Bell and Arch Blog

College admissions advice, news, tips, and more!

What is a CEP, and Why Does it Matter to My Clients?

By Jennifer Martin | May 8, 2024

I am happy to announce that after a months-long process, I have been awarded the highest credential in my profession. I am now a Certified Educational Planner (CEP) awarded by the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners (AICEP). “We are proud to have Jennifer Martin receive this certification,” said Rachel Sobel, Chair of the AICEP.…

Read More
Students taking the digital SAT

Why the SAT and ACT Still Matter in College Admissions

By Jennifer Martin | Apr 1, 2024

I have yet to run into a student who looks forward to sitting for the SAT or ACT with eager anticipation. These tests are anxiety inducing for most students. I admit, I get it. There is the weight of your future attached to these tests that can leave even the most confident student feeling a…

Read More

A Look at Test Optional and College Admissions

By Jennifer Martin | Mar 12, 2023

Test optional and college admissions is still in a state of turmoil which I predict will not settle for the next 2-3 admissions cycles. In my opinion, test optional choices have made a byzantine system even more difficult for teens and their families to navigate as they apply to college. While I do believe that…

Read More

This is Not a Personal Statement: A Book Review

By Jennifer Martin | Feb 24, 2023

It was with great anticipation that I cracked open Tracy Badua’s This is Not a Personal Statement when it arrived on my doorstep after its January 17, 2023, release. I was not disappointed! While young adult literature is not my typical fodder for reading, I was interested to hear how Badua would interpret the current…

Read More

I Wish I Had Known

By Jennifer Martin | Jan 19, 2023

I wish I had known. I hear this quite a bit from the juniors and seniors working with me on college admissions. This blog is written to you – high school freshman and sophomores, and even to you – students in middle school or junior high. I want to share with you RIGHT NOW, some…

Read More

College Essays from a Student’s Point of View

By Jennifer Martin | Sep 17, 2022

This month’s blog is by guest blogger, Marcus Cruz. Marcus and I worked together on his college and scholarship essays during the 2021/22 application cycle. Marcus’s final essays were absolutely amazing. I still remember the detail of each essay and the mastery of his writing voice in those pieces a year later. In this blog,…

Read More

Supplemental Essays: The “Why ____ University?” Prompt

By Jennifer Martin | Jul 8, 2022

You have labored over 650 words for weeks to get your college essay just right, and it’s finally done! Now, you can hang up your writing tools for the season and coast right through your applications. Except, wait, is that a pesky supplemental prompt that you have been ignoring but is now screaming for attention?…

Read More

Try Harder! College Admissions Amped

By Jennifer Martin | May 23, 2022

The college admissions cycle can be brutal. Throw some extreme parental pressure in the mix and a school full of high achievers who amp up the competition for grades and activities, and it is little wonder that the 5 students Director, Debbie Lum, follows through their college application process at Lowell High School, an elite…

Read More

Training Matters

By Jennifer Martin | Mar 17, 2022

How to be a Student of Colleges When I decided to make college admissions advising as an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC) my full-time gig, I committed to learning everything I possibly could about the field. I love education and learning new things, so a certificate program was right up my alley. I am very excited…

Read More