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What are some things you wish you learned about college/college admission process?


Replies to: What are some things you wish you learned about college/college admission process?

  • newtrierdadnewtrierdad Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    I learned a valuable lesson from my son's recent experience: Naviance is less reliable then it seems at first blush. Things change, and often dramatically, in school admission policies so that a "safety" one year becomes a "stretch" the next year. One final thought: demonstrated interest in a school (particularly in highly competitive smaller private schools) does help -- a bit!
  • whenhenwhenhen Registered User Posts: 5,638 Senior Member
    If you did get into a major reach school, be sure you can handle the academic rigor. I've seen a few peers drop out and found out that they were at the lower end of admitted students. Getting into an awesome school is fine if you can handle the rigor. But be aware that at many schools, the majority of students were in the top 10% of their class, and come to college with that work ethic which causes professors to adjust their expectations accordingly.

    In this respect, a match/safety school may be better for B students than the HMFR (huge mf reach) they somehow got into. Conversely, a high level peer group may challenge students in more ways than they would have gotten had they gone to a safety.

    Also, at most schools, it's impossible for students to take advantage of even 10% of the resources the school offers.
  • higgins2013higgins2013 Registered User Posts: 711 Member
    I think essays are important only for extremely-competitive schools where most candidates are well-qualified and super-competent for admission, and adcoms are looking for reasons to DENY candidates to winnow application pool count. One admissions director told his Open House audience (and us) that at 98% of colleges and universities, reasonably qualified applicants will be accepted at their first-choice school. If so, I suspect that at "98% of schools" that essay gets a quick read-through, mostly to determine that there are no "red flags" for concern, and a strong essay explaining low grades and/or scores may yet save the application of an otherwise desirable candidate.
  • EliKressesEliKresses Registered User Posts: 1,787 Senior Member
    The only matches are safeties.
  • CatriaCatria Registered User Posts: 11,349 Senior Member
    Stats alone will get you in nowhere.

    Not exactly true. CSUs, U Iowa, Iowa State, U Missouri (and I think schools with auto-admit plans) are schools where stats can get one in even if one has written extremely poor essays (but then expect to take remedial English) and Canadian schools other than UBC (and perhaps a couple of others) do not require essays at all.

    For those schools, if they could admit only the 4.0 students with perfect test scores, I can assure you they will; they're still confident they can get a well-rounded class without asking for well-rounded applicants. However, there's a critical class size above which a college can afford to do so.
  • HighOracleHighOracle Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    Unless you have stacks of money, don't apply to a US college from Australia. Even Harvard doesn't understand Australian financial conditions.
  • dietz199dietz199 Registered User Posts: 3,419 Senior Member
    When it comes to your admissions chances... Your Major Matters if it's Engineering!

    When looking at admissions rates and incoming freshman profiles be sure to check out the specifics for any engineering majors. A place with an overall acceptance rate of 40% could (and in our case did) have an acceptance rate to the College of Engineering hover around 18%.

    As a previous poster mentioned...Naviance is of little help in this department.
  • snugapugsnugapug Registered User Posts: 517 Member
    Being admitted directly into your major. For students at all academic levels, in all kinds of majors, it can be a crucial, often overlooked, detail. Achieving the required gpa once in college in weed-out courses for your major may be very difficult; and then what? Study the university's online catalogue.
  • MarioKartExpertMarioKartExpert Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    As a freshman at a selective state university, take heed. In addition to the general things pointed out by others, I'll add a couple new things: you can't overlook what actually takes place in college.

    Do your due research on your majors and courses for your most likely schools, including your safeties. If, like me, you didn't/can't take a huge load of AP classes, know well in advance which APs will help you get some GenEd credits out of the way, saving you time, money, and additional energy you can devote to your major. Know your books, requirements, everything, even after you get accepted. Actually, know this ESPECIALLY after you get accepted. The more you know, the faster you'll act on it, and the more pleasant your freshman year will be. In summation, do as much academic research and preparation as possible for your top colleges early. As in, your junior or even your sophomore year. Don't wait until it's too late.

    While it's stressful enough to get into college, it pales in comparison to actually staying there. At a state university like UMD, where I'm at now, you've got to be aware of where your standing is between your college and the university itself. It's not over once you get in! I have a number of friends I met in college that are in jeopardy of getting kicked out. Even I'm not completely out of the woods yet.
  • bignosebignose Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    My D and I visited colleges in her junior year, and she was able to narrow it down to the schools that really interested her. We then did more research and revisited schools. Once she indicated her first choice, she applied ED. Fortunately, she was accepted and it greatly reduced that stress. However ED would have allowed her to concentrate on other schools if it hadn't worked out.
  • djc007djc007 Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    Read "Winning the College Admissions Game" by Peter von Buskirk, preferably early on in high school. One half for parents, one half for students. Absolutely amazing analysis of what the whole process really is and a road map to insure that your son/daughter grows, learns, and reflects as they approach their first major adult decision. Make no mistakes - getting into college is a business and marketing machine driven by the coveted rankings.

    Equipped with this knowledge, you can find an excellent place to pursue your goals and get a good education. The best school is the best school for you!
This discussion has been closed.