Jan 022012

Getting Admitted To College – The Decision Steps

Note:  This is  part 8 of the transcript of the information contained in the video from VanderbiltUniversity about Applying for College – an Insiders Guide for Getting Into a Good College and it’s about getting admitted to college.

For the previous segment:

Can I Get Financial Aid if My Parents Have Good Jobs?

Haven’t saved enough for college?  Think your parents have good enough jobs? Don’t compare your situation to the neighbors.  Read More.

 Getting Admitted to College:

How many people actually decide if I’m going to get admitted or not?

getting admitted to college

Typically the process and I can and I will give you a brief synopsis here at Vanderbilt that would be a standard metric or a standard rubrix, if you will at most schools like Vanderbilt where the IBs and schools like Vanderbilt. The application is going to come in.

There’s going to be an initial read and that’s typically the person called the territory manager. That manager that I visited at high school, I probably already talked to you when you were thinking of applying and or perhaps not as well. That comes in and so we walk around the United States all that way. So there’s somebody.

Then there’s what’s called a second reader and that second reader comes along with the first person makes a series of decisions and notes and that, the second one comes along and then that’s their reading the file.

Those two together, if they both agree, then goes to what’s called a sign-off officer which is the senior member of the staff. And then that sign-off officer either comes up with kind of agrees with or deny. Let’s hold that for a while and let’s see what happens in the whole pool to we think that should be an admit. That admits still never happen until the day we sent the admit letter because it’s changing. So that’s the third person.

Then when we work it out we made through our series of our evaluation. There’s kind of that a broader clear admit based on this or a broader clear deny.

Then there’s this whole pool in the middle. And that is where every single one comes to the admissions committee and the territory officer advocates to admit that student to a group of 3 people.

I chair all early decision 1 and early decision 2 with two senior members. Then in regular decision, I chair one of the committees with two senior people and then we have two other committees just of sheer volume.

And then that all comes together and then in that time, someone right there and they’re verbally telling me about the student and I make, as a group, we make the decision admit or deny at that point, or hold again.

And then it goes back. We just think it’s should be admitted or maybe shouldn’t. Can’t quite make it and it goes back to the whole pile and then we will do that again. And then eventually, that final group comes back to me and the senior folks and we look at that one more time.

The next article is: How do I choose who should write my letters of recommendation?

Well what can you do about getting admitted to college is to talk to your college placement people at your school and also the college reps that come to your school and make a good impression.

Nov 282011
AP Classes Schedule

Image by Crowbeak.Sasquatch via Flickr

AP Classes – You Better Take Some or Their Equivalent

Note:  This is  part 4 of the transcript of the information contained in the video from VanderbiltUniversity about Applying for College – an Insiders Guide for Getting Into a Good College and it’s about AP Classes.

For the previous segment: About Your College Essay

This is taking AP classes and if an “A” is required.

Before we get to the transcript let me say that you don’t need to get a A.  Just take as many AP courses or Honors classes as you can and manage your workload.  You can take the college placement test if you have taken the AP classes or the honors classes.  Sometimes the honors classes are better than the AP classes.

I want to take AP classes in my high school, but I’m not sure I’ll get A’s. Should I still take them?

That is really almost a million-dollar question that I’m asked constantly and I think let’s back that up a little and talk about balance and risk. That’s what we are talking about here.

We want students that want to be intellectually challenged and not always take the safe bet. That being said, whether you are in an AP classes, or a age-specific course or grade-specific course, you still need to do well. So there’s the balance there.

AP Classes or Honors Classes?

If somebody were in a high school, and remember again, we are talking in generalities here. If somebody were in a high school and that high school offered 10 honors programs, honors courses, maybe 10 AP classes and a couple of IB courses, and you did not take any and you came out with a really good GPA, that would not look very good at all because the rigor of your curriculum then comes into play.

So you need a balance – you know taking off and being intellectually challenged and knowing that you are just protecting that GPA.

Remember that we talked earlier; one variable does not get you in or out. It’s the multiplicity of all of these. So my best advice would be you need to be in college preparatory courses, AP, IB, a lot of schools particularly private schools may not even offer. They’ll say all of their courses are honors courses which is okay as well, that will all be reflected in the school profile from the counselor.

But what we are looking for that people seize the environment that they were in. And seizing it does not mean that if they are offered 10 APs they should take all 10.

But it’s – I hope that helps you think about the balance of your APs. But at the end of the day, if you take all APs and you’re getting Cs, we would think that there are some judgment issues here because you are more concerned about taking their course but you have not mastered the topic before.

So there’s some balance and that helps us understand intellectual maturity development of the student as we are building the community as well.

The next part or the transcript is about How do colleges find out about the quality and size of my high school?

Summary:  So take some AP Classes or more challenging classes but not so many that your grades suffer.

Nov 272011

Get Ready to Prepare for College – Your College Essay

Note:  This is  part 3 of the transcript of the information contained in the video from VanderbiltUniversity about Applying for College – an Insiders Guide for Getting Into a Good College.

For the previous segment: Applying for College – How important are extracurricular activities and sports?

This is how to prepare for college, writing your college essay.

How should I prepare for my college essay? What if I’m not the greatest writer?

When I talk to students and for 21 years that I’ve been doing this and all facets in higher education, I really – If there’s anything I can leave with you today would be the authentic and understand that we want to hear from you and who you are.

Prepare for College by Writing Your Own College Essay

prepare for college write your own college essayThat does not mean counselors, teachers, your mother, father, grandparents or you get somebody else to make sure that it makes sense or it is structured well or is it grammatically put in place – those are all important things and part of teamwork today is you pull upon those resources so that there’s strength. But at the end of the day, doing this again as long as I’ve done it, you can start to tell if a student has had someone else write their essay.

It does not seem to match their letters of recommendation, it does not match their other writing samples, it does not perhaps match their extracurricular activities to where it is much more reflective and far provoking, perhaps than a 17 year old would have life experienced to be.

Now that does not mean that there aren’t wonderful writers and people that are highly reflective and thought provoking at 17.  But usually that comes through in everything we are reading about the student versus we kind of have these other aspects about the students but then the essay is off the charts over here. You want to make sure that it’s the authentic voice of you are.

Let me tell you why that’s important. It’s not just important so that we know who you are. I mean that’s a critical piece.

But you want to be in a school that has the same fit and background that brings out your talent. And if you’re kind of writing for someone else and it’s not the true you, we may be admitting somebody that the fit is not going to be there be because the essays are not just a tool to hold somebody out.

Think of it as a tool that we build as a community to know how do we build and let people in and be a part. And so if it’s really not you, you may end up in an institution that may be isn’t the exactly the fit for you and that’s the danger.

The Next Segment is about taking AP classes.

Summary:  You need to be yourself when you write your essay.  You prepare for college with your college essay in a way that shows the real you.