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character counts

Episode 40: Character Counts with Guest Benjamin Calderelli



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Many schools are test-optional for the Class of 2021 – now more than ever, the essay and other components of the application will play a larger role in the application process. What do colleges look for in terms of “character” on a college application? How do you define character attributes? How do you evaluate character attributes on an application? Do colleges really value “character” as a deciding factor in the decision-making process? What are some tips for high school students going through the process now as to the most effective ways to demonstrate their true self and character?  Benjamin Caldarelli, Co-Founder of Princeton College Consulting, is here with us today to share his thoughts on how Character Counts more than ever now. 




Key Takeaways:

  • Character counts now more than ever
  • Introduction to the Character Collaborative and Making Caring Common
  • Focus on 3 activities and go deep. Get involved and take on leadership roles. It is more about the level of involvement and engagement versus the number of clubs you join.
  • Demonstrating character traits in an application to help tell your story
  • Colleges are looking at character traits such as honesty, integrity, resilience, and civic engagement to determine what you will bring to their community


Important Resources and Links:

Princeton College Consulting



Character Collaborative

Making Caring Common


Meet Ben Calderelli

character counts


A passionate educator, Benjamin has helped hundreds of students navigate the transition from high school to college. With the belief that students often have more potential than they realize, he views the college admissions process as a unique opportunity.  By teaching students how to connect the dots between their experiences, values, and goals, Benjamin helps students frame and tell their stories.


Known for challenging traditional approaches to education and college planning, he guides the Princeton College Consulting team to help students authentically explore their academic and extra-curricular interests, as well as develop character strengths necessary to be successful in college and beyond.

Benjamin regularly writes about higher education and is a sought after speaker, frequently presenting his ideas on how students and families can navigate the admissions process with style and sanity.  A former English teacher, Benjamin is committed to an educational ideal of a community of citizens and scholars ready to lead a democracy.


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We hope you found our show interesting especially given the uncertainty surrounding the college admissions process. Now more than ever, everyone has an opportunity to contribute to society in ways that will help make the world a better place. Trust, integrity, kindness, compassion, resilience, courage are all ways students can demonstrate how they will add value both in and outside of the classroom in a college environment. Stay curious and know that organizations like the Character Collaborative and Making Caring Common are working hard to educate students, families, colleges, and society about the importance of character in the college admissions process.  


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Episode 40 Full Transcript


Episode 40 - Benjamin Caldarelli


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