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The best college admissions advice-from colleges themselves!


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

  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 Registered User Posts: 1,219 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.
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,948 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 😉. 🍀
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,967 Senior Member
    edited May 16
    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.
  • CheeringsectionCheeringsection Registered User Posts: 2,379 Senior Member
    @MWolf well said!
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 27,507 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
  • 1NJParent1NJParent Registered User Posts: 948 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?
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 27,507 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
  • 1NJParent1NJParent Registered User Posts: 948 Member
    edited May 16
    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.
  • Leigh22Leigh22 Registered User Posts: 559 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.
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 4,486 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.
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,948 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.
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,948 Senior Member
    edited May 16
    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.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,926 Senior Member
    edited May 16
    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.
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