Friday, September 26, 2014

Colleges Want YOU: Advice Round-Up for College Admissions


This advice from MIT Admissions applies to every student, not just those that have their sights set on MIT:
"Choose your activities because they really delight, intrigue and challenge you, not because you think they'll look impressive on your application. Go out of your way to find projects, activities and experiences that stimulate your creativity and leadership, that connect you with peers and adults who bring out your best, that please you so much you don't mind the work involved. Some students find room for many activities; others prefer to concentrate on just a few. Either way, the test for any extracurricular should be whether it makes you happy - whether it feels right for you."

Things admissions officers wish students knew before beginning the application process, including this nugget from an officer at Antioch:

"I wish more students applying to college understood just how important “right-fit” is. Do we want to see people who were successful in high school and had a bunch of extracurricular activates? Yes, absolutely. But you can make an even better case for admission by showing us that you are going to be able to be highly successful and benefit most from the uniqueness of our institution.
Do your research. Don’t only make the case that you’re great, make the case that you’re a great match great for us."

More advice from admissions officers. I like this one from Smith College:
“Admission officers talk about the importance of rigor in a student's high-school program. When students ask, should I take an AP course and get a lower grade or take a lower level course and get an A, the cliché answer is: Students should take the AP course and get an A. Not very helpful! What we should be talking about is appropriate rigor. That is, if the student can take the AP course and get an A or B, then that's appropriate. If the student will get a C or lower, then she should reconsider. Grades of Cs ‘pop’ on a transcript to selective colleges since we don't see them often. That doesn't mean that one C on a transcript will mean a student won't get into college. What is does mean is that students shouldn't over-challenge themselves.”

As someone who went from a 70 average in her freshman and sophomore years of high school to graduating with high honors, I wholeheartedly agree with this advice, found on the Forbes website

“If you believe your current GPA is not a good representation of how well you can really do, start improving now. It’s almost certainly not too late. Colleges will look closely at your junior year performance, and many will even take the first semester of your senior year into account. They’ll particularly pay attention to a trend of improvement. Don’t give up. Show them that you are a late bloomer and getting better with age. Even if you’ve only got one semester left to show colleges what you’re capable of doing, show them! Start now.”