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[SGC-32] Go From Meh to Memorable With Writing Tips From College Prep Mentor, Mindi Trimble
Episode 3218th September 2023 • She's Got Content • Melissa Brown, MD
00:00:00 00:31:55

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My guest for this episode is Mindi Trimble who mentors students through the college application process. Mindi and I discuss the similarity between the process of students standing out through their personal statements and unique experiences, and how this mirrors the journey of entrepreneurs and coaches as they niche down their businesses and nail their messaging to stand out. Mindi offers her students advice and guidance to help them through this time and these principles can also be applied to the content creators' journey, too!

Don’t Miss Inside This Episode:

  • How an overstretched waistband from a pair of pantyhose became a defining moment for my guest!
  • Discover how to stand out and make your content unique, using strategies shared by a college prep mentor.
  • Gain insights into the power of regular moments of reflection.
  • Learn about why you want to develop your own 'Word Closet' and how that helps your content and copy.
  • Don't miss the wisdom of the colors--blue sky and green and gold statements and what they represent in your content.
  • Mindi's 4-D framework to help her students with their college prep and hint--this can also be applied to creating a content plan for you, too.

Links and products mentioned in today's episode:

Mindi's Goodies exclusively for podcast listeners: Be sure to check out the Bubble Wrapped College Planning Timeline and Mindi's upcoming events.

Marisa Corcoran: Check out the Copy Confidence Society to learn just what to say when someone asks you what you do, and how to write uncopyable words for all things in your business. Mindi and I met through participating in Marisa's Copy Confidence Society and her Intentional Icons program.

Lyn Fairchild Hawks--Blue Sky and Gold Coins

Brittany Herzberg--The Case Study Queen mentioned by Mindi in this episode.

About Mindi Trimble:

Described as “the bubble wrap of life & college coaching,” Mindi Trimble encourages college-bound students to POP with fun, stress-relieving ideas for navigating their educational journeys using the Majorly Determined method inside her multi-year Accepted Academy program.

She then makes sure her students don’t POP under pressure by coaching them through carefully chosen coursework and self-directed experiences—all culminating in personality-filled applications that get put in the ‘yes’ pile.

Besides increasing acceptance rates, working with Mindi has been known to yield college financial offers ranging from five to thirty times her students’ investment in her programs. When not singing her students’ praises, Mindi is flexing her Phi Beta Kappa-from-UC Berkeley skills at trivia nights, hiking with her family and German Sheagle, or using her formal opera training to make up silly versions of soprano arias. 

Mindi's Website

Find Mindi's website here:

Mindi's free goodies for podcast listeners.

Connect With Mindi on Social

Connect with Mindi on Instagram: @minditrimblementoring

About Your Host

Melissa Brown, MD - Coach, Author, Speaker, Teacher, and Podcast Host.

After leaving medical practice in 2009, Melissa discovered the online world and never looked back! After coach certification, she began a healthy lifestyle coaching practice online and quickly fell in love with blogging, writing, and content marketing.

Melissa believes that coaches have the power to change the world. Unfortunately, too many coaches get discouraged by the amount of content they need to create for marketing their business and this can lead to overwhelm and giving up on their dreams. There's such a ripple effect when a dream dies, so Melissa is on a mission to help coaches and solopreneurs overcome the overwhelm when it comes to content creation so they keep those dreams alive.

Your content can impact massive amounts of people and positively change the world. You've got content in there inside you; let's get it out into the world.

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Mindi Trimble:

The thing that I wanna say about being an entrepreneur and in terms of niching is just sometimes when you have that resistance, that FOMO. I don't wanna close myself off from an opportunity. I don't wanna leave people out. I think that's the other benefit of starting this process early is that the clearer you get and the clearer you are every time you come and review your values and your why and what you like something what you didn't like, the FOMO just drifts away, and it gets replaced by the joy of missing out on stuff that you know is not important to you. Because you're constantly checking in with what is.

