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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!

  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35356 replies399 threads Senior Member
    Roycraftmom. Not sad in the least. Most of us who get to know kids through this process have a remarkable faith in them. We see their assets. No whining from us. Not from **us*!! It's another sort who fret this is all too much, they need a formula, they spend hs years falling apart or desperately doing things that pain them.

    Math stars can and do have broad interests. Engineers, with their many curiosities, are fascinating. There are kids out there doing much of quality for others. Stretching, caring, growing. They freaking stand out. Not the kids who lean back. And they communicate happiness, self awareness, grounding and more in their apps. Try getting involved. The good parts can be exhilharating.

    But applying to college is a purposeful task. And reflects 3.5 years. Dont be a bump on a log and expect TT colleges to drool cuz you've got the stats, run some club.

    If you like animals, go for it. But for heavens sake, loving animals is not a college hook. Or tip. Forget crossing your fingers that all your readers will have a soft spot for animals Do it but dont expect it to make you special, for top admissions.
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2210 replies37 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    Kids should be left to pursue their passions. If they just have one passion. Fine. Let them pursue it. If they have multiple passions. That's fine too. Let them pursue their multiple passions with equal vigor. Unfortunately, many parents think they need to lure, or even force, their kids to do things just for the sake of college applications. One wonders how much energy, time and money is, collectively, wasted on these activities?
    edited May 2019
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35356 replies399 threads Senior Member
    So let them do whatever they want! That doesn't give you any control over admit chances. Or anything, from health to growth to setting a course for the future.

    Dont suddenly morph this thread into being about cruel taskmaster tiger parents.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2877 replies5 threads Senior Member
    "Dont be a bump on a log and expect TT colleges to drool cuz you've got the stats, run some club."

    They do drool over recruitable athletes that will help the sports team's gpa. No doubt about that, and this is not from just one random anecdote either. The athletes getting in to the top 20 or whatever are a huge flaw in your argument about thinking, leadership, taking risks, they have their hand held the entire time, as I've posted before. The only risk they take is who to add to their fifth official visit - Michigan or Notre Dame when they already lined up Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA and USC.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 7147 replies113 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    @theloniusmonk yes. If I knew that running a 4:20 mile and keeping his grades high would have gotten S19 recruited to an elite D3 or Ivy then I can’t say he wouldn’t have shot for that time. Maybe we would have even looked for an additional trainer for him. Everyone on his track team running that time junior year was highly recruited. They kind of had their pick of schools. It seems to be a magic formula. Of course I don’t say this lightly and we wouldn’t have pushed him to do it. It would have had to come from him. But he does look back at his sophomore self and wonders, if he had trained somehow differently, could he have hit that time. No regrets and it all turned out well for him and no sour grapes.

    We have a junior on our team running that time with high grades and scores and the Ivies are talking to him plus Pomona plus Bowdoin plus Amherst. I don’t think he even does many ECs outside of running.
    edited May 2019
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  • anon145anon145 612 replies7 threads Member
    edited May 2019
    yep @homerdog recruited athlete is a super "pointy" type of kid; there are too many average excellents and from a cost benefit analysis if the goal is get into a T30 being a pointy athlete as long as the kid can get a 30 on the ACT is the way to go. while most of us think well rounded is good, the sellers market is the ultra pointy for T30. and as I said to be a top30 recruited athlete there really is no time for more than that and doing well in school. There are what like 50,000 kids with a 99% tile ACT or SAT but probably only a few hundred kids that T30 schools are competing for, for each team sport and a bunch of those can't qualify academically.
    edited May 2019
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  • Leigh22Leigh22 948 replies9 threads Member
    Oh come on! You can’t request someone not turn a thread into something when this one has already morphed into a T20 or bust fiasco.
    The best college admissions advice from AOs at so many colleges would be to be yourself. Write about your passion even if not related to your major. You don’t need to seek out uncommon ECs or shun volunteer opportunities that don’t stand out.
    So yes - it is ok to do what you want and what makes you happy! It’s not the wrong thing to do for majority of kids looking to go to college.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35356 replies399 threads Senior Member
    The majority of colleges don't care about all that the top holistics do.

    But following Sue's example, yes, do look for what your own targets "look for" or their advice. If it's holistic, grasp that it's more than stats and titles.

    And remember, you choose your targets, they choose whom to admit.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6894 replies30 threads Senior Member
    https://pwp.gatech.edu/admission-blog/

    Besides Tufts my favorite admission blogs by far. Have to look back a bit but Rick Clark is always right on with a good sense of realistic humor.

