
For the majority of professionals, writing something longer than an email or a PowerPoint slide/deck is not a routine practice. So, here are a few tips on how to start putting together your cover letter. Each person's unique experiences in combination with each position should also be taken into consideration when putting together the cover letter. This is just a generic format for getting your first draft started:
You can do this in two main ways...
Summarize your education/certifications, any relevant coursework specific to the position. Then close it off with one or two sentences about how your experience and/or coursework is relevant to the specific position. This is also a good place (or the intro) to talk about how your personal passions align with the position if applicable.
Then add a sentence before the closing that conveys confidence and eagerness to move forward such as: "Thank you so much for considering me for the ZZZZ position at YYYY, I look forward to speaking with you soon.
The look and feel of a resume is sometimes just as important as the content itself. There are circumstances in which large companies will convert the content to a generic format. In those cases, the formatting is totally void. However, you're likely applying to multiple positions at different companies, in which case, formatting is the first thing someone would notice about the resume. Here are few key pieces to look at when re-formatting your resume:
Your life is filled with lots of accomplishments, events, and memories. So, there's a huge urge to want to share all of that in your college application essay. With between 500 and 750 words to work with, it's impossible to get all the wonderful things you've accomplished and want to share with the admissions officer into this one essay, at least not in any sort of meaningful way. So, resist that urge to list a bunch of events! There are multiple parts to your application - the resume, your grades, short essays, standardized testing, and recommendations. All of these components will contribute to giving the admissions offer a rich picture of who you are.
Let the resume tell your chronological accomplishments from work, volunteer, and extra curricular activities. Let recommendations brag about the more qualitative pieces of who you are - personality, drive, etc. And, let the essay tell the reader how you think, your aspirations, and where those aspirations come from. In most cases, this stems from a story or series of events that are pivotal in your life. Here are some questions that might help you pinpoint these types of events:
Once you settle on the topic, don't forget to expand on the story and why it's significant, how it's changed who you are/your goals, and how it ties to your aspirations for the future or your more immediate next steps.
After reading thousands of college application essays from students at all different levels of writing, I've learned that the most powerful essays are ones that are genuine. For whatever reason, the right words flow, the thoughts are better conveyed, and the essay never feels forced or over-edited. It's a win-win for the prospective student: it's easier to write the essay & it's a more memorable essay for the reader, too.
We can tell when a portion of the essay feels forced - when a student starts writing what they think should be written instead of their own thoughts and perspective on their life and future. Or a parent interferes and suggests what they believe an admissions officer would like to read. Big ideas and strategy for the essay can come from many different places (parents, peers, other mentor figures), but we find that something wonderful always emerges when the student finally gets to writing their own thoughts down. It's always a transformative process, guiding students through this new type of writing - about themselves, their thoughts and desires for the future. Regardless of writing skill level - a genuine essay is one of the ingredients that is most powerful.
When Lucent Education started almost 5 years ago, 'unicorns' were still mythical creatures, to 'disrupt' simply meant to be annoying and 'uber' was still most commonly used as a German adjective. Start-up culture was in its infancy and while we were excited to be part of a new venture, we certainly did not envision how internet-based technologies would transform businesses in such a short time!
Our website back then did not have fancy graphics, we did not hire any UX/UI designers and we certainly did not try to 'gamify' the college application or job search process through our the webpage. We did, however, insist on offering a quality service, primarily over the internet, that would be affordable to many.
With those guiding principles, Lucent Education has come a long way. Going through our records, we have helped hundreds of clients achieve success both in terms of college admissions as well as securing their dream job.
These successes remain our primary motivation moving forward. We are now more experienced, better prepared and have better tools to help serve you better. And the first step in improving starts with Lucent having a new look!
The webpage is a lot more streamlined and easier on the eye. We have bundled some of our services so that prices remain competitive while you get a more comprehensive experience. We also have newer pictures of ourselves, so you know exactly who you are working with!
