Admissions Abridged

December 14, 2018

“So Kate, what are you up to these days?” “Well, I’ve got a college counseling business.” “So you counsel college students?  What school do you work for?” “No, actually I help applicants navigate the college admissions process.” “Oh! [Insert comment about teen’s college search or fond ...

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As promised, here’s my rundown of 2018’s Survey of College and University Admissions Directors, completed by Gallup and Inside Higher Ed. Whether I’m looking at an individual school’s report or a wider survey like this I love data. If you’ve got some free time IPEDS is a treasure trove of ...

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As we trudge through submission season this year I’ve found some questions that have surprised me.  Those of us shepherding families through their college applications, myself included, can mistakenly start “talking shop” with the assumption that parents and students are following along.  Acronyms ...

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I got a call today from the anxious parent of a sixth grader who wanted some guidance on how to best help his student position herself for success in college.  What classes should she take now? Would it be worth it to investigate private school? When is it too early to start looking at college ...

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No surprise, the entire college process is big business.  There are testing giants with a choke hold evaluating students and the thousands of test prep companies and tutors to help you boost your scores.  A quick Amazon search will result in hundreds of books about writing your essay, and how to ...

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My very first job in admissions was while I was still an undergraduate myself as a tour guide.  Very early on they indoctrinated us with some tricks of the trade.  It’s a dining hall, not a cafeteria.  A residence hall, not a dorm.  If you have to divulge some negative bit of information, sandwich ...

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Summer is a great time to take a step back, sip a cool beverage, and take a look at what’s going on in the world of college admissions.  Departments use the summer to evaluate how their year went and plan on any changes they want to make for the fall.  Did they over-enroll? Under-enroll?  What ...

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It’s is a bizarre time of year as a college counselor as I find myself at both the beginning and end of this process.  Sophomores and juniors are excitedly and idealistically starting to consider what will be important to them in a school.  At the same time, while only separated by a year or two, ...

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 My first admissions gig was working for a small liberal arts college with a pretty hefty price tag.  Picture me at a college fair: name tag in place, pile of brochures ready to go.  An eager family would walk up and we’d start a conversation.  One of the first questions I’d get from parents was ...

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Think about the impossibility of the task we lay in front of high school students.  In addition to getting good grades, filling up a resume, finding the right colleges and writing countless admissions essays they also need to decide on their life’s passion at 17 years old...or do they? As a ...

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Rewind to August.  The car was anxiously packed, summer reading was done (does the movie count?), and it was time to start the journey to campus.  There had been so much anticipation for this moment and you excitedly thought about what your first few days on campus would be like.  Maybe they were ...

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Each year there seems to be more schools relying on self-reported test scores and transcripts on their applications.  While they may, in the long run, streamline the application process I’ve seen them cause a good amount of stress during this already stressful process.  Should an optional test ...

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I don’t think there’s a student out there enjoying the standardized testing experience.  Likewise, I’ve never met either a high school or college professional that thinks the tests are particularly wonderful or feel very confident that they are strong indicators of student success.  If all that is ...

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Who wouldn’t be completely at ease with a 25-year-old performing their open-heart surgery? Joking aside, many students and parents are attracted to accelerated undergraduate/graduate degree programs.  While some of the most common exist in the realms of medicine, engineering, and business, more and ...

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Ah, the always tricky student resume.  The part of college applications that make students question whether their innate interests are worthwhile.  I get endless questions about not only how to design a student resume but more specifically what activities students should be sure are on there.  It ...

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  Are college interviews still a thing?  Why yes, yes they are.  While some colleges have shied away from the practice due to the sheer volume of applicants the encounter each year many will still grant them to the inquiring student.  Remember how we talked about demonstrating interest last ...

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If you’ve perused any forums on college admissions (looking at you, Mom and Dad!) then you’ve already come across the term “Demonstrated Interest.”  It sounds like some sort of corporate terminology, doesn’t it?  That’s because that’s exactly what it is.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ...

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Hey Seniors: YOU MADE IT!  If all went according to plan (and I sincerely hope it did!) then you’ve submitted your enrollment deposit to the college of your dreams!  But suddenly all that stress you were feeling about getting in and choosing the perfect school has been replaced with an ever more ...

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I love writing this column every month and sharing some helpful college admissions tips and tricks, but maybe you are saying, “Who is this lady who says she knows so much about college stuff?  What exactly would I hire her to do?”  Seems like it’s time for me to define “College Consultant” and ...

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Why are we all willing to pay more for name brand items in the store when we know the generic is the same thing?  Is it our history with certain items; foods that we’ve been eating since we were kids?  Is it a catchy jingle or hilarious TV commercial?  I’ll admit, some generic brands just don’t ...

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The Common Application released their essay questions for the 2017-2018 admissions cycle this past week so we all have essays on the brain.  This always creates a flurry of something between excitement and panic as Juniors start to peruse their choices and grapple over which prompt will allow them ...

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This one goes out to all the juniors out there.  I can feel you squirming in your seats, “Who me?” Yes, you!  The time has come to turn that college dial up a notch.  “But I still have so much time left!”  But you really don’t.  Ideally in a year from now you’ll be sifting through acceptance ...

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‘Tis the season for application decision anxiety!  While regular mortals are happily gift shopping and cookie baking the college bound contingent is waking up in a cold sweat dreading the arrival of their early application decisions.  As distasteful as it might seem, let’s go through some worst ...

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Welcome to the second part of our two-part series taking you behind the scenes in the world of admissions counselors.  In our first installment we confirmed their “Road Warrior” status but now it’s time to take a closer look. To all those students I’m working with or who have attended one of my ...

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Why does everything have to be so darn complicated?  A few months ago we went over all the different major application companies and now I have to confuse things further by talking about the different priority dates. There’s some good news and some bad news.  Bad news first?  As with so many ...

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So you’re sitting in homeroom listening to morning announcements and still trying to wake up the rest of the way.  Through your sleepy haze you hear, “Juniors and seniors please sign up in the guidance office for college visits.   This week we’ll be hosting…”  Or you might hear, “A representative ...

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On most college application supplements this fall you’ll find a question along the lines of, “Why do you believe you’re a good fit for our university?”  If students responded with what’s actually in their head, answers would probably look something like this: “Are you kidding?  Everyone wants to ...

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Anyone else starting to feel like these application conglomerates are getting out of hand?  Let’s look at the major players: Common Application: The OG consolidated application and still the biggest player on the board.  They’ve added an account rollover feature this year to allow Juniors ...

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You made it!  T-minus one year left and it’ll be TTYL to high school.  As you’re making your summer schedule should you include, “Pat self on back and mark the days till graduation in planner?” Absolutely. “Hang at Seaside with friends and eat greasy food?” Sure.  “Become essentially nocturnal, ...

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