Getting In Is Only Half The Battle

Archive for the ‘College/University Admissions’ Category

winding_roadApplying to college should theoretically be a straightforward process. You did okay in school and you’re ready to make the leap and get into a decent college or university of your choosing. That’s theoretically. Wayne Washington of has an article about the twisted road that the current college admissions process has become.

“Applying for college a long, costly, confusing journey” discusses the admissions process. Applying to a college certainly isn’t a no-brainer, and in fact is something that should be planned for years out. I have to admit that I don’t agree with the idea of coughing up the $100 (or whatever it is these days) application fee to multiple colleges either.

For members of the class of 2010 deadlines for getting into college are coming around. The Charlotte Observer(.com) has an article that follows the efforts of a couple of this year’s seniors as they prepare and apply for college.

Topics Covered Include:

  • Limit your applications
  • Visualize life there
  • Frustration was normal
  • Most love their choice
  • Make the decision

The main point is really summed up in that last bullet. Make your decision and then GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND APPLY.

As always, the full article can be found here.

I clearly remember (back in the day) being told to by a guidance counselor that I should have some volunteer work on my college application. The idea was that colleges wanted a “well rounded person”. The fact that as a 16-year-old I had just about zero interest in volunteer work wasn’t supposed to be part of the equation.

The news site has an article with input from counselors about volunteering because you care, NOT because you’re trying to pad your application.

You might want to discuss the contents of this article with your own guidance counselor before making any decisions, but it’s another data point to consider before deciding how to allocate those free-time resources.

The blog has a post this week about writing a successful application essay.

The blog (nice descriptive title), also has an article with suggestions on how to go from idea to finished essay.

Next, I found a whole website dedicated to teaching you how to write a college application essay. The site Sample College Essays (.com) looks like a good starting point.

This is one of those essays that really has to genuinely come from the student. I’ve already posted articles about using a hired gun on one of these can backfire.

The essay isn’t going to spring to life all by itself. The best advice as called out in the Thady article is to start early and DO NOT be afraid of the drafting proces. Write that first draft. That first draft isn’t something you’d want to submit, but anybody who’s written a paper can attest to the way the drafting process works to turn papers into quality work.

Good luck with those essays!

The Sooo…Tell Me About Yourself Blog has a post today with real live interview questions taken by would-be Princeton students.

I won’t ruin any of the article by posting any of the questions directly, but it’s interesting. At the very least it may take some of the fear out of those too cool to go here questions you hear about. You know that crapola like “How would you bury a mountain with a thimble?” or some other such nonsense.

It sounds like the Admissions Officers at Princeton are..gasp..actually trying to get some insight into the students.

So fooling around on the web today I found a search engine for Colleges and Universities called Campus Explorer.

This tools seems like a pretty decent first order filter for getting in the ballpark for schools.

This search engine lets you search for schools by type of school (2 year, 4 year, public, private, vocational), location, by major. And once you pull up a list you can filter by whatever criteria you wish. You can also create a profile if you want to save your preferences and your search results.

I liked the “calculate your chance of admission” widget as well.

Once you’ve selected a particular school this site provides a lot of general specific information about the school. Tuition, admission information, geographic area, a few pictures. Like I said, a good first order filter for getting an idea of which schools one might like to look at. And of course each entry has a direct link to the school’s website.

A link to Campus Explorer can be found here.

FTV: “Most college essays are so full of crap you could plant a forest in them”

The “Sooo…Tell Me About Yourself” blog has some advice for would-be college interviewees. And that is to make it to your frikkin’ inteview on time.

Other little gems include:

  • “Don’t go to your admissions interview naked.”
  • “Answer your interviewer’s questions in English.”
  • “Don’t puke on the table.”

Okay, not really, but how about not getting lost and not being late for starters.

The full text can be found here.

This YouTube video features Dr. Katherine Cohen discussing (common?) college application mistakes.

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