Nice article following college hopefuls

<p>A series following four students in the college admissions process.</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Thanks for the link, idad. As far as the slew of admissions frenzy articles go, the introduction to the article isn't too bad, but for the rest, I do take issue with the over simplification of the college admissions process - the contention that most students apply to a "couple" of schools (?meaning two) and then settle on one and "take the SAT" (meaning once?) just doesn't ring true to me. But then again I hail from the New York- Ct. area where, guidance counselors usually tell students to apply to seven or eight schools made up of reach,match and safeties, take the SAT twice, and go on college campus tours ... while never advocating that parents ought to meddle inordinately nor should spend "hundreds, even thousands of dollars on test-prep courses, tutors and travel for campus tours, all in hopes of giving their teen an advantage for acceptance into elite four-year colleges."</p>

<p>I also took a look at the "college consultant" linked article. I certainly can agree with the following observations:</p>

<p>"Growing up on the East Coast, that brand-name school thing is big," she said...</p>

<p>"Parents see this as a referendum on their parenting skills, which it is not," she said. Some parents are unrealistic about their child's chances to get into so-called "best" schools, she said, because "they really want that bumper sticker. They want to say they're in the Honors Program at Michigan or Cornell or Princeton."</p>

<p>"Sykes urges parents to look past the name-brand schools and find a college that fits the student."</p>

<p>and was surprised to learn that:</p>

<p>"The Twin Cities is one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation for college consultants, said Mark Sklarow, who heads the Independent Educational Consultants Association."</p>

<p>The article ends with this well-placed zinger:</p>

<p>"College rankings guides bear a big part of the blame, she said.</p>

<p>"If high-profile colleges were to tell U.S. News to kiss off," she said, "it would take away 25 percent of the frenzy." "</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Thanks for the link. I remember a similar series in the NYT a few years back that provided a real "aha" moment for me. Until then, I hadn't realized how much admissions had changed since the dark ages (1970s).</p>

<p>As a resident of "fly-over-land," I can relate a lot more to the featured students in the Twin Cities. They seem like the kids you see on the sidelines and in the malls around here. </p>

<p>I look forward to seeing where they end up.</p>

<p>katonahmom: The statement that most students applied to a couple of colleges and took the SAT once was a characterization of the past, not the present. And even in the present, I believe the majority of my kids' classmates take the SAT once and apply to no more than two or three colleges (e.g, Penn and Temple; Penn State and Temple; Penn State and Millersville; Penn, Drexel and Temple . . . ). Only a fraction of the kids -- very educationally ambitious, high-performing, and in need of substantial financial aid -- apply to as many as six or seven (or eight or ten) colleges.</p>

<p>I remember the article in the NYTimes magazine--the one with several kids from a good public HS in CA applying to Harvard? One kid had learned Mandarin entirely on her own and was explaining her years of study while the interviewer was flipping through her papers and cut her off, saying, "Yeah, well, lots of people speak Mandarin. Anything else?" It was pretty awful. Also one admissions officer said something like, "We could choose a whole class, then set that class aside and choose ANOTHER whole class that would be every bit as good...."</p>

<p>In the end of the story, only one of the four or six incredibly high-achieving kids was accepted.</p>

<p>I read the article and totally disagree with Mao's admissions counselor. I think and adcom would find her summer backbreaking work in her immigrant family's vegetable farm far more compelling than taking an oh so typical summer enrichment program.</p>

<p>It is like one adcom noted, "I am put off by students flying off the Guatemala to work on a project aiding a poor community when there is a similar community in their own backyard."</p>

<p>I totally agree with originaloog about Mao's admissions counselor. I think Mao's story illustrates why low income kids are at such disadvantage. It's not just that they have to work while other kids get to take academic summer programs that allow them advance in their studies, but they also have totally inadequate GCs. Mao's summer work could be the stuff of a great essay and great recs. Just think about what she learned actually working rather than going through the motions or merely observing.</p>

<p>amdg, and JHS, thanks for the input. I find this article tapped an extremely interesting side of the admissions "frenzy" that I hadn't stopped to think all that much about before - a lot depends on the regional or local norm. From what I can tell, the conventional "old fashioned", dark age wisdom that I was told to follow way back when is still the basic formula our guidance counselors are dishing out now - while there are exceptions, of course. When I ask my friends and family what advice they are given, I get the distinct impression that a list of 6 schools is conservative. But then again, I am from the area of the country that, as I recently read, is recognized to be the "epicenter" of the college admissions frenzy.</p>

<p>This was an interesting article, and well-written. I've bookmarked the Star-Tribune and will check back in. I'm also disappointed by Mao's admissions counselor and the take on her summer experience. But honestly, it didn't seem like the counselor was extremely negative -- and hopefully she will help Mao develop a good essay. I wish we had learned more about why Mao's ACT was farily low -- language issues? yet she is described as being a very good writer. I get the impression that Luna is following a path all too familiar here on CC -- targeting the most extremely selective universities, and then applying to UM and UW as safeties (and financial safeties). I don't get the impression that she's all that enthused about those schools, and I hope she gets into the "love thy safety" mindset soon -- with her stats, she could expect good merit money from several good LAC's.</p>

Nationally, one of every five students who enroll in a private four-year college has used a consultant, Sklarow said


That's what caught my eye. Really? 20%? If it were limited to the elite privates I might not be as surprised. But 20% of all students at private 4-year colleges?</p>