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The best college admissions advice-from colleges themselves!

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Replies to: The best college admissions advice-from colleges themselves!

  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1968 replies13 threads Senior Member
    I also think the applicant needs to be able to demonstrate a “story” in their app. My nephew is very different than my kids. Not nerdy and not athletic. Instead he went for theater and leadership type things. Most things he did tied back to those two interests. His major also reflected his interests as did his summer camps, work, volunteeering, etc. He wasn’t a risk. Got into the best schools for his interests.
    I think schools want to reduce their own risk and be able to know roughly what they are getting.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6894 replies30 threads Senior Member
    @lookingforward. I am a "he".. Lol.

    So yes, take a chance on yourself, bet on yourself, get out of your comfort zone etc etc. It's our mantra and seems to be working. I wasn't picking on Habitat but many put something like this down when vacationing was more the point then an actual EC.

    But I think doing things like the application and essay and making them personal, unique and interesting is key. Have to separate all this high GPA /stat kids somehow. Plus just using your own "voice". I don't think that's stressed enough. Not making the application address what they "think" the colleges are looking for. Be themselves. Looking at my kids essays they definitely reflect that. Plus a little luck never hurts 😉. 🍀
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35356 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    Valid, @MWolf. But I think our two approaches work together. If you want to be an engineer, show that interest and readiness, the skills, experiences and manner of thinking. If you want to work with animals, maybe rethink engineering. And if you want a Top 20, weigh the advice that just being you will be all it takes. Nor is it enough, for any highly competitive college, to just "want" to be a scientist or etc. It's not picking from a menu and saying, "Here Iam, come take me."

    And note, my comment about goals was after using real life/parents as the example.
    edited May 2019
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  • CheeringsectionCheeringsection 2718 replies83 threads Senior Member
    @MWolf well said!
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30246 replies59 threads Senior Member
    It’s not that rigorous of a matrix. Yes, if you are going into this as an engineering major, there are certain minimum things you had better have in your academic resume to get into selective programs, and to be prepared even for any college engineering major. For the more selective schools, you should put a topping on that, as well to enhance your chances of admission.

    But the top schools want to see more than that in breadth of interests as well as depth. Volunteering at an animals center, taking in rescues, writing an essay about your love of animals and a vignette about an experience can enhance your application. Heck, get lucky with the right AO reading that essay and you can cinch your acceptance. There’s a reason why all those animal experience stories are out there
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2210 replies37 threads Senior Member
    What a dumb idea some of these colleges have. If a student has a passion in something, don't you want that student to put all her/his energy to pursue that passion? Even if s/he is a certified genius, wouldn't it be more productive if that kid put her/his considerable talent in things that truly interest her/him?
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30246 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Our colleges tend to want to build a community populated with diverse people with many talents and interests. There are engineering and CS schools and programs out there that are all businesses for those that do not like those standards. We tend to most want the schools that do have this variety, however b
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2210 replies37 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    Society advances when truly talented people are left to pursue their passions. Really innovative and creative ideas generally come from passionate individuals pursuing their interests, not from some diverse committees.
    edited May 2019
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  • Leigh22Leigh22 948 replies9 threads Member
    @1NJParent that’s what I said previously but obviously some on here disagree. I let my kids do their thing - you want to focus on one activity you love, do it. You want to dabble in many things, great. I’m not going to tell you not to volunteer with animals because it’s “common” or spend less time playing in band. I’m not going to tell you NHS is waste of time if you enjoy it.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 7147 replies113 threads Senior Member
    @Leigh22 guess I should have made it clear that NHS at our school is seriously not fun for anyone. In order to join, the kids have to do a boat load of volunteer work between Jan 1 and Feb 15 junior year and it has to be from six different types of volunteering. So, even if you volunteer for the number of hours required for a cause that's important to you, it doesn't count unless you also volunteer at five other places during that six week time period. It's up to the kids to find all of these volunteering options. There are other requirements that are difficult to figure out as well.. And colleges know that NHS is different at each high school so it's not necessarily even that impressive and definitely not needed for elite admissions. So, many kids here don't do it because they don't have time to jump through those hoops.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6894 replies30 threads Senior Member
    @mwolf. Exactly! Nice summary. I have each of these those kids and one like your daughter. Both with mix interests. My sons at Michigan engineering and daughter transfered to Beloit College. Both respect each other's schools but no way could see each other on their siblings campus. Both are getting a superb education for their respective fields.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6894 replies30 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    My son would not do NHS. At his school it's like everybody can get it (a lot can qualify). He said doing it doesn't separate him from the crowd and instead of going to their local school meetings and bake sale and car wash he wanted to do things he was interested in.... He was right. He did put somewhere on the application something about this also.
    edited May 2019
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  • mathmommathmom 33084 replies160 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    My younger son loved history and was planning to major in international relations. He did not do Model UN because he said the kids in it were all the drinkers and the parents were over-involved. He was in two orchestras because half his friends were in it and Science Olympiad because the other half of his friends did that. (It was also a lot of fun because they had a very successful team.) Oh, and he was on the literary magazine senior year because one of his best friends was the editor. He also sold origami on the side. Not a pointy kid at all. He applied everywhere but Georgetown (where he had to apply to the School of Foreign Service) as undecided. Did fine. And not only that, he got to enjoy high school instead of thinking about some future career. His strengths turn out to be dealing with people and strategic thinking. He's pretty good at organizing stuff and is a whiz with Excel spreadsheets. If you want a conference organized he knows what to do. He's a Naval officer now - I don't know exactly which skills of his they use, but I don't think it hurt him to have done many different things. Academically he also too AP history and AP math and science courses.

