Mosaic Admissions

Archive for August, 2010

Freshman Year: The Rite of Passage

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

As the academic year begins at many colleges and universities, parents and their children are experiencing the emotional rollercoaster that typically defines the freshman year.  It’s hard for most parents to see their child leave home and venture into the unknown, and it’s hard for most teenagers to leave what is safe and secure.  If you’re a college freshman and feeling overwhelmed, rest assured that this is a normal response to a seismic shift in your life.  When I was a freshman at Harvard, I had a difficult time adjusting to my new environment.  There I was, attending my “dream school,” and I should have been ecstatic and inspired, right?  Unfortunately, everyone seemed infinitely smarter than me, more worldly, and more polished, and I questioned why Harvard admitted me in the first place!  Eventually I made friends, contributed to the Harvard community, and realized that I was there for a reason.  I always advise my clients to allow plenty of time to adjust to college before they conclude that their school isn’t the right fit for them.  Sometimes it takes a few months or even a year to find your niche.  Remember, the freshman year is a rite of passage that is often stressful, but it’s a critical step in the transition from child to adult. 

For parents who are suffering the pangs of “empty-nesthood,” you aren’t alone!  Feel free to read the following amusing article from The Denver Post:

http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_15863524

Rankings Galore

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

‘Tis the season!  With the onset of the new school year comes the release of annual college rankings.  Today U.S. News & World Report, arguably the most influential arbiter of higher education quality, released its college rankings.  Harvard University, my undergraduate alma mater, tops the list of national universities, with Williams College leading the pack of liberal arts institutions.  Forbes.com released its own rankings last week, and rated Williams as the best of the best.  Forbes.com also compiled a list of  “Best College Buys,” with Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, ranking first. 

To see the complete lists, please check out the following links:

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges

http://www.forbes.com/2010/08/11/best-colleges-universities-rating-ranking-opinions-best-colleges-10_land.html

 

“Demonstrated Interest”

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

As many of you know, college admissions is now an extremely complex process.  At most colleges and universities, admissions officers evaluate far more applicants than ever before, and consider numerous factors, some of which are intangible.  One admissions factor that is gaining importance is “demonstrated interest,” or the level of an applicant’s interest in attending a particular school.  Many colleges want to focus their resources on applicants who will most likely enroll if admitted.  Higher education is a competitive business, and most colleges want to enhance their stature by increasing their yield (the percentage of admitted students who choose to enroll).  As such, it makes sense that they are more likely to admit a student who truly wants to attend, versus one whose interest is lukewarm.  Typically, schools measure demonstrated interest by asking if an applicant has visited their campus, emailed or met with an admissions officer and/or faculty member, or participated in an on-line chat with someone from the school.  I feel that demonstrated interest is somewhat economically biased, since many applicants simply can’t afford to visit every college in which they are interested.  However, there are ways that you can show your enthusiasm for a school if you are unable to visit, and show that you are a good fit.  The Internet and various social media sites make it easier than ever to convey your interest, so check out your target colleges’ web sites and start communicating!

To read more about demonstrated interest, please read the following article by Eric Hoover of The Chronicle of Higher Education:

http://chronicle.com/blogPost/The-Dynamics-of-Demonstrated/24288/#comments

Interesting Articles

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Now that many high schools are back in session, the college admissions season will soon kick into high gear.  Accordingly, there will be numerous articles in various media outlets that offer valuable information for students and parents.  In today’s on-line edition of The New York Times, Jacques Steinberg writes about high school seniors who feel compelled to submit their applications as early as possible, particularly through The Common Application.  Steinberg debunks the myth that applying early gives an applicant a competitive advantage.  I advise my clients to write their essays as soon as they can so that they won’t feel frenzied or panicked when facing a looming deadline.  Furthermore, it often takes a month to write a truly insightful essay, and it’s sometimes difficult for students to juggle challenging high schools classes and college applications at once.  However, I agree that students need to take the time to research the colleges they’re considering so that they can assess “fit.”  It’s not necessary to submit applications as early as possible just to beat the rush.  Students should compile their list of colleges after thorough, thoughtful research and take their time completing their applications.  Before you click that “send” button and place your fate in the hands of the admissions officers, make sure that you’ve done your homework and are applying to colleges where you’d truly be happy to attend. 

To read Steinberg’s article, simply click on the link below:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/education/11application.html?_r=2&ref=educ

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