Facebook Alert

As noted in one of my previous posts – admissions officers can, and will, periodically review applicants Facebook pages if they are viewable. Don’t let their decision to issue you a rejection letter over an admit letter come down an inappropriate Facebook picture, post, etc. If there is something on your page that you would not want your mom, dad, grandma, principal to see – remove it. Check out this bit by David Cohen from allfacebook.com.

A new survey from Kaplan Test Prep found that 24 percent of undergraduate admissions officers have poked around applicants profiles on Facebook.

That 24 percent figure was up from 10 percent in 2008, when Kaplan first began tracking the tracking of applicant’s social networking sites. The test-prep firm added that 20 percent of undergraduate admissions officers have also Googled applicants.

Kaplan believes the 24 percent number should actually be higher, as some respondents said that while they personally did not visit applicants’ social media pages, other colleagues in their offices had done so.

A total of 12 percent of respondents who admitted to probing via social media also said things they discovered in the process had a negative impact on applicants’ admissions chances, with red flags going up for actions including plagiarism, use of profanity, photos of alcohol consumption, and illegal activities.

Kaplan vice president of research Jeff Olson said:

There’s definitely a growing acceptance by college admissions officers in the practice of checking applicants’ digital footprints, but for context, these checks are not routine and tend to happen because of a specific trigger in a particular situation, like an anonymous tip or a posting on an online forum. That said, college applicants need to be particularly mindful of what they post, and may even want to search online to make sure their digital footprint is clean.

On admissions officers actually using Facebook themselves, Olson added:

The growing role of social media in the college admissions process poses potential pitfalls, but also many plusses for applicants. For example, a college’s official admissions page on Facebook allows it to reach prospective students in an environment in which teens are comfortable or expert. They can take virtual campus tours, learn about academic programs, and find out important admissions statistics like the average SAT or ACT scores for accepted students.



Top College Application Mistakes

A statement of purpose and or essay that names another school; inappropriate Facebook pages and or email addresses like “sexygirl12@myemail.com”; and the previously published and or two-sentence application essay – yes, these are just a few of the red flags admissions committee members bear witness to each year. The result? Let’s just say not favorable for the applicant.

For more a in depth look at the most common application mistakes according to this piece found at Schools.com.

Advice for Parents: Relax!

Andrew Ferguson, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, chronicles the college admissions frenzy in his recent book, “Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College” (Simon & Schuster). He brings the keen eye and dry wit of a veteran journalist, along with the heart of a devoted father, as his son tours campuses, immerses himself in essays and, finally, waits anxiously for that coveted fat envelope, all while Ferguson wrestles with affording the tab.

Here is a Q&A with him that in addition to his book, parents may find interesting!

More Early Decision Advice

Good article by Peter Van Buskirk from The College Admission Insider @ U.S. World News & World Report

With the college admissions process looming on the horizon, an element of strategic thinking is beginning to emerge in many households as families assess their options and calculate the odds of gaining admission to selective colleges and universities.

Given the overall competitiveness of the admissions field, especially at elite institutions, a determination is made to target one of these places with an early decision application. In short, “we need to find an ED college.”

In such instances, getting into a “reach school”—any reach school—has become the priority, and the assumption is that the best chance of getting in is to apply ED.

By the numbers, this assessment is on the mark. Early decision, an option students can pursue to learn the fate of their applications early in the process in exchange for an absolute commitment to enroll if accepted, does provide a statistical advantage for applicants at most schools.

However, the rush to ED often means that good judgment—and a systematic deliberation leading to the identification of a short list of “good fit” colleges—is set aside in favor of the potential to score a big prize.

When this happens, the exhilaration experienced in the short term often gives way to long-term regret. In pursuing such a strategy, you might get in to a “reach” school, but as the euphoria wears off, the chances are good you’ll soon have second thoughts about the commitment you just made.

