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Not sure you’re prepared to compete intellectually in college?

Colleges want students who are intellectually curious. They want original thinking, creative ideas and new observations (…which, by the way, is what your bosses after college will want, too!).

We’ve helped a lot of students go far beyond just building a drop-kick resume — we help them with the hardest task of their lives — learning to think originally and critically.

Why is it so hard? Shhhh… it’s not! Critical thinking doesn’t require the natural genius or abilities of a superhero. It just requires a bit of steady effort.

People struggle with critical thinking because you CAN’T CHEAT. Like a superhero mentor, it won’t let you be lazy. It’s a muscle — if you cut corners, it just doesn’t grow.

Use our Critical Thinking Guide below to get started with college admissions.

How do you get this superpower for yourself?

Call us mad scientists, because through years of experience we’ve developed a radioactive mix that can help you get started on your path.

  1. Ask yourself: What do you care about? Find an issue that excites you, frustrates you — even makes you angry: the environment, racism, or socioeconomic inequality, to name a few.
  2. Not sure what you care about? Caring usually comes from exposure. Seek out new experiences and ideas. Follow the next few steps about a number of topics you’ve heard of, and see where your interests begin to grow.
  3. Read, read, read. Learn about topics that interest you you. You need to go above and beyond your high school assigned work. Find books — fiction and nonfiction — TEDTalks, documentaries, museum exhibits, organizations and activities on topics that interest you, and pursue your intellectual interests independently.
  4. Talk about what you learn. Discuss it with friends or adults who are interested in hearing what you think. You can even find “intellectual mentors” through internships and activities of interest.

But here’s the KEY:

When you read and explore, you need to learn to read critically.

What does that mean? Check out our 4 Steps to Critical Reading to get you started!

Suggested Steps for Success

  • Review our Critical Thinking Tools below and 4 Steps to Critical Reading
  • Pick an issue you care about and find out everything you can about it — and not just from sources you agree with!
  • Find a book that challenges you and read it. To help, use our Critical Thinking Response Sheet
  • Better yet, review what you think with a trusted education mentor or a friend — read it together, or form a book club with friends and discuss what you read

We don’t just come up with great strategies to apply to colleges. We also have unique expertise in helping students build critical thinking skills and intellectual interests.

Need more help than your school is providing in developing your intellectual interests? Blue Stars would be happy to provide you with critical thinking coaching, tailored to your interests!

About the Author: Amy Morgenstern

Dr. Amy Morgenstern, affectionately known as Dr. M, is the founder and CEO of Blue Stars Admissions Consulting. She holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and an MFA in contemporary art. A former professor of philosophy, honors program associate director, and assistant to the director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Dr. M brings a wealth of academic and multicultural experience to her practice.

Free Workbook for Students

Blue Stars College Planning Foundations Workbook

Start today! Go through these strategic exercises to help you sketch out your plans for all four years of high school.

  • Learn key traits important to top colleges.
  • Write your first personal narrative
  • Branch out, exploring interests and defining activities.
  • Set goals and create your 4-year college planning timeline.

Fill out the form to get the workbook.

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