|Admissions Essays Blog|
|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.|
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Financial Resources for Undocumented Students
Tracking the number of undocumented children in the U.S. is no easy feat. It is complicated by issues surrounding U.S. immigration policies, as well as the simple logistics of tracking human statistics-many of whom may be trying to live off the grid. But when the Obama administration recently instituted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Migration Policy Institute estimated that more than 1.9 million young people could qualify for relief under the program's terms.
Among the criteria that must be met by those seeking relief under the DACA program is the requirement that they be a full-time student-elementary, high school or college. Qualifying residents are granted legal residency status and the opportunity to work. For graduated high school students, this opportunity can also present problems. How to afford college tuition.
If you must "stay in school" in order to maintain your legal status, getting into-and paying for-college becomes a rather pressing endeavor, at least where money is an issue. Since most undocumented children also have undocumented parents, they are overwhelmingly poor.
Given their legal status, undocumented students cannot qualify for federal financial aid-an enormous resource for the vast majority of financial aid recipients. Fortunately, eighteen states in the U.S. allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at local universities. Considering the price-hikes for out-of-state tuition, this price difference could be a deal-breaker for many students.
In just five states-California, Texas, New Mexico, Minnesota and Washington, undocumented students can actually qualify for state-based financial aid packages. The problem, of course, is access to information. In an effort to make the process more transparent, the College Board has published a fairly comprehensive resource list for students seeking guidance.
Changes to immigration policy are constant and quick, but guides such as these are a good start. The College Board also offers links to resources assisting students in keeping up with current legislation:
Monday, August 18, 2014
B-School Admissions: Not Just a Writing Contest
Standardized tests are not my favorite thing. Nothing sets of a reflexive eye-roll and shudder like the words "multiple choice". I'm not alone, of course. I suppose that's why I cherish the gradual turning-tide in college admissions regarding optional testing. (See my blog from earlier this week).
As a writer, however, I've always been partial to the personal statement. Sure, it gives young writers wide berth to showcase mediocrity. It also invites hyperbole, platitudes, and melodrama. At its best, the personal statement is in fact a window into the writer's soul. The reader gets a glimpse of vulnerability or startling insight that helps the student's name jump off the piece of paper.
Business schools, however, seem to be growing less optimistic about the power of the written word. On its own, at least. (Note that the vast majority of business schools require multiple personal statements of varying lengths). Instead, graduate MBA programs are asking their candidates to use technology and creativity to create a performance to remember.
Unprepared video responses and team exercises are amongst the improvisations invited by several prominent business schools. As in any interview or public setting, students are forced to think quickly on their feet, speak articulately and, in some cases, work efficiently in a team setting-right before the eyes of interested b-school admission officers.
In the business school context, this evaluation of non-written skills makes a great deal of sense. This isn't to say that the quantitative and analytic skills assessed by the GMAT have no value. It isn't to say that the ability to cobble together coherent prose isn't an important skill. It's just that even those two pieced together don't flesh out the entire picture.
Monday, August 11, 2014
College Admissions Help for International Students
Try for a minute to imagine what the college application process must be like for students without home-court advantage. I mean, sure, we now have the internet. Anyone with a computer and a command of basic English can Google the University of Texas and click on the "admissions" tab. Then follow the instructions.
But how, as a foreign student, do you really know anything about UT or Texas or Harvard or anywhere else without the benefit of actual cultural insight? When I was in high school, there was an unspoken sense of who could get into the Ivies, who was going to community college, and who wasn't. The anecdotes from teachers, parents, or friends-of-friends who'd already had those experiences-that was what we built our understanding of college upon.
At the very least, an American student can ask their guidance counselor for some direction. So what does a Chinese or Croatian student do? In countries like China, which has seen a dramatic increase in emigrating students over the past decade, there has been a boon in the college consulting industry. The problem there, and in other countries with even less access to information, is the overall knowledge of foreign consultants. After all, who knows the American system better than, well, insiders?
Enter start-ups like College Node, an internet-based company designed to work as a medium between international students and crucial contacts here in the U.S. College Node helps to connect foreign students with American students, college consultants and even teachers. Like any consulting agency, it's a for-profit venture, and it is still in its infancy. Still, it is a viable option for foreign students looking to lift the veil on the process.
While there is no substitute for strong academic performance, navigating the system and process of U.S. college admissions is no easy task. Let's hope technology continues to help foreign students bridge the knowledge gap.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Picking the Right College
Think Princeton Review is more than just a test preparation service? Think again. While they are a one-stop-shop for everything from practice PSAT tutorials to on-line LSAT courses, they go an extra step once a year with their Best 379 Colleges guidebook. If 379 wasn't a random enough number for you, just consider the 62 categories across which those colleges are ranked.
Want a sampling of the 2014 winners? Syracuse is the top party school. Mormon Brigham Young University is the top "stone-cold sober" school. Sarah Lawrence has the "most liberal students". Vanderbilt's are the happiest.
Scientific? Well, they have surveyed roughly 130,000 college students overall-an average of about 340 students per school. I'm not sure whether a student who has only ever attended one school really has the capacity to put their school's strengths and weaknesses into perspective. But I'm pretty certain few students take a very scientific approach to selecting colleges in the first place.
I've written a great deal about the importance of selecting the college that is the right fit. Not all students have the capacity to get accepted at their top choice. Not all of them are actually suited for their top choice. The Princeton Review has tapped into this ambivalence with its rankings, which quantify a wide range of collegiate qualities.
By their own account, all of the colleges on the list are "good schools". They just have different attributes. So if "Best Campus Food" is a deal-breaker for you, then you need look no further than Virginia Tech.
Or maybe, just maybe, you can see the Best 379 Colleges for what it really is-a catalogue allowing students to arm themselves with a bit more information. In a way, the book plays into the truth of the selection process for many students-that it can be arbitrary, emotional, and not at all scientific. And I think that's okay.
You can be amongst the first to order your copy here: Amazon
Labels: Picking the Right College
|Affiliate Program | Free Admission Essays | Writing Tips | Newsletter | Links | Success Stories | Contact Us|
|Admission Essay | Personal Statement | Letter of Recommendation | Scholarship Essay|