Is it OK for Someone to Proofread Your College Application Essay?

What an absurd question. Of course it is…but as one article correctly points out, it is NOT OK to have someone write, rewrite, or edit it to a point where the content of the original essay is for the most part non-existent. The second the students own voice begins to fade, or appears to just not be there at all – a red flag goes up in the minds of readers (they for the most part have a great radar when it comes to these things). The point of the essay in part is to give AdComm’s a glimpse into applicants personality – what else makes them unique outside of their academic profiles (though grammar, etc. is important). My mom’s voice is different then my own, and it shows in our writing. This is not to say that she does not write well, but my style and voice in my writing (and out actually) is uniquely my own (read = more FLAIR people!). I would choose mine over hers any day (sorry, Mom) – and you should, too.

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How Important Are Test Scores to College Applications?

Very Important.

I know this is not what most people want to hear, but let’s face it – they just are. At many highly selective schools standardized test scores are used as baseline guides for where an application may land after a first read or even a first glance (where this practice is undertaken). This is also after taking into consideration GPA, which is another very important factor. You can be certain that high test scores and a high GPA (via rigorous coursework) will land an application in the “pool” so to speak. A low-end combo of the two may be enough to move you out completely, though applicants with some other extraordinary aspect to their application may be given a second look. At less selective institutions, GPA and other aspects of the application may be able to supplement low test scores – but the chances of this happening at highly selective schools is rare. As important as they are, test scores are still just one piece of the applicant’s file, but I feel like it is important to be realistic as to their usage by AdComm’s (read = admissions committees). There are schools that place less weight on test scores and now schools that are even test-optional, so if low test scores are part of your file, you may want to explore these options. Read more about the importance of test scores according to a few folks in the biz here.

Real Applicant Profiles

Ok, so all of these students went to Blair (an EXCELLENT school located right outside of D.C. – and very diverse). That being said, this article highlights students with a range of abilities and who submitted applications to not just Ivy’s (gasp!) – yes, there are schools other than the great eight. Check out the profiles here!

Common Application Information & Additional Info Update

Here is some helpful information in reference to the Common Application, most of which has been discussed previously on this site, as well as on countless others. Nonetheless, I will provide a few articles for your reading pleasure here and here…..and for some notes on the do’s and don’ts of the Additional Information section of the Common App see this article via Huff Post. I agree with the articles sentiments wholeheartedly. Enjoy!

College Resource for Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

I came across a fantastic resource today for students, their families, and other professionals providing information on postsecondary education for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. If you would find this information helpful, I highly suggest visiting Think College.

Here is an overview from the Think College site:

Think College is an initiative of the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston. ICI has been a leader in the area of postsecondary education for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities for over ten years. As interest in postsecondary education for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities has expanded, so has the need for research and training in this area. ICI currently has three federal grants designed to conduct research, training, and technical assistance for professionals, families, and students related to postsecondary education for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

Think College focuses on three primary areas in postsecondary education for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

Research: Think College conducts research on current and promising practices that support individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities to gain access to and be successful in inclusive postsecondary education. It also identifies gaps in knowledge about the participation of individuals with intellectual disabilities by conducting a national survey of existing postsecondary options and completing a secondary analysis of three national databases to learn more about the impact postsecondary educational opportunities have on people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. To gain insight into the impact of postsecondary education from the perspective of students and other stakeholders, Think College is conducting Participatory Action Research with college students with intellectual or developmental disabilities, as well as family members and other stakeholders.

Training and Technical Assistance: Think College provides training and technical assistance using a number of venues. Think College publishes Research to Practice Briefs, Policy Briefs, E-Newsletters, and other print materials, supports Capacity Building Institutes in various locations across the country, and is developing web-based training modules and a Community of Practice all devoted to postsecondary education for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. The Think College website provides access to searchable databases of existing college options. It has also developed databases on related literature and training and technical assistance materials, as well as a web-based self-assessment tool based on promising practices.

Dissemination: Think College is supported by a collaborative effort of seven University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and other national organizations. These partners will support large-scale dissemination of the knowledge developed by this initiative. Think College will produce a number of reports that detail how postsecondary education initiatives implement promising practices, and the types of activities and outcomes (employment, independent living, continued postsecondary education access) available for students with intellectual disabilities.

Early Decision Options Continuing to Gain Popularity – Updated!

It;s beginning to look a lot like…. the time early decision/action application numbers begin being published. Topping the list currently seems to be Princeton, who like Harvard, had gotten rid of their early decision program about four years ago.  They report having received 3,547 applications, though Harvard’s numbers will not be available for another week or so. Many other Ivy’s and additional top-tier schools do not have their ED/EA deadline until November 15, 2011 – so we will have to wait to see who, if anyone, ends up topping PU’s number.

Numbers are up elsewhere, too:

“Duke, for example, said that 2,716 students had applied under its binding early-decision program, a 23 percent increase over last fall. Johns Hopkins said it had received 1,440 applications to its binding program, an increase of nearly 8 percent. And nearly 1,800 applied through Dartmouth’s early-decision program, a 2 percent increase.” – NYT Choice Blog

And the press just keeps on coming (here to), as the number of early applicants for the class of 2016 continues to grow!