This came home to me when, as my son was preparing to apply to schools, the early decision question was raised in a slightly different context. It was clear that one school had emerged as his first choice. While his credentials matched up reasonably well for that school, he did not project to be an automatic admit.

Having managed the selection process myself for many years, I understood that his best chance of getting in would be as an early decision candidate. When I asked whether he was considering an ED application to that school, his response surprised me.

“It’s still early. While I really like that school now, I can’t be sure I’ll feel the same way about it in April,” he said. He chose not to apply ED, a decision that probably cost him his best chance of gaining admission.

While he didn’t get into that school as a regular decision candidate, I was proud of the wisdom he displayed in making the decision. Had he pursued the ED option, there is a very good chance he would have been admitted to the school. Would he have been happy with the choice? Who knows?

He decided to put off a commitment in order to further evaluate all of his options in search of the best fit. Today, he couldn’t be happier with his ultimate selection. My advice: don’t “game” the ED option. Resist the temptation to put yourself in the position of seeing momentary elation give way to regret over a misplaced commitment.

The application process isn’t about winning a “prize.” Instead, focus on establishing a short list of schools that are good fits. Think about it. The best schools for you are those that value you for your accomplishments and for your potential to achieve in college. If one of them emerges as a strong, unequivocal first choice, then—and only then—consider applying ED.


The Importance of Character

The NYT Magazine this past Sunday was dedicated to the topic of education, and it’s cover article discussed the importance of character. Though not at all a new topic in the field of education (“character education” = not new) we do not always hear about it discussed as pertaining to an aspect of student’s college application.  This article in particular raises a number of questions pertaining to character. What is character, how it is developed, what does the development of character in a student entail? It also raises the question, is character quantifiable – and – how/should it be incorporated in the college admission process? I believe, though hard to quantify, character is an identifiable trait and one that can be developed. I also believe it is an important, yet often times overlooked trait; one must always remember the purpose of schooling goes far beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic.  The concept of a “character report card” as discussed in this article may very well end up being how character is “graded” in the near future – and if so, it will no doubt become an integral aspect of student’s college application packages.

I highly suggest reading the article, here.

Back-to-School Admissions Questions Answered

I follow the NYT College Admission and Aid blog “The Choice” (see standing link on main page) and though I did not post the original link to this series, I have found part three to be worthwhile. The series I refer to surrounds blog readers own “Back-to-School Admissions Questions” that are answered by Robin Mamlet, the former dean of admissions at Stanford, Swarthmore and Sarah Lawrence, and Christine VanDeVelde, a journalist whose work has appeared in Parenting and The San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. They are the authors of a recently published book, “College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step.”

Check it out here – and follow the series as it continues!

Increasing the Odds: Apply Early!

The Top 20 Colleges Showing Love to Early Decision Applicants

Acceptance Rate –Early Admission Acceptance Rate –Regular Admission Size of Freshman Class Percentage of Freshman Class Admitted Through Early Decision
Dickinson 73% 46% 657 45%
Bucknell 62% 27% 920 45%
Davidson 58% 26% 499 49%
Barnard 53% 25% 570 37%
Colorado College 52% 32% 536 28%
Bates 48% 30% 495 47%
Carleton 47% 29% 512 40%
Hamilton 44% 15% 467 52%
Johns Hopkins 44% 24% 1236 35%
Wesleyan 43% 19% 748 50%
Vassar 41% 22% 666 40%
Williams 40% 17% 548 39%
Northwestern 39% 26% 2128 28%
Middlebury 36% 16% 577 56%
Penn 34% 11% 2410 55%
Amherst 34% 14% 490 31%
Cornell 33% 17% 3178 37%
Vanderbilt 32% 16% 1600 44%
Duke 30% 15% 1406 42%
Dartmouth 29% 10% 1139 40%

Colleges with the Biggest Difference in Acceptance Rate: Early Decision vs. Regular

Percentage of Freshmen Class Admitted Via Early Decision

Source: Forbes, Mark Cohen