College Admissions Myth #2: Admissions is all about the numbers.

College Admissions Myth Busted: Admissions is *NOT* just an exercise in crunching the numbers. Do admissions officers look at more than the “numbers” when making admissions decisions?  That is, do colleges and universities care about anything else besides GPA and standardized test scores?  Absolutely. Yes they do.  We are asked this question all the time by our clients and we strongly believe that there is as much art as there is science to the admissions process.  Remember the game show “The Price is Right”?  In the admissions scenario, the ‘numbers’ you present at the stage door (your test scores and GPA) get you into the audience (i.e., application pool) and poised for serious consideration.  It is the rest of your application –your essay, recommendations, and the many extras that make the application unique and (quite frankly) interesting– that get you admitted or, as Bob Barker might have it, to “come on down” because it’s your turn to join this college community. Of course admissions officers want to accept students who can handle the work at that particular institution.  The numbers –most importantly the rigor and upward trend of the transcript– show them that you likely can and get you in that audience.  Once there, however, you need to show the school that you have more to offer than just the numbers.  You need to show them how you will contribute to the campus.   The Science and Art of College Admissions This is where the science ends and the art begins.  Remember, a college campus is a community complete with artists, musicians, athletes, scientists, politicians and much, much more.  If all admissions officers had to do was look at the numbers and accept the top 6%, 10%, or 20% (depending on selectivity), then their job would be easy, and actually so would the applicant’s.  But this is not the case.  Remember, colleges read all of the material you submit and sometimes it comes down to splitting hairs in admissions.  What does Applicant A offer as compared to Applicant B?  Maybe A is involved in student government but B is an oboe player.  Maybe A came to campus and updated her application to let the admissions office know about an award won.  Maybe, maybe not.  That is what makes each application unique and why the art of admissions is much more subtle and difficult than the science. Test Optional Admissions The ever increasing number of schools...
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College Admissions Myth #1: High school is just a resume builder

College Admissions Myth Busted: High School is *NOT* just a resume builder. This is one of our favorite myths to bust.  Students and parents often ask us: what are colleges looking for on an activities resume?  Typically, what students and parents are really asking is, “what are the most impressive and/or important activities to pursue in high school”?  Or, “what will make a resume look great when the time comes to apply for college”?  The answer is that all activities have potential.  In addition to pursuing the most rigorous academic program for the individual student, students should spend time pursuing what interests them.  Like music? Participate in band, orchestra, chorus, or take a part in the musical.  Don’t like music? Don’t pursue these activities.  Sports, student government, literary pursuits, musical, artistic, and volunteer activities should be pursued because you love them or think you do and want to try them out.   Whatever your interest, go the distance.  It is always impressive to show depth and breadth within an area.  Fine tune your skills and experience by taking on leadership roles within whatever organization you participate. Become captain of the debate team; spearhead and organize a food drive through the key club, or a new fundraiser for a a great philanthropic cause.  At the end of the day, all these activities that you have enjoyed and have committed your time to will build you an impressive resume.  They will also make you a more interesting applicant AND  help you focus on what you like and (possibly just as important) dislike.  This organic method of building your resume will shed natural light on the real you.  That is really all that admissions officers want: to get to know the real...
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