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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.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Streamlining the College Application Process
In the not-so-distant past, applying to college was a rather ordinary venture in risk assessment. Applications were still paper and fee-based, so the practical student narrowed their options from the start. Writing an essay by hand, for instance, was not an unsubstantial investment of time. It made sense to apply to a reach school or two, some probably-within-reach schools, and the reliable safety school. Technology has changed all of that.

The internet and Common Application ignited a revolution that has gradually made the old college admissions systems almost unrecognizable. Students can now apply to dozens of school with a single essay and a few clicks. The end game, however, remains the same.

Fortunately, access to application support is richer than ever. The savvy student can rely on a blend of guidance from school counselors and online resources that help them to find schools that are a true fit. One such program is College Kickstart, a site that relies entirely on quantitative factors to help students narrowly tailor their choices. They promise to teach students how minimize wasted effort, by avoiding schools that are measurably out of reach. At the same time, Kickstart offers rich data on increased statistical odds, through application mechanisms such as early admission/early action.

What sets this one apart is its commitment to avoiding analysis of qualitative elements, such as extracurricular activities and admissions essays. These soft factors are virtually impossible to assess, and Kickstart doesn't want to promise advice that can't stand on its own two feet. The site currently supports data from over 400 schools, so while it is not exhaustive, it does promise to be accurate.

Ideologically, sites like Kickstart reframe the process by identifying the needs of the colleges and encouraging students to capitalize on those needs efficiently. The selection process is, for the most part, shrouded in secrecy. Kickstart is a reminder to focus on the things students do know about a university, and to make application decisions based upon that information, rather than factors such as popularity or ranking.

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