Get to know our essay coaches! We sat down to interview Alyssa Coltrain, one of our College Admissions Specialists.
What is one thing you wish more students knew before applying to college?
At the end of the day, your college experience is what you make of it, which can be a very freeing idea. Whether you go to your dream school or your fifth choice, your willingness to explore new ideas, chase the opportunities you want, and ask for help when you need will be the ultimate barometers of your success.
What were you looking for in a college when you applied?
I wanted a small and selective liberal arts college close enough to home that I could go home for a weekend, but not so close that my parents could show up without calling me first. (Sorry, Mom and Dad!) I was interested in English and French, wanted to study abroad in a city that wasn’t Paris, and was a sucker for really beautiful libraries.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to a freshman at your school?
The cafe in the library will quite literally run out of coffee during finals. Make a grocery store run accordingly.
On a broader and more serious note, however, I’d advise any first-year student to explore their school’s academic offerings during their first year or two. Even if you think you know your intended major, universities offer so many more courses of study than a typical high school. Even if you only end up confirming you were right all along, expanding your horizons and seeing other perspectives will serve you well in the future.
What kinds of college essays do you love?
I love college essays where I can feel a student’s enthusiasm and excitement for a topic. Whether it’s live music, knitting, cryptocurrency, or something else entirely, their genuine interest gives the essay a level of detail and authenticity that makes me excited about the topic too!
Who’s keeping you company when you’re working on essays?
My tuxedo cat Chiro usually is napping in a patch of sun near my desk. She also loves jumping into my lap as soon as I get on a call!