Unigo: College Admission Myths

Expert NETWORK Column

Week of Monday, July 11, 2011

The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts from across the US answering questions submitted by students and parents about college admissions and succeeding after high school.

“In your experience, what are three of the most accepted or exaggerated myths in the college admissions process?”Donald J., Park Ciry, UT.

Experts

Expert Answers

Estelle Meskin


Certified Educational Planner

EstelleMeskin.com

Students and parents alarmed at college admission myths Valedictorians are always victorious. Recent numbers show that although valedictorians typically have the grades and test scores to be accepted anywhere, many are turned away from highly selective colleges. In addition to test scores, they also need other attributes which are attractive to admissions. There’s only one perfect school for me. Although students may believe they can only be happy and successful at a particular school it has been shown time and again that finding the “good fit” school is more important. I’m a Failure if I don’t get into college “X.” It is impossible to predict which schools will accept you. Never consider it a personal failure. You are competing with thousands of others with similar qualifications.

Ralph Becker


Owner & Director

Ivy College Prep LLC

Admissions options for fall still exist even after May 1st. One exaggerated myth is if you are not admitted into a college by May 1st, your chances of attending college in the fall, or obtaining financial aid should you gain admittance, are low. The ‘NACAC Space Availability Survey Results,’ contain 279 colleges still accepting freshmen or transfers, with most of the listed schools also offering financial aid and on-campus housing. St John’s College (Annapolis, MD. & Santa Fe, NM), which features a Great Books core curriculum and places over 85% of its graduates into graduate school is on the list; and, the list is updated and online till July 1st.

Susan Reznick


Independent Educational Consultant

The College Connection

Tight, concise writing is really much more effective. The longer the essay the better: I have seen students’ essays that run close to ten pages. Admissions offices do not have the time or inclination, even if the story is riveting to you, to spend that much time on one essay. The essay needs to impress the reader with all your many accomplishments: NO. Your essay should impress the reader with your personal qualities: compassion, responsibility, perseverance. Often the smaller “slice of life” stories work best. The bigger the words used the better: Again, filling your essay with “SAT” words can be a big mistake, especially if you use them incorrectly.

Howard Verman


Senior Associate

Strategies For College

Know how to pay for it before applying. One of the biggest myths for parents is: “Just get into the best college you can and we’ll figure out how to pay for it.” Unless there is a vast sum of money available to parents to pay for college, thorough knowledge of what the expected family contribution (EFC) would be for both the FAFSA and CSS formulae are essential. Having a solid pre-application financial strategy in place can be crucial in determining which colleges a student should apply to, thusly avoiding the heartbreak of students getting into their top choice schools and then parents informing them that they can’t afford the total cost.

Carol Morris


 

Regional Director of Admission

Southern Methodist University

Use any form the school allows, but proofread! There is a common misperception that schools give preference to certain application forms (their own, for example) over others such as the Common Application. If a school lists a form as acceptable, take their word for it! As a reader, I am quickly scanning for specific information and rarely even notice which form is being used. However, the idea that we are not paying close attention to the information itself IS a myth! Misspellings, poor grammar, unanswered questions, and accidental references to wanting to attend a different college than the one who to whom it was sent are definitely noted, especially at smaller and more selective schools.

Don’t miss answers by the Dean of Admissions at University of Washington, and more – at www.unigo.com/expertnetwork. To send your question to our experts, visit www.unigo.com/expertquestions.

About the Unigo Expert NETWORK: The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts across the US dedicated to the success and well-being of high school students as they make the transition to college life. With members from two-year, four-year, private, public, and independent institutions, the network has over 3,000 years of collective experience, spanning all areas of admissions, financial aid, and how to succeed in college. To see all members of the Unigo Expert Network, visit www.unigo.com/admissionsexperts.
Unigo.com is the web’s largest, 100% free resource for college information, used by over four million high school students and parents.





Unigo: College Admission Myths

Expert NETWORK Column

Week of Monday, July 11, 2011

The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts from across the US answering questions submitted by students and parents about college admissions and succeeding after high school.

“In your experience, what are three of the most accepted or exaggerated myths in the college admissions process?”Donald J., Park Ciry, UT.

Experts

Expert Answers

Estelle Meskin


Certified Educational Planner

EstelleMeskin.com

Students and parents alarmed at college admission myths Valedictorians are always victorious. Recent numbers show that although valedictorians typically have the grades and test scores to be accepted anywhere, many are turned away from highly selective colleges. In addition to test scores, they also need other attributes which are attractive to admissions. There’s only one perfect school for me. Although students may believe they can only be happy and successful at a particular school it has been shown time and again that finding the “good fit” school is more important. I’m a Failure if I don’t get into college “X.” It is impossible to predict which schools will accept you. Never consider it a personal failure. You are competing with thousands of others with similar qualifications.

Ralph Becker


Owner & Director

Ivy College Prep LLC

Admissions options for fall still exist even after May 1st. One exaggerated myth is if you are not admitted into a college by May 1st, your chances of attending college in the fall, or obtaining financial aid should you gain admittance, are low. The ‘NACAC Space Availability Survey Results,’ contain 279 colleges still accepting freshmen or transfers, with most of the listed schools also offering financial aid and on-campus housing. St John’s College (Annapolis, MD. & Santa Fe, NM), which features a Great Books core curriculum and places over 85% of its graduates into graduate school is on the list; and, the list is updated and online till July 1st.

Susan Reznick


Independent Educational Consultant

The College Connection

Tight, concise writing is really much more effective. The longer the essay the better: I have seen students’ essays that run close to ten pages. Admissions offices do not have the time or inclination, even if the story is riveting to you, to spend that much time on one essay. The essay needs to impress the reader with all your many accomplishments: NO. Your essay should impress the reader with your personal qualities: compassion, responsibility, perseverance. Often the smaller “slice of life” stories work best. The bigger the words used the better: Again, filling your essay with “SAT” words can be a big mistake, especially if you use them incorrectly.

Howard Verman


Senior Associate

Strategies For College

Know how to pay for it before applying. One of the biggest myths for parents is: “Just get into the best college you can and we’ll figure out how to pay for it.” Unless there is a vast sum of money available to parents to pay for college, thorough knowledge of what the expected family contribution (EFC) would be for both the FAFSA and CSS formulae are essential. Having a solid pre-application financial strategy in place can be crucial in determining which colleges a student should apply to, thusly avoiding the heartbreak of students getting into their top choice schools and then parents informing them that they can’t afford the total cost.

Carol Morris


 

Regional Director of Admission

Southern Methodist University

Use any form the school allows, but proofread! There is a common misperception that schools give preference to certain application forms (their own, for example) over others such as the Common Application. If a school lists a form as acceptable, take their word for it! As a reader, I am quickly scanning for specific information and rarely even notice which form is being used. However, the idea that we are not paying close attention to the information itself IS a myth! Misspellings, poor grammar, unanswered questions, and accidental references to wanting to attend a different college than the one who to whom it was sent are definitely noted, especially at smaller and more selective schools.

Don’t miss answers by the Dean of Admissions at University of Washington, and more – at www.unigo.com/expertnetwork. To send your question to our experts, visit www.unigo.com/expertquestions.

About the Unigo Expert NETWORK: The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts across the US dedicated to the success and well-being of high school students as they make the transition to college life. With members from two-year, four-year, private, public, and independent institutions, the network has over 3,000 years of collective experience, spanning all areas of admissions, financial aid, and how to succeed in college. To see all members of the Unigo Expert Network, visit www.unigo.com/admissionsexperts.
Unigo.com is the web’s largest, 100% free resource for college information, used by over four million high school students and parents.


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