2015 Competitive Edge Boot Camp a HUGE Success!
Curreri Educational Consulting wrapped up its annual Competitive Edge Application Boot Camp on August 7th. Each summer, CEC hosts a week long intensive camp to support students while they work to complete their personal statements for the Common Application, as well as their two UC essays where applicable (or supplements for other colleges if students are not applying to the UC system universities). Camp also provides student with one-on-one resume and interview support, among myriad other resources.
Our belief is that summer slips by too quickly. Once school starts, students are overwhelmed by the demands of senior year. Deadlines approach quickly and are easily missed if students have not prepared ahead of time and created a strategic plan. Our goal is to reduce students’ (and parents’) stress levels by giving campers a jumpstart on their college essays and applications. We want healthy, happy seniors who are mentally and physically tough and ready to begin their senior year with a focus on their course work and extracurricular activities.
We are extremely proud of the incredible amount of work that each student completed in such a short amount of time. Each day students worked from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. and sometimes even stayed late to complete their work. Most students went home or to their hotels in the evening and continued working on their essays in the evenings. There was a high level of motivation to get work completed and organized.
However, camp was not all work; we created plenty of opportunities for students to relax, get to know one another, keep active and socialize. For example, on Wednesday morning, campers were invited to paddle board or kayak around Balboa Island with a tour guide provided by Sports Rents. CEC supports the arts and took campers to Laguna Beach on Thursday evening for a much deserved break: dinner and a Pageant of the Masters showing. The theme for this year’s Pageant, "The Pursuit of Happiness," was fitting; CEC’s philosophy is that the college search is truly a pursuit of happiness—a journey that will help a student find a “happy home” for the next four or more years of their lives.
Some of the benefits of CEC’s camp include but are not limited to:
- A significant amount of dedicated time where students are focused exclusively on college essay writing, in an environment that is free of other summer distractions. Working with editors on an individual and group basis and also with a junior camp counselor, meant that students received immediate feedback and support, while also ensuring that the students wrote in their own voice and that their work is, truly, their own. This year, Anna Antongiorgi, a 2014 graduate of CEC boot camp, returned to help students. Anna received rave reviews from campers. She wants to return next summer after she completes her freshman year at Harvard.
- The opportunity to work with a great group of peers who share a common goal motivates students to work intensively. Campers were also able to receive peer feedback on essays. It was fun to watch students from as far away as Madrid, Spain and others from as close by as Newport Beach, establish new and hopefully lifelong friendships. Students were incredibly supportive of one another.
- A chance to leave camp with final or nearly final versions of essays. Each camper was also expected to come to camp having completed the Common Application as well as the UC application. Students were extremely proud of all that they accomplished and students felt they had grown and learned a lot about themselves through the essay writing process.
- Each day, students were also given “Pro Tips,” or writing mini-lessons, from editor Liz Nutt, who recently returned from the Yale Writer’s Conference. The valuable tips students learned will help them to compose their remaining college essays, and helped them to strengthen and polish their writing skills. Liz was referred to by campers as “The Grammar Nutt.”
- Campers received ample one-on-one time with Karen, who was able to provide them with personalized support concerning the college search and application process. Questions about any topic regarding college admission were answered on the spot. Karen also finalized college lists with students and helped them to make decisions regarding Early Admission options.
- Shannon Trevino, a current law professor who is a Princeton graduate, alumni interviewer for Princeton, and former President of the Southern California Princeton Alumni Group, conducted a session on interview skills. Campers were given an opportunity to ask questions regarding interviews and admissions policies. They received a handout that gave valuable interview tips.
- Finally, campers enjoyed the last day of camp when they were awarded fun prizes for their accomplishments and contributions to the overall positive camp experience.
Campers were asked to provide feedback regarding their camp experience. Some of the feedback that we received is provided below:
“Camp was incredibly productive.”
“There was no way I could focus at home like I did at camp.”
“ I received immediate feedback and could keep working.”
“Peer editing was very educational.”
“ Karen, Liz, Jenn and Anna pushed me to dig deep for my essay topics which improved the overall feeling in each essay. ”
“Loved feeling confident enough to find my own voice.”
“I loved being able to meet new people and learn their stories as well as be inspired by them.”
“The wonderful staff helped me to create an organized way of completing my college applications. I know exactly where to look for the paper work schools require.”
“It was surprisingly fun and I finished four of my essays.”
“I met many new people who I now consider my new friends.”
“I got a lot done and it relieved a lot of my stress. I feel ahead of the game and ready for the application process.”
“I got a jump start on the college application process.”