Beat the College Admissions Game: Do a Project

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Can student projects help solve our economic crisis? College advisor has a solution: ProjectMERIT!

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Ivy League Colleges have recently announced 2009's admissions statistics, and they're not surprisingly lower than 2008's. The class of 2013's overall admissions rate is 11.90%. This rate dropped from last year's rate by about 1 %. The class of 2012 admissions was 12.75%, and 2011's was 13.59%. Merit understands that college admissions has become more rigorous and works with high school students to empower them and guide them as they overcome these challenges. The college advisors at Merit Educational Consultants help many college-bound students through this critical phase of their lives. Without proper preparation and planning, Ivy League competition can be overwhelming, even to the best students. So how do students get into these very selective colleges? Merit has the perfect solution: Do a project!

With so many students with 4.0 GPAs and perfect SAT scores not getting into their first choice colleges, Tatsui-D'Arcy recommends that they do projects. Students who do independent projects dazzle admissions officers with their leadership skills, passion, and drive. When these high school seniors write their personal statements and application essays, they can enthusiastically describe how they started their project and what obstacles they overcame to achieve their goals. That's much more impressive than simply discussing dreams of doing something important someday or volunteering at a non-profit organization.

Students select projects and work closely with Tatsui-D'Arcy. Peter Livingston engineered a brake-lighting system to warn drivers that the car in front of them is slamming on its brake, not just tapping on it. Jaclyn D'Arcy founded Kids 4 Hydrogen to promote hydrogen fuel cells. Rebecca Kassel successfully passed a law in California (SB966) to reduce the amount of prescription drugs that enter our water systems. In an effort to end gang violence, Harry Weston organized a Tru-School Hip Hop Concert and entertained at-risk students at juvenile halls. The students complete their projects during 9th through 12th grade, and many continue on in college.

By giving students the opportunity to take on special projects, they can fix many of the problems without spending the billions of dollars. When these students reach out to their communities for support and volunteer their time, they can raise funds to finance just about any endeavor. This is exactly what Susan Tatsui-D'Arcy, a college advisor and author of Beat the College Admissions Game: Do a Project!, is doing. She guides college-bound students to do a project to improve their chances of getting into top universities in the country.

Tatsui-D'Arcy says projects not only help the students get into their top colleges, it also makes the students more confident and responsible. They realize that their efforts accomplished something that needed to be fixed, and they learned that with good organization and tenacity, they could do anything. So, Tatsui-D'Arcy helps students select their projects based on their personal interests and desire to make a difference. She has lists of special projects and brainstorms with the students until they find the perfect fit. By working with students online across the United States and in her Santa Cruz office, Tatsui-D'Arcy's think-tank program: ProjectMERIT, is changing America -- one project at a time!

Just in case the government can't solve all of our problems tomorrow, our college-bound students now have the opportunity and motivation to do projects to make America great. They gain the experience to solve the problems of today and tomorrow. Tatsui-D'Arcy's book Beat the College Admissions Game: Do a Project! and her online college advisory services are available on her website at


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Susan Tatsui-D'Arcy
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