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Tips for getting admitted to competitive college programs

DO NOT remind your adviser how old s/he is.

Okay, this statement is truly meant more in jest than reality, but jeez o pete, already. Yes, I do work with high school students who might be writing their admission essays as sophomores. I get it. But here are the examples, then see for yourself of what I speak (moderately paraphrased, because I can't necessarily remember the exact statement):

1. I was 11 years old when the events of September 11, 2001, happened.

I was older than 11. By several years. And several college degrees.

2. I never really liked reading until Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was released in mid-1997.

Judging by birthday, said writer was 7. I was definitely older than 7. Maybe not as old as I was in 2001, but I was definitely older than 7. Again by several years, and again by a few college degrees.

Ack.