Melissa Brown:

Hello there, Content Creators, you're listening to the She's Got Content podcast, where it's all about creating content for your coaching business. I'm your host, Doctor Melissa Brown, and I'm here every week to help you get your content out of your head. Out of your heart and out there into the world where that information and your services can impact the most people. Get ready to take notes today and then take action content creators. Let's dive in with today's episode because you've got content to get out there. Hello, and welcome back to another episode of She's Got Content. Today, I am so excited to welcome the Bubble Wrap of College Prep, my friend, Mindi Trimble. Mindi mentors students on how to intentionally pop out from the application crowd without popping under pressure on the way to their best-fit college. Besides increasing acceptance rates, Mindy's Acceptance Academy program has helped students win scholarship and financial aid offers ranging from 5 to 30 times what they invest in her guidance. Talk about return on investment! When not singing her student's praises, Mindi's flexing her Phi Betta Kappa from UC Berkeley skills at trivia nights, hiking with her family and her German Shegal, or using her formal opera training. Wow. No wonder she sings her students' praises. She uses her formal opera training to make up silly versions of soprano arias. Welcome Mindi!

Mindi Trimble:

Hi. I love it. I love watching you read that and be like, oh, Oh, yeah. I do. I definitely sing their praises. Occasionally, I will sing at them. Usually in person, it's fun.

Melissa Brown:

Awesome. Mindy, tell me how did you get into this college mentoring?

Mindi Trimble:

While I was going back to school to get my degree in opera performance, I started doing test prep, but I'm gonna fast forward for a second because really the turning point, the moment of truth for me was all about the overstretched waistband of a pair of pantyhose.

Melissa Brown:


Mindi Trimble:

Let me explain. I know. But this was it. This was it. Okay. So I was in an audition for LA Opera. And LA Opera is a big house, and I worked really hard in this aria. And during that whole time, like I said, I had gone back to school to get a second bachelor's degree in music and my graduate degree in music and opera performance specifically. And so while I was working on all my audition techniques and perfecting my vocal technique and all of that, I was also working with students mainly on standardized test preparation, but I had started to expand into college essay prep and college prep. And I was really enjoying that work. But I was starting to get on the audition circuit and it was hard. There's a lot of rejection and a lot of things that you cannot prepare for and that are so beyond your control. And so I'm in this audition, and I'd worked so hard in the elastic waistband on my pantyhose, just gave up the ghost in mid-aria. Okay? And I feel my pantyhose start to slide down my hips. Now, I'm yeah. I make it through the song just fine, I'm sure. I was terrified that these things were gonna fall past the hem of my dress. And needless to say, I did not nail that audition, but it just made me realize that hustle and grind of the audition circuit not making my heart sing anymore. What was making my heart sing was working with kids and seeing them take this whole college prep transition and turn it into a rite of passage where they're really reflecting on their why and their purpose and how they wanna show up in the world. And so that was the turning point. And I've just I've gone more and more headlong into my business ever since.

Melissa Brown:

Wow. I've never heard such a story about a pair of pantyhose.

Mindi Trimble:

The best part is no pantyhose required, obviously, when we're working online.

Melissa Brown:

The best part Absolutely. Yes. So you didn't nail the audition, but you nailed a new career.

Mindi Trimble:

I did. I did. And then I just think of it as, hey, this is my new stage. This is where I get to use my voice in a different way and get creative and help students realize they can turn wherever they are into a place where they can take center stage and create their own story.

Melissa Brown:

Well, so tell us what's the lowdown on how you help your student really stand out in the application process because there's so many high school students that are applying now for so few positions. How do you get them to really stand out?

Mindi Trimble:

Similar to what we entrepreneurs do in our content, really trying to figure out how do we stand out, how do we make our content kind of pop out from the sea of samesies. I use similar approaches with my students. So, obviously, it helps with students since they are on a timeline, it helps if I meet them earlier on in the process. Even as early as middle school, we may not start working in middle school, but maybe this summer before 9th grade, 10th grade, that's really a great time to take this academic journey from a couple of different angles. So first, I work with them to establish a motif, and that is a musical term, but I'm sure many of your listeners are familiar with. A motif is a repeated pattern, a musical pattern that might represent a particular character or a particular mood of the piece. It's a pattern that recurs. And I wanna work with students early on to explore their academic interests and what they're passionate about so that then we can establish a motif that we're gonna really go for through their academic coursework, their extracurricular activities and their intentional summer projects and experiences. So that's one way that I help students stand out. Another way is just helping them structure moments of reflection throughout the high school process. A lot of times, parents and students get so caught up in the grades and the everyday homework assignments that they think, oh, setting aside time to think about all this is a nice to have. It ends up getting shoved right towards the end of the whole high school experience, and that makes it a lot more difficult to churn out that personal statement, but by managing the schedule and building in kind of regular times for reflection and review, of how they're feeling, what their values are, what they've done, what they've enjoyed, what they haven't enjoyed, they can turn the whole journey into something more intentional.

