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Seap Application Essays Samples

Guidance counselors often say that students need a “hook” to attract the attention of colleges.

It was probably inevitable that someone would take that advice literally.

Mark Hatch was reading applications for Bates College in Maine one weekend a few years ago when he became intrigued by a student’s essay about fishing. Turning the page, Mr. Hatch felt a sharp pain — and realized that the student had attached an actual hook.

After a trip to the emergency room and several stitches, Mr. Hatch finished reading the essay. Now a vice president at Colorado College, Mr. Hatch has the scar to prove that he did, in fact, admit a student with a hook.

As I wrap up these glimpses at the frenzied month of October, I’ll share a few mishaps and bloopers from applicants. Many of my favorites, sad to say, have to do with overinvolved parents.

Like this one: the University of South Carolina noticed that a boy had plagiarized a speech by Senator  John McCain. The father protested, saying his secretary had typed all the essays and put them into the electronic application, so the boy should not be penalized. The father explained that his son hadn’t gotten around to proofreading and adding citations for the McCain material.

“The new defense for plagiarism is to blame your dad’s secretary?” says Scott Verzyl, assistant vice provost for enrollment management at South Carolina, who adds that the boy was rejected.

Some readers have asked why I take a less-than-serious approach to subjects like interviewing. The answer is simple: Families of high school juniors and seniors need to lighten up. Too many make the college quest too stressful. Applicants are not being grilled by the board of directors for that one-in-a-million chief executive position. Instead, they are teenagers trying for a spot at a school.

And from what I’ve seen, most of those who end up at their third- or fourth-choice school are soon elated to be there.

This college application business is out of control. Take a look at the waiting room at the admissions office of Gettysburg College. Several times a year, applicants show up dressed for Civil War re-enactments because they assume that the college is obsessed with the war. The admissions office says those in costume get no edge, by the way.

Maybe the applicants should go back to their history books. Quite a few essays refer to Gettysburg’s being in Virginia or Maryland. For the record, it’s in Pennsylvania.

That brings us to proofreading, always a topic of conversation in admissions offices.

The staff of Stevenson University in Maryland was moved by a student’s memories of being a Big Brother, even though he repeatedly spelled it “Big Bother.” Barnard College was puzzled by an applicant who kept referring to her enthusiasm for the “Peace Core.” (If she was that gung-ho, she probably would have known how to spell “corps.”)

Another sent in an application with a yellow sticky note that said, “Mom, what do you think about this answer?” Oops. And a third, responding to the question that asked why she was interested in Barnard, forgot to polish her answer. “Insert stuff from viewbook, blah, blah, blah,” she wrote.

Kristen Collins, who works in the admissions office of Adelphi University on Long Island, reads more than 30 essays a day. She has found that too many students thank their mothers for being such great “roll” models or lament the loss of their best “fiend.”

Ms. Collins reads essays about students’ determination to be world-class architects, which fails to dazzle a university with no architecture program.

Recently, she’s seen a spate of cute essays that draw on the shorthand of texting. That’s become a cliché.

Her advice: “u shud reale b careful wit ur spelling.”

In the spirit of Mr. Marcus’s admonition to lighten up a bit, and with the Choice in a festive mood as Halloween approaches, please use the box below to share some admissions bloopers of your own.

Mr. Marcus is the author of “Acceptance: A Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right Colleges — and Find Themselves” (Penguin Press), and a former education reporter at Newsday and U.S. News and World Report. This month he is taking on a new post directing public relations for the New York Institute of Technology.

A High School Student’s Guide To CS Programs/Internships

Updated on February 27th, 2018.

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Heyo! This is a “guide” for primarily for those (some stuffs are strictly directed at girls) in tech hoping to find opportunities during your high school career. All of this information is from my own research and is in no way the most calculated and correct way to have a successful career in tech. Also, APPLY TO ALL OF THIS (it’ll be worth it to get the experience of writing (and prepare for college apps — yikes) and if you get in, have a memorable life experience and if you don’t, you’ll find something better.)

Disclaimer: This is not the complete list and I’ll be updating this! Reach out to me through Facebook or email if you have more resources, tips, or just information. Take some time out of your day to look through this. You might change find something that will give you an experience of a lifetime.

Also, there are opportunities everywhere. You just need to find it. This list is just some things that I happened to find.


I’ve actually haven’t had an internship, but I’m searching for one (just like you). I’ve placed two “paths” for an internship for those who are interested in interning at a college campus or a company (steps for both are about the same.) As most tech companies are like, they don’t have a lot of set programs dedicated to high school students which is why it’s essential for you to personally reach out to companies/colleges. Additionally, keep in mind that most high school level internships are paid through knowledge. Best of luck!

