Thursday, March 25, 2010
Article from Examiner.com
Is getting into college harder than it was a decade ago?
Use of the Common Application grows as local colleges see huge application increases
What drives college enrollment decisions?
Once again, colleges have begun the process of rolling out admissions decisions. The time-honored tradition of waiting beside the mailbox for a "fat" envelope has largely been replaced by runs to the computer lab or a mad dash upstairs for a look at results flashed on a computer screen.
And this year has been pretty much of a puzzle for college admissions prognosticators. Because no decision could be taken for granted, students hedged their bets by submitting increased numbers of applications. The ease of online applications may have facilitated the process, but anxiety drove it.
Then there are the lingering issues of how colleges will view “full pay” candidates and what strategies will be used to distribute scarce financial aid resources as colleges establish priorities somewhere between merit and need.
Seniors may be experiencing the madness first hand, but the underclassmen who are "on deck" should be taking note.
So here is some advice: the real key to surviving the next few weeks is to not let any admissions decision define you. The college admissions process for some schools has become nothing short of a crap shoot. No one, not even college admissions staff, has a clear rationale for why certain students are admitted and others are not.
Harvard’s dean of admission, William Fitzsimmons, regularly reminds groups of high school students that his office could go through the application screening process, carefully select a class, and then chuck it all out, start again and still have an equally competitive freshman class. It’s just that arbitrary sometimes.
And when all is said and done—does it really matter? Study after study has shown that it’s not where you go to college that counts as much as what you do once you get there. Success is all about hard work and perseverance and has very little to do with credentials or prestige.
As the trickle of decisions slowly becomes a flood over the next few weeks, it will become apparent that students who took the time to research colleges and determine which represented the best possible “fit” will realize the best results. Those who used the US News and World Report rankings as their primary guide to colleges probably will not do as well.
So, take joy in good news and don’t dwell on the bad. Offer support to friends and continue to weigh your decisions carefully before eventually settling on the offer you accept. Pursue waitlists if you want, but look carefully at what you’ve already got before spending too much emotional energy in that direction.
Between now and May 1st, you’re in the driver’s seat with schools that admitted you, and they will work hard to “earn your business.” Keep that in mind and enjoy the moment.
I am an educational consultant in private practice advising families on day/boarding schools, college admissions, schools for teens and young adults who have emotional/behavioral problems, learning issues, neurological and psychiatric problems.
This blog is dedicated to the wonderful students and families who come to me for advice on school placement. I will try to post information that is related to Texas and national college admissions, as well as information related to topics of interest in the field of education. We will address a variety of issues and trends in college admissions, boarding schools or programs who serve students with special needs.
We hope to provide you with answers to frequently asked questions and current trends in the industry. For more information on the Kahn Educational Group, LLC, please visit my website. Thank you for your interest. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.