    Many kids combine interests also. Engineering and music seems to be a key one. Kids only need to do a few things for 3-4 years. Not like 15 clubs for 1-2 years. Also be interesting and unique and make the essay personal. I say this ovekrm and over but it's key.

    Of course CC turned this into a debate. Just par for the course in getting free advice around here... Lol 😉.
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1694 replies30 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    ^So, @lookingforward, most of our unremarkable kids who have little to show other than diligent (but less-than-brilliant) work at school and normal ECs should just apply to the closest state directional and be done with it? I'm not trying to be contentious here; I'd really like to know.

    When you write about holistic admissions, please define "top"? At what ranked level can a kid be active in a few meaningful-to-them things, engaged, sincere, kind, friendly, honest, hardworking, true to himself/herself, strive (and make) top grades without achieving at a superstar EC level and still get a true, classic liberal arts education? Because that's where my kid's target should be, I suppose, and it's better to know it now. I'm not complaining, I'm trying to be realistic.

    I have read several times by experienced posters on CC that any small college ranked lower that 100 is only dubiously considered to be a LAC in the true spirit of the word...I got the sense that these posters considered anything less to be more of a pre-professional /regional training school or something quite inferior in some way. Don't know if that's true, but since all LACs claim holistic admissions, kids like mine may be screwed if what you're saying is true. If it IS true (and you're just the messenger), I'd rather know it and be prepared for that reality. Because my kid IS passionate about some things....she LOVES marching band, for example, and our band's competitive successes. She works hard and enthusiastically to be an integral part of it. But she's really uncomfortable standing out as an individual or tooting her own horn and there's really nothing I can do about that. And she does need eight hours of sleep. But, honestly, this does make me sad. This is a kid who was devouring "Little House" books in kindergarten and reading Jane Austen for fun in fifth grade (sure, she didn't get all the historical context, but still...) and yet a good LAC is out of reach because she's not a star athlete or some other EC standout? I know I'm focusing on my kid here, but I mean to include the good number of other students in a similar situation....for whom large universities are not a good "fit" and who gravitate to LACS, but find there's just not enough room for them. Then what? If the population of good students wanting these kinds of schools is growing, then why is there so little trickle-down in the rankings? Why can't the schools now ranked, say, T120 be just as great today (by quality and reputation) as, say T30s used to be, given that the sheer numbers of average-excellent and average very good students applying to college has grown?
    edited May 2019
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35356 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    Marching band is great. Adcoms know how much time it takes.

    @inthegarden any kid should apply to the right colleges for him. There are thousands, besides directionals.

    When a kid applies to a highly or most competitive (many posters define reaches as under 25% or sometimes 30% admit rates,) he needs to be competitive, to get an admit. That includes nice...and a whole lot more. Otherwise, they'll pick the kids who do fit THEIR needs.

    It starts with "match." Not just stats. Not just what he wants. Certainly not, he only did what he wanted to. You don't send an app and inform a college you'll be there in Sept. They have to choose you.

    It is not simply, "meaningful to the kid." It's lovely when we see this filtering in our kids. But not when you target a college that defines its own "meaningful." Or a major that has it's own bar for preparation, academically and in ECs.

    Posters keep repeating that #1 is to be you. BUT the colleges are looking for the "you" that fits with THEM. If you don't want to be that, then find the colleges that fit your kid.

    I don't see why people stumble over this.
    Devouring books in kindergarten is not a trait colleges look for. It's about the hs years. Are you saying the only thing your kid does is marching band?
    edited May 2019
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6623 replies143 threads Senior Member
    So many posts are based on our student and their journey. These are unique combinations of talents, timing and temperaments.

    It’s not universal but our lens tends to make it look that way.

    We have generalized opinions of optimal combinations for admissions success. They are just opinions and most fully informed by our narrow and personal experiences.

    None of really know what they want outside of the perfect candidate. Directionally sure. Absolutely, nope.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6894 replies30 threads Senior Member
    I think students need to look at the school moto and mission statements. This gives you a very good look at what the schools are looking for. Some schools it's volunteering. Maybe the kid should do some of that? Some schools might be leadership... Doing that might make a good fit and so on. Now your fitting what the school wants. Still don't know their needs but at least you got their wants. Put some of that into the essay.

    Ie : sons at Michigan engineering. In their engineering mission statement they talk about being intellectually curious. Funny but those exact words were in my son's essay. The types of kids he wants to go to school with were the kids they describe.....

    Just an idea.

