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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, September 9, 2013
Deciphering the Admissions Process
Let me deflate the balloon at the outset here-I don't have the answer. If this weren't such a loaded enