Thursday, August 23, 2007

Admission: Stanford

Questions and Admissions: Reflections on 100,000 Admissions Decisions at Stanford by Jean H. Fetter

Her reflections as Dean of Admissions could apply to any highly selective college, even though the data is from the 1990s.  For example, there are 26,000 high schools in the U.S. Stanford received applications from 4500 high schools in a typical year. Just think, all those students are likely in the top 10% of their class, and you can get an idea of how competitive it is to gain admission.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

“College Unranked: Ending the Admissions Frenzy”

Essays from Admissions Reps and High School Counselors, compiled by Lloyd Thacker.

Mr. Thacker has led the opposition to rankings, like those of US News and World Report, for years. He believes it's a lousy way for students and parents to choose a college.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saturday, March 17, 2007

“Looking Beyond the Ivy League” by Loren Pope

I really like his view that there are hundreds of colleges that are as good as or better than an Ivy League college. His subtitle "Finding the College That's Right for You" says it all: the match is more important than the brand name. 2013 version.

“Gatekeepers” book

I read "The Gatekeepers - Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College" by Jaques Steinberg during last night's ice storm. He is an education writer for the NY Times who turned his reporting on Wesleyan College admissions into a book.

(Wesleyan is a 'little Ivy' in Middletown, CT. Wesleyan is one of 3 little ivies: Amherst and Williams round out the list. Wesleyan is known for its great writing, literature and film studies majors, and is a classic New England small liberal arts college, in addition to being highly selective. Check out their notable alumni page - Pats coach Bill Bellichek is among the famous graduates!)

Wesleyan Admissions allowed Steinberg to shadow them for an admissions season. Unprecedented access to the interior workings and meetings of an admissions panel! It's a fascinating read for me, eager for inside information and access to the minds of the people who will decide the fate of Cheverus seniors. It reinforced what I've learned so far: grades, the rigor of course selection, and SATs matter the most, as well as a short list of extra-curriculars that students are passionate about, not a laundry list of many activities. (Too many activities leaves the college wondering who you are and if you are just padding your resume for the sake of college admissions)

Some new information for me: Wesleyan tries to rate applicants on two things that are hard to rate objectively: "commitment" and "intellectual curiosity".


Wesleyan is competing with the best schools in the country for top students, so they are interested in a student's willingness to put Wesleyan at the top of their list. Expressing that in the application is a good thing, if it is true that Wesleyan is your top choice. Taking time with the application and writing an essay that reflects who you really are is also an indication of your level of commitment to the school. The worst thing to do would be to quickly fill out the application and leave parts of it blank.

intellectual curiosity

The level of intellectual curiosity is a tricky one to rank or rate, but the admissions officers look over your application and supporting materials with an eye toward someone who enjoys learning, takes risks, may be passionate about one subject, and is a good student. Letters of recommendation from teachers often mention examples of this elusive quality "intellectual curiosity" as do the college counselor's letter of recommendation. Taking courses outside of Cheverus would be an indicator of intellectual curiosity.

links verified 4/2013