An important wisdom from a high school senior who applied to college this year from a recent NY Times article
. Acceptance percentages are meaningless and are not interchangeable with college selectiveness. Acceptance rates give an applicant no indication of their chances for acceptance. Further, colleges with higher rates of acceptance may not be easier to get into than those with lower rates. Why is this so?
First, acceptance rates are not scientifically or independently verified, so we have no idea if they are even accurate. Second, your likelihood of acceptance can only be judged in terms of where you fit in the school's applicant pool. As every college separates their pools by type: athletes, performing arts superstars, international students, diversity... Read More »
While Most High Schools and Families Emphasize 11th and 12th Grade Performance, College Admission Staff Insist That 10th Grade is Just as Important
Somewhere along the way, a false notion became conventional wisdom with local schools and families. The lingering incorrect idea is that the first two years of high school are less consequential in the college admission process than the final two. In fact, there are some who falsely believe that 9th
grade do not matter at all. Well, this notion is flat out wrong.
In fact, the college admissions staff that we talk to (at SMU, UT-Austin, USC, Vanderbilt, Trinity, and Texas A&M to name a few), advise that 4 semesters make or break a... Read More »
It is a cool January morning here in Houston, but we are back from our winter break. Most of the high school seniors have completed their applications at this point, but for those who have not, it is time to get moving. If you have completed your applications, you should consider sending a letter of affirmation to those schools where you are awaiting a decision. If you applied via regular decision or were deferred after applying for early admission, now is the time to update your prospective colleges on your first semester achievements. How were your grades? Did you complete any special or interesting projects? Have you started something new and important? Write the admission officer for your region and... Read More »
The biggest and most common mistake application essay writers make is hiding themselves from the reader. In an application essay, you are writing in a personal tone. Be naked and honest! Let a reader get to know you. Paint a picture of some important pieces of your life. Let your personality shine through.
In the essays you write for English or history classes, you can distance yourself from the personal by using the 3rd person nomenclature. Not in a personal application essay! In the 1st person voice, what is written and implied is only you.
Interesting ideas, sharply worded sentences, correct word usage and writing mechanics are not only needed, but mandatory. To make a positive first impression on the reader, one... Read More »
Increasingly, letters of recommendation are the make or break element of the application. Many students and family underestimate the importance of receiving the "right" kind of recommendations. Admissions staff read recommendations very thoroughly, looking for hints or code words that will lead to insight about an applicant. To ensure that you receive helpful, detailed recommendations, you need to take the following steps:
Choose your recommend-ers carefully
- Ask yourself the following: Is this teacher relevant to my college course of study? Will this teacher take the time to have a conversation about my experiences, prospective colleges, prospective paths of study? Am I confident that he/she will write a detailed, honest account of my growth and my strengths and weaknesses? For counselors, you... Read More »