And this is exactly what sets us apart from our competitors. Regardless when you call or email us, regardless of what services you are looking for, there are only 3 people who will get back in touch with you. You will receive a reply from either Agnes, Tilia or SS - no one else. No unsupervised inboxes, automated replies, or overseas call centers.
At Lucent Education, it is all about personalized services from real people. And we hope to continue to extend a helping hand to reach your goals.
Most families know that every component of the college admissions process is important. Families know the importance of grades, challenging coursework completed, and the cumulative GPA. Many students also take test prep courses or get private tutoring for SATs and ACTs. But what about the admissions essay? Is it just another essay – similar to the assignments at school?
The essay is the one component of the application that can really set a student apart from the pack. With selective schools, for every enrollment slot, there are 5 students with the same scores, GPA, and extracurricular leadership stats. The essay is the only real opportunity to set yourself apart from the others once you hit your senior year – the grades, coursework, and typically test taking is already completed. Your words paint a picture of your past, how you think about your future, and what you’ve learned from your experiences thus far. It paints a picture for the admissions officer – who you are, where you can contribute to the school, and what you can bring to the campus that isn’t already there. Often time, it’s what gets a student into a reach school – when all else equal, the essay is what tips the scales in an invitation to enroll at a school.
Okay, so we know it’s really important.
It’s important, and also a skill that hasn’t been honed by most 16-18 year olds that are looking to attend college. The admissions essay isn’t a book report, analysis of a concept, or summary of a historical period. It’s partially a marketing essay and partially a personal thought essay – both of which aren’t studied much in high school. If a student regularly writes their personal thoughts about life and daily ongoings into a diary – that is likely the best practice they are getting for this type of essay. However, these journal entries aren’t likely getting proofed for structure and effectiveness in getting a point across to the reader. So… a few tips on the essay writing process:
Of course, Lucent Education helps students through this process – it’s our specialty. We take the mystery out of it, helping students hone in on the skills to write these types of essays through one on one support; "on the job" type support with revisions, questions, and conversation. We never compromise the authenticity of the writer's words and our goal is to help students find their voice in the essays so that they come across genuine, individual, and thoughtful. Just as it takes many hours to learn how to put together a great book report, we structure an effective plan to help applicants learn while completing their admissions essays.
For us three founders, Lucent Education isn’t just a business endeavor. We started with a collective vision in helping families similar to ours – those with limited knowledge of the opportunities of US colleges/graduate schools and even less information on the process itself. We operate with a double bottom line – our aim is to be accessible to applicants that are from families that may not have the full means to access high end-super star admissions consultants that cost $15,000+.
Our expertise and track record would allow us to charge these incredibly high prices since we are a high quality program with the experience and expertise to work with families that can more than afford the high price tag. But that wasn’t our vision; we decided to re-imagine a world in which this quality of service could be provided to a larger audience to even out the school admissions playing field. With wonderful non-profits already servicing low income families, we knew that there was a gap of students that deserved the coaching and expertise these two very different groups of people already have access to.
What we dreamed up was an à la carte service that is provided online – but, one that never dilutes quality of service.
We customize our service to what you need. Perhaps you’re great at research, but need support with application essays. Or, your parents are marketing professionals and capable of supporting the writing components of the application, but don’t quite understand the undergraduate system in the US. We work with your specific strengths and needs so that you’re not paying for an all-inclusive service that you don’t need. You’re also not paying for rent or travel time and other unnecessary overhead that comes with a formal office or tutoring center. However, you’re still getting access to personalized, one on one expertise and coaching that would often carry the much higher price tag.
I often get the question from parents: What should we do to make sure my child can get into the best possible college? Well, when that question is asked when the student is in 10th grade, it’s a bit too late! A good time to think a bit more in depth about your child’s college prospects is in middle school. Think about how you’d plan for a new project at work – you don’t just dive into a project without completing a bit of brainstorming and perhaps more thorough strategic planning. It is no different in the college applications process. Here are a few things to consider:
College, Graduate School, and Career Coaching.