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August 15, 2016
Tips for Writing Supplemental Essays
Tom Nicholas

Ah, those pesky supplemental essays. Just when you think you’ve got your college application pretty much all together, you realize that several colleges where you’re applying want you to write another essay. How should you approach this additional task?

September 14, 2015
5 Tips for Getting Insider Insight from Students
Beth Anne Spacht

Along with the greatly anticipated return of college football and pumpkin-spice-everything to the East Coast, the arrival of September means one very important thing for the faculty and staff at Richmond: students are (finally!) back on campus. As excited as we are for the change of pace, it’s great news for prospective students, too.

June 22, 2015
The Right Approach to Writing Your College Essays
Tom Nicholas

Recently, I’ve given several presentations to rising high school seniors on writing your college essays. Each time I do this, I always ask students what makes them most anxious about essays, and two answers invariably come up more than any others: (1) "I know essays are really important," and (2) "I don’t really know what colleges are looking for."

May 19, 2015
Planning Your Senior Year Schedule
Beth Anne Spacht

This one’s for you, juniors.

September 5, 2014
Seven (More) Questions to Ask Colleges
Tom Nicholas

A little while back, we ran a post called Seven Questions to Ask Colleges, designed for high school juniors as they started to explore colleges and make their first college visits.

As we head into autumn, those questions are just as valid for high school seniors to ask. But with the application process and college itself so much closer, and with more in-depth visit options often available to seniors, there are also some deeper questions that you ought to be asking when you visit campuses now. Here are seven suggestions.

June 30, 2014
New Richmond Question: Tell us about Spiders
Beth Anne Spacht

Approaching the application process can feel like a daunting long list of things that have to be written, checked, edited, and arranged. So, it can be helpful to compartmentalize your “to do” list into two parts: the things you can control and the things that you have to manage (more on this to come – stay tuned for new blog posts!)

In the meantime, I want to start out with one of the things within your control: the college essay. Although the 2014-15 Common Application won’t be available until August 1, essays are one of those things you can get a jump on ahead of time. Good news, everyone! Richmond’s essay prompts are up and active for fall 2014.

September 4, 2013
Essay Tips, Part Deux: The Importance of Proper Punctuation
Beth Anne Spacht

Correct punctuation can save a person’s life.  It can also save a student’s college essay.  It took me four years as an English major to fully appreciate the nuances of proper grammar and punctuation.  It only took one year (and 1,000 essays) as an Admission Officer to trust that some important idioms bear repeating.  Don’t rely on spell check; proofread your work; think before you speak (or write).

August 28, 2013
Choosing a College Essay Topic
Tom Nicholas

Writing your college essays can be one of the most daunting tasks you face in your high school years. It certainly was for me; I can distinctly recall sitting in front of a blank computer screen for what felt like an eternity, with absolutely no idea what to do. Much of the stress, in my experience, centered around selecting the subject for my essays.

July 17, 2013
Mythbusters: Increasing Your Chances of Admission
Tom Nicholas

“How can I improve my chances of admission?” I usually start to hear that question around this time of year. By October, I’m hearing it on an almost daily basis. It’s understandable that this is one of the most common questions we get from high school seniors beginning the application process – guidebooks, web searches, and the media would have you believe that there are a myriad of hidden tricks that can significantly boost your odds of getting in (if you could just figure out what they are).

June 25, 2013
Richmond Question: Do and Don't
Tom Nicholas

As you may have read in my last post, we have a new Richmond Question this year. In the near future, I plan to share some general thoughts and tips for college essay-writing, so be on the lookout for new blog posts. But in announcing the new Richmond Question, I thought it would be appropriate to share some advice specific to our prompt. Here are a couple of “do” and “don’t” suggestions as you begin to think about your essay.

Tom NicholasTom Nicholas
Senior Assistant Director of Admission 


A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.

Learn more about Tom


Beth Anne SpachtBeth Anne Spacht
Assistant Director of Admission


Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.

Learn more about Beth Anne

The University of Richmond is a highly ranked liberal arts university offering an extraordinary combination of the liberal arts with law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education. The university is consistently named a best value in higher education by leading publications.

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