Melissa Brown:

Do you encourage them to actually journal their thoughts and experiences? So they've got that to pull in with their college essay.

Mindi Trimble:

Yeah. I do. The reason I like to start early is I like to build in writing exercises throughout the 3 to 4 years so that by the time we get to the personal statement, they have more experience doing personal writing because frankly a lot of students don't. And I love the college essay process. That's really what motivated me to expand my services into college list building and financial aid and scholarship advice, extracurricular planning, and that kind of thing. I do think it's important to flex that muscle earlier, and I do that through looking for scholarship opportunities that have essay requirements. That kind of motivates them a little bit more when there's money at stake, too, to try this personal writing. And frankly, a lot of those scholarship essay prompts do require that they've done some thinking about what it is they wanna do in their future. So it's all really great practice for the higher stakes stuff that's gonna come at the end.

Melissa Brown:

Okay. So you've got motifs and you've got structured moments of reflection. Yes. Looking for those scholarship opportunities, and then writing the application that goes along with that.

Mindi Trimble:

Exactly. So it's about establishing the motif, looking for ways to earn money, that it was also helping them develop their writer's voice. And then, yes, the management of those reflective moments. Absolutely.

Melissa Brown:

Okay. Are there any other college essay writing tips that entrepreneurs could possibly use and be well served? I like this idea, the motifs, Yes. Because it's so important to say things again and again as an entrepreneur, as a coach, content creator. So the motifs are great. And, of course, journaling is great for everybody, I think.

Mindi Trimble:

Right. Yeah. Truly. I think that sometimes we can find ourselves, even I find myself in a rut with my weekly email or with my captions, and your listeners may or may not know this, but we met through Marisa Corcoran's Copy Confidence Society and I really find that the exercise that she had us do about putting together your word closet . . . what are some things that you actually say in everyday conversations that make you who you are. I'll do that with students. I pull from the way that they speak to me in a Zoom call. For example, I had this one student who came to me pretty late into the fall of her senior year. She was very stressed and she said, gosh, I just don't know what else to write about except that I love coding. I love computer science. I love coding. I really want that to be in my essay. And I said, okay. She said, but there's other sides of me. I wanna show more. And she kept saying, I really love debugging code. She kept saying debugging over and over in our session, and I said, how else do you debug in other areas of your life? Oh, really? What do you mean? I said, how do you solve problems? Solve other problems? So we turned it into debugging is my superpower was the theme of her personal statement, and she helps her dad debug problems around the house. They debug furniture construction or the garden. And she's also debugs her work process during COVID, right? When she had to come up with creative ways to approach her homework. And so I think really listening to my students and the language that they use and not just condemning that as, oh, that's not it's not proper. It's not academic enough to be in a personal statement. The fact of the matter is that admissions readers want to see the real you just like we all want to see real people showing up online. So I think really leaning into the way you speak, and using it creatively in a way that feels whatever that is for anybody, the right blend of professional and personal. And I think the other ways that the other college essay tips that I really love for entrepreneurs are, and I'm gonna I'm stealing this, swiping this. I'm gonna give her credit but I love these images and I love color. So I have a colleague named Lynn Fairchild Hawkes who runs a business called Success Story. And she's a Y.A. fiction novelist, and she works exclusively on the essay. She is a writer. She is an amazing writer, an amazing person, and I really like working with students and looking at their writing on these three levels. You have blue sky statements, blue kind of vague general sentences, So if you've got sentences in your copy or content that sounds like just any entrepreneur could cut and paste it onto the caption, then it's not personal enough. It doesn't have the opportunity to build enough connection. Now you may take a step further and you might start building in some green you're adding more color in that you're offering some insights in your captions about your learned experience but it's still not specific enough so that it really sounds like your lived experience. And then when you're really nailing it, in your content, you're adding a lot of gold. So that's adding the specific stories just like I shared about my student, the debugging, she's a debugger and debugging is her superpower. That's some gold that I just added to the conversation. And that's why case studies work so well. As anybody who knows Brittany Herzberg knows, she's the Case Study Queen. It's true because that's where we can really relate that those human stories are what build that bridge of connection. And so I really work on infusing my students' essays with more gold and green and less blue, and that's what takes them from meh to really memorable. Right? That's when we're pulling in the motifs and pulling in all the aspects of their lives that are gonna stand out.

Melissa Brown:

I love that. That's so cool how you can put that together for a college essay because that's it's gonna make that student stand out above all the others that are 'Meh' in the...