First, make an excel spreadsheet and divide it to look something like:

College Campus:

  1. Find a college to intern at (should be relatively near for you to commute)
  2. Check if you are eligible to intern (some have an age requirement)
  3. Go to the college’s’ main website and search up faculty/labs doing research that interest you
  4. Make sure it’s a topic that you at least know a little about
  5. Actually be interested in the lab
  6. Make a list (10ish) of faculty/labs and the emails of the professor in charge
  7. Make sure the professor’s’ interests are aligned with yours
  8. Create an email template
  9. Should be concise ( 1 to 2 paragraphs)
  10. Introduce yourself (name, age, grade, school)
  11. Explain your passions, extracurriculars, interests, job/volunteer experience, work ethics, etc.
  12. Why you’re interested in interning at their lab
  13. Explain what you hope to gain out of the lab
  14. Describe the commitment you wish to place onto lab (hours/week)
  15. Make sure you’re polite
  16. Should have good grammar
  17. Put your resume
  18. Follow up if no response after a week.
  19. Professors are busy and have a lot of emails to go through.


  1. Research and make a list on all of the companies that you’re interested in
  2. Interest can be through their team, product, or even location
  3. Find the emails of recruiters/engineers
  4. Create an email template
  5. Introduce yourself (name, age, grade, school)
  6. Explain your passions, extracurriculars, interests, job/volunteer experience, work ethics, etc.
  7. Why you’re interested in interning at their company
  8. Explain what you hope to gain out of the company
  9. Describe the commitment you wish to place onto the company(hours/week)
  10. Make sure you’re polite
  11. Should have good grammar
  12. Put your resume
  13. Repeat about 100 times


Tips (courtesy of Lizzie Siegle):

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for more (help , resources, time, meeting with people, etc. ) Ask for an office visit. Ask for coffee. Ask for advice. Ask for a week long externship (outlining what you can do, what you want to do, what they’d have to do ie you’d shadow, contribute ideas, but mainly shadow.) On office visits, ask questions about culture, backgrounds, people. A thing that I’ve learned is that adults want to help you. They want you to thrive in whatever subject you’re interested in, so take advantage and learn everything they can provide you with.
  2. Follow up if you don’t hear anything back.
  3. Cold email. Ask everyone you know. Find someone on twitter. Find their email on their twitter or personal site or LinkedIn.
  4. Network. Point out someone’s tee shirt or laptop sticker. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people!
  5. Utilize your own network. If your parents work at a company, ask to tour, talk to their coworkers, or even intern.
  6. Say yes to almost everything.
  7. Build whatever projects you enjoy and learn whenever you can.
  9. Add resume to every email — about your cover letter and resume, these are relevant articles: https://signalvnoise.com/posts/1748-forget-the-resume-kill-on-the-cover-letter and https://signalvnoise.com/posts/1799-if-i-have-two-candidates-in-front-of-me. Just make sure your cover letter isn’t a copy/paste thing that sounds like it came out of a cookie cutter for each company ;)
  10. Do what you think is best and be smart about it. Experience is number 1. — Samuel Escapa
  11. Start out with start-ups.
  12. If you’re writing to a professor, make sure to read a paper/publication by them.
  13. Be persistent.

Real Talk

  • “If you’re looking to get into a tech company — my best advice is to just build all the things! Pad your GitHub with meaningful and different projects and code samples. Teach yourself new technology stacks and programming languages to use in your projects, bonus points for knowing how they work and how to write “good code” in each. Consider doing related research at school for additional projects if you don’t have any ideas. Practice your algorithms and data structures. Lastly, be sure to prepare a good resume and apply everywhere!” — Joel Gomez, UCR, LinkedIn Intern


Some of these are strictly for girls only. Shout out to Michael Yoo for some of these.

Freshman Year:

Sophomore Year:

Junior Year:

Senior Year:

Stanford Things

All Years:

Scholarships for CS:

Remember that even if you don’t attend any of these, there are still online courses or local community college courses that you can enroll in. Udacity is a great place to start!



  • Hackathons/Competitions (Bay Area)
  • SM Hacks www.smhacks.com
  • Superposition superposition.tech
  • HS Hacks www.hshacks.com/
  • TinoHacks tinohacks.tech/
  • def hacks() defhacks.io/
  • Los Altos Hacks www.losaltoshacks.com/
  • BASEHacks /www.basehacks.org/
  • Girl Geek Academy http://girlgeekacademy.com/
  • Verizon App Challenge https://appchallenge.tsaweb.org/
  • Congressional App Challenge http://www.congressionalappchallenge.us/2017-student-signup/
  • CodeDay Bay Area codeday.org use “AREETAW” for a 15% discount on your ticket :)



Things to participate in:

Things to look at:

Facebook groups to be in:


For all of seniors out there, I recommend applying for college fly-in visits. They basically fly you out for free and let you experience their college.


I hope all of you found that at least semi-helpful. If not, here something that you might like: link . Remember to PM me if you have suggestions, comments, or issues (yikes). Huge thanks to everyone who’s sent me some of these.

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