Soundbite: The Admissions Secret that Gets You Into College and Beyond

Soundbite: The Admissions Secret that Gets You Into College and Beyond

by Sara Harberson
Soundbite: The Admissions Secret that Gets You Into College and Beyond

Soundbite: The Admissions Secret that Gets You Into College and Beyond

by Sara Harberson


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Crack the code to college admissions and help students craft the ultimate statement of self-identity and get into their school of choice with this groundbreaking guide from America's College Counselor.

On average, an admissions committee takes seconds to decide whether to admit a student. They must sum up the student in one sentence that will tell them if a student is going to be a good fit for their program.

What is the best way to transform this admissions process from a stressful, pressure-cooker arms race into an empowering journey that paves the way to the best individual outcome?

Written by a college admissions insider turned consultant, Soundbite guides parents and students through the admissions process from start to finish. Armed with her knowledge of how the system works, Sara Harberson shares tried-and-tested exercises that have helped thousands of students gain admission to their school of choice. The soundbite, her signature tool, presents an opportunity for students to take the reins to craft their ultimate statement of self-identity and formulate their own personal definition of what is best. With this soundbite in place as their foundation, students achieve maximum impact when they present themselves to colleges. In doing so, the tables are turned: the student's fate no longer rests on a soundbite composed by an admissions officer. Instead, the student employs their own soundbite to define themselves on their own terms. Soundbite shifts the way we talk about the admissions process—from "Getting You In" to "Getting the Best You In."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306874833
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 04/06/2021
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 232,300
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Sara Harberson is known as America's College Counselor. With more than twenty years of experience, she is a nationally recognized authority on elite college admissions. Her credentials are formidable: former Associate Dean of Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, Dean of Admissions at Franklin & Marshall College, and Director of College Counseling at the Baldwin School.

Now, as one of the only private college counselor who has led both an admissions office at a highly selective college and a college counseling office at an elite high school, Sara also shares her expertise with a wider audience through several channels/outlets:, a free website available to all,, for personalized counseling to private clients, and Application Nation, a private subscription-based Facebook group. She lives in Lancaster, PA.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Introduction xi

Part 1 Understanding the Soundbite

Chapter 1 Four Years Reduced to Four Minutes 3

Chapter 2 Find Your Defining Statement 9

Chapter 3 The Power of the Soundbite 19

Chapter 4 Evolution of the Soundbite 25

Chapter 5 Be Honest About Your Strengths and Limitations (Self-Awareness) 43

Chapter 6 Avoid Following the Crowd (Intentionaliiy) 57

Chapter 7 Be Willing to Tell Your Story (Storytelling) 97

Chapter 8 A Time and Place for Soundbite 123

Part 2 Crafting Your Soundbite

Chapter 9 Get to Work on #lifegoals 133

Chapter 10 The Soundbite Rules 145

Part 3 Living Your Soundbite

Chapter 11 The College List 189

Chapter 12 The Homegrown Idea 215

Chapter 13 The Special-Special 227

Chapter 14 The Pivot 235

Chapter 15 Decisions 241

Chapter 16 Soundbite Now and for the Future 249

Conclusion 253

Appendix A Helpful Exercises When You Have Trouble Coming Up with Your Soundbite 257

Appendix B Examples of Soundbites That Worked 263

Appendix C Extra Soundbites and Essay Topics 271

Acknowledgments 281

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