    @inthegarden. Not sure if I am getting your point but every school wants a mixture of kids and talents. If Lacs are your thing (daughters at Beloit College and loves it) then go for it. Forget about rank. As stated my sons at Michigan and daughter at Beloit. Each is the perfect school for each of them. Both are getting an amazing education. Both are "very" active in their schools programs and happy. Both will come out with good jobs and be able to support themselves (they better 😉). Rank is a bragging right not a definition of who the person is or who they will become.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2385 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    I have read several times by experienced posters on CC that any small college ranked lower that 100 is only dubiously considered to be a LAC in the true spirit of the word

    I guess that this will come as quite a shock to the faculty and students at Lake Forest College, Hope College, and Sweet Briar. It seems that some people are so obsessed with ranking that they believe that USANews rankings are enough to determine the designation of a college.

    "Hello, are you the president of XYZ College? This is George from The Council of Independent Colleges. It has come to my notice that your ranking in USANews has fallen to #101 in National Liberal Arts Colleges. Because of this, you may no longer describe yourselves as a Liberal Arts College.

    Yes, you are correct. You must now get rid of your Liberal Arts curriculum, change your mission statement, change the teaching duties of the faculty. I know that this is difficult, but this is how it has to be. A few anonymous posters on College Confidential have made this decision, and we are all bound by their opinions. Yes, if you submit a written request to delay this change in designation for a year we may consider it, so long as the request includes a detailed plan as to how you intend to raise your USANews rankings.

    No, I'm sorry, but blowing up a higher ranking college is not an acceptable plan, and neither is kidnapping the family of one of the USANews editors."
    edited May 2019
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  • Waiting2exhaleWaiting2exhale 3042 replies17 threads Senior Member
    I can grab hold of this:

    ...do look for what your own targets 'look for' or their advice. If it's holistic, grasp that it's more than stats and titles.

    And remember, you choose your targets, they choose whom to admit."
    ----
    I cannot imagine focusing on this insane process before well into the high school career, allowing a kid to develop into who they are, allowing me (the parent) to gauge their pulse. Then easing into the advice in the quote above.

    However, I understand if many people do it differently, because the plan is to get there, wherever that place is for their child, or their dream for their child.

    So much to do and know, and find out you didn't do because you didn't know....



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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1694 replies30 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    @lookingforward, No, not just marching band...also concert band, all-county band (placed first chair), jazz band and a completely different musical instrument she has played for 13 years (but only casually now). Marching band also takes half the summer, full time (sometimes 9-9). And ballet on a casual level (used to be pre-pro) and school tennis team and some minor volunteer work and, yes, reading novels voraciously when she gets the time (not much time, after her AP reading). Peers/teachers are trying to recruit her for Mock Trial next year, she's intrigued, but concerned about the time commitment and how that will impact study time/sleep time. Has no idea what she wants career-wise but not heavy STEM. Not competitively ranked in anything beyond a local level, and has no particular desire to be. I see a healthy, engaged young woman who is not just a study grind, who most days spends ninety minutes to five hours per day after school on these various ECs that are not considered anything special (and that's OK with me that they're not considered special) and then usually another two to four hours studying, and most of Sunday afternoon/night studying. Others are surely quicker, deeper, more efficient and can do more but I don't think she can, without affecting her health and well-being. I don't care about T20s or T-anythings, really, but we recently visited a few nearby LACs, just to see what's out there, and one that happens to rank between 40 and 60 (don't want to identify it here) that I could see being a great fit for HER but I'm afraid to hope she has a chance with THEM after reading these threads. It's not a tippy-top but a well-regarded, solid school that she actually got excited about, resonated with the presenter's talk about the school mission statement. And like so many parents, I come to these kinds of threads to try to determine whether there's even any reason to apply to a school like this when it seems that if your child doesn't have some absolutely amazing qualities beyond a 4.0 UW and a full but "normal " life, there's little reason to hope for a LAC that does holistic admissions, (especially if you kid is an Asian female).
    edited May 2019
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35356 replies399 threads Senior Member
    @inthegarden She's on the right track. No need to worry about directionals, lol. Don't despair. Just learn more about the ones she likes, try to get a read on what they look for, and figure the right way to present herself. She doesn;t need to be competitively ranked. Maybe she adds some more comm service, this summer (a few hours, twice a month, can do it.)

    She sounds empowered. Best to you both.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35356 replies399 threads Senior Member
    There are so many great colleges out there.
    Ranking is far less important than how it fits you and you fit it, where you can grow.

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