    His older brother was completely different, focused on computer programming from age seven on.

    Neither kid did NHS, but they did do some volunteering.
    edited May 2019
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  • homerdoghomerdog 7147 replies113 threads Senior Member
    @mathmom I've never seen anyone on CC admit that their kids sometimes chose ECs because of the group of kids involved and I totally agree!! S19 loved soccer but the boys were drinkers and womanizers and so he moved to XC and track because he liked those kids. Our D21 is really into wellness and mental health but really does not jive with the kids who run those types of clubs at school so she's been doing a peer leadership EC with her friends and it works better for her.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35356 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    @MWolf I don't say kids should knee jerk apply to top colleges for superficial reasons. Or dreaming. I'm not one who races off recommending which or advocating ED, etc. But the fact is, plenty of kids will apply to TTs.

    The question is then, is it appropriate- for the kid and what the colleges want. I advocate for depth *and* breadth in ECs. And any kid with strong side interests can be satisfied at a TT or Top college.

    No, dont write about your love of animals if it's not relevant to the college or your academic interests. This is an application process and none of it, for Top colleges, is meant to be random. The essay, for a highly selective college, is not a musing. It's not 'open topic' day from your English teacher.

    Add, they aren't looking for passions alone. These are hs kids. Show, not just tell. Go ahead and do what you wish, by all means vol with animals, etc. But be informed about the nature of this app process. You aren't applying for a job at animal rescue.
    edited May 2019
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 4016 replies40 threads Senior Member
    What a sad and narrow view of applicants. I know plenty of engineers who like animals, lawyers who enjoy art,etc. Life is short and work will only occupy half of it; even the best people in their field do not, and should not, spend all their time immersed in just that field. If some colleges can't see that, it is their loss, and the applicant's gain. Who would want to go to school with math superstars who can't discuss philosophy or engineers utterly uninvolved with politics? Not me.
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  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 1446 replies3 threads Senior Member
    I think the good news here is that within the T-20 there is room for all. Is your kid 100% tech 100% of the time (academics, ECs, spare time, etc)? There are places for them. Is your kid tech + more (art, music, sports)? There are places for them too. Frankly, with some the advancements in technology I think it is increasingly important for students to take classes in philosophy and ethics (and the like). Interestingly, the students that our S identifies as awesome are not because they are any more intelligent than the rest, but because they are also great artists or musicians. He sees being "intelligent" in ones chosen field is basically table-stakes.
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  • OrangeFishOrangeFish 777 replies20 threads Member
    Is this thread about the best college admissions advice, but limited to only from the TTs? :smiley:
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