November 27, 2008 A while back, I came across an article that I put in the KIV pile to read in my head, and forgot about it, until this week. Re-reading it, I thought it the most helpful piece of advice I’d ever seen given on college admissions, so here it is … read it at this link

The Truth About College Admissions by Jack Scheidell

… or you can read my summary of his important tips to know about getting admitted to college.

First up. Scheidell frames the question thus: Q: How to become a desirable candidate in the eyes of admissions officers?

1. In other words, think of yourself going on a first date. Your first goal is to stand out and you can do this by offering something that the college may need that other equally talented students can’t give, Schneidell suggests playing an obscure instrument for the school orchestra would do the trick.

2. Show passion and focus. Schools will respond to this. Sometimes, to show passion you need to try early admissions, apply early, indicate your keen interest for a school and that it was your first choice.

3. No need to join every extracurricular activity. If you’ve watched the Gilmore Girls then you would have gotten that idea watching preppy school girls run themselves to the ground trying to chalk up more extracurricular extras before trying out for Ivy League schools. Instead, it would be better to show devote considerable time to the pursuit of just one or two genuine interests, and that activity and time spent should indicate “passion” and “resonate with that individual”. Don’t just volunteer for something just because it’ll look good on paper.

4. Quoting Christof Guttentag, the head of admissions at Duke University in Durham, N.C. who said “When colleges admit students, it’s not that they are also rewarding academic accomplishment, but they are building a community…”. Be active participants in your community.

5. Know that good grades and good SATs aren’t enough. They serve only to get you “into the ‘maybe pile.’ Remember ”it’s all about who you are and what you bring” to the school.

6. Provide a “hook.” The great GPA, stellar test scores and the editing of the yearbook apparently fall into the dime-a-dozen category of common students. Admissions officers would be more impressed with ”more unusual achievements” such as a ”national equestrian champion” or “someone who began a Big Brothers/Big Sisters chapter or demonstrated entrepreneurial skills)”. The “star athlete who also happens to be a superb student” will go to the front of the line.

7. Don’t peg your “round” self into a square hole…into a category in which you don’t fit. Come across as genuine.

8. Be realistic and know who and what you are up against. The article says that “need-blind admissions is a myth” and the reality is that “Schools are trying to fill their classes with the largest number of students possible that satisfy diversity criteria and max out the number of students who can afford to pay.” So you really will have to be exceptional or outstanding if you are going to edge out that would-be fee-paying student.

9. Most importantly, the article advises “Figure out what you love to do. If you like fashion and old movies, pursue those things. It’s OK to be the fashion kid who likes old movies.”

10. And then advice for those who may have to swallow the bitter-pill of disappointment, “maybe then the most important lesson about the college admissions process is learning to put rejection behind you. “ Know that if you fail to get in, it has nothing to do with your lack of intelligence.

September 29, 2007 Source: