TIME TO SCRUB YOUR INSTA...."The majority of US admissions officers and prospective students think that it is “fair game” for universities to visit applicants’ social media profiles when deciding who to admit to their institution, according to two recent studies. A survey of 388 US admissions officers found that 68 per cent thought that they could visit sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to help them decide who to offer a university place to, despite the fact that less than a third (29 per cent) said that they actually engaged in the practice, a decline from 35 per cent since last year." [Times Higher Education]Read More
- Admissions officers spend 12 minutes reading your entire application. Make them count. [Business Insider]
- How to prepare for the dreaded admissions interview. #1 tip: Don't forget to prepare thoughtful questions to ask them whose answers can't be found on the internet. [US News]
- 20 insider do's & don'ts for getting into your dream college, from University of Rochester admissions officers themselves. Parents, no scrapbooking (!) or overbearing phone calls. Students, no rudeness or worn-out jeans in interviews. [Rochester.edu]
- Student groups are protesting legacy admissions, which give a boost in accepting relatives of alumni—a practice that happens to about 75% of U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 universities. [The Atlantic]
LSATs no longer required for top law schools! Harvard, Georgetown, Columbia, Northwestern and more law schools will now accept the GRE as an alternative admissions test in order to boost diversity in their applicants. [Fortune]
How to explain (and not just excuse) your lower GPA. [US News]
Some admissions consultants can cost you a pretty penny— or $28K of them. [SF Gate]
Parents, step away from your kid's admissions essay and no one will get hurt. [Washington Post]Read More
A recent New York Times feature has been making the rounds. I read it so you don’t have to. Here's what you need to know:
1) Most Schools Accept Over 50% Of Applicants
As everyone is collectively freaking out about getting into top tier schools, it’s important to remember that only 13 percent of four-year colleges accept fewer than half of their applicants.
2) Some Colleges Do Factor Your Ability to Pay Into Their Decisions
According to the Times write-up, about half of institutions said an applicant’s “ability to pay” was of at least “some importance” in admissions decisions, according to a recent report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
The University of California is allowing all campuses to use letters of recommendation in admissions decisions for the first time for fall of 2018. BUT no more than 15% of freshman applicants can be asked to submit letters, and then only when schools need additional information to make an admissions decision. Don't get too excited: Letters will likely be used sparingly, since UC officials say 98% of admissions decisions are made using grades, courses, test scores, activities and essay responses on standard applications. [L.A. Times]Read More
The age-old debate about social media and how it affects college applications is finally over: yes, your social media presence can harm you. Particularly if you post racist, anti-Semitic and other offensive things in a public platform like Facebook. Especially if you just got into one of the most prestigious and competitive schools in the country.
Harvard College rescinded admissions offers to at least ten prospective members of the Class of 2021 after the students traded sexually explicit memes and messages that sometimes targeted minority groups in a private Facebook group chat.
This year, Harvard's acceptance rate was just 5.2%. That type of exclusivity does not come easy—and it makes sense that Harvard would protect its community from this kind of behavior. This goes back to the kindness factor: admissions officers are looking for good people, most of all.
Also, it doesn't reflect too well on one's street smarts to be so obvious (and oblivious) about your bigotry. Let this be a lesson that there's no such thing as a "private" group online. The fact that this happened as a spin-off of the official Harvard 2021 Facebook group is all the more shocking. Even the description of the official group was a clear warning:
“As a reminder, Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions including if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character.”
And this is not your standard teenage dirty joke.
In the group, students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”
Fairy Godmother Nicki Minaj started paying off her fans’ student loans, laptops, current classes, equipment and tuition on Twitter—after daring them to show straight A's—and she's up to $18K so far. And this is not a one-time thing: she's planning to start an official charity soon. [Vulture]Read More
- Ring the alarm! Today's the last day to register for the June 3 SAT! Late registrations can still be made until May 24. You can register for the June 10 ACT with a late fee until May 19. [College Board] [ACT]
- While we're on the topic, here's how one first-generation student from Flint, Michigan learned to take the SAT "like a rich kid." To recap: "They approached studying for the SAT with a near-professional intensity that was alien to me. I realized that they didn’t just want to score exceptionally well on the SAT. They were gunning for a score on the Preliminary SAT exams that would put them in the top percentile of students in the United States and make them National Merit Scholars in the fall. As a result, all the drilling they did for an exam that is supposed to be an equalizer in ranking students according to raw test-taking skills was only widening the American achievement gap." [NYT] I agree. To check out my pro bono services, click here.
Applications have skyrocketed to Ivy League schools. Cornell got 47K+ apps and accepted only 12.5% (a record low). UPenn had 40K+ apps and admitted only 9.15%—the lowest in history. Brown had 32K+ apps and accepted a record low of 8.3%. Stanford got 44+ apps and admitted just 4.65% of that application pool, another historical lowest rate.Read More
- Oh boy...The University of Virginia allegedly kept track of applicants with wealthy relatives to offer them special admission. You assumed this kind of thing happens; well the Post's got the receipts. [Teen Vogue]
- Which may explain why Princeton is scrambling to block the release of its own admission records [BuzzFeed]
- And don't stress too much: all the blood, sweat & tears you put into your application only takes 4 minutes to read [HuffPo]
In this week's Admission News You Might Have Missed:
With college costing more than 14 illegal kidneys, more students are turning to GoFundMe campaigns to raise money for college costs. Over the past 3 years, more than 130,000 GoFundMe campaigns nationwide have raised $60 million from over 850,000 donations for college tuition and related expenses. [Chicago Tribune]
- Careful out there...35% of 365 college admissions officers in a Kaplan Test Prep survey said they check social media during the admissions process. 47% said what they found had a positive impact on prospective students versus 42% who said what they discovered had a negative impact. [CNN]
🚨 🚨 🚨 There are two new Common App Essay Prompts for 2017-18: one is literally a blank slate, reinforcing my advice to ignore them altogether when writing yours.
Describe a topic, idea or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? [New]
Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.Read More