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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Monday, July 24, 2017
Keeping Your Eye on the Ball in College Applications
If you missed the baseball metaphor, what I'm suggesting here is that college hopefuls keep their eyes on the prize, tuning out the activity happening elsewhere on the field. In college admissions, there is a single question that plagues every applicant: what are colleges looking for in a student? In endless blogs, books, advice columns and social media forums, students circle the drain in a frenzy, trying to figure out how to make their dream college want them.

I'm suggesting that most of this is a distraction. One of the most hotly debated issues in college admissions is quotas. It is a mysterious gray area, clouded by legal challenges, racial discrimination, unspoken legacy admissions, and financial bottom lines. Challenges to affirmative action have been raised across the country, and even at the federal level and met with a wide swath of different results.

In reality, the cards are stacked against all applicants, to varying degrees. Competition for colleges is fierce. Race, national origin and ability to pay are all very real factors. They are also things that most students can't control. This doesn't mean that conversations about diversity and equity aren't important. It means simply that college hopefuls should narrow their focus: put your best foot forward, and let go of all of the what-ifs. The reality is far more frustrating: thousands of highly qualified students will get turned away.

If you're a spectacular student, don’t waste your admission essay discussing your grades. If you're a less than spectacular student, don't use the essay to air your regrets. Use it to let the college know who you are, whatever that means to you. Be creative, be forceful, be optimistic. Don't get stuck in the weeds. And while you can't map your way in everywhere, you can be assured that there is a place for you. Your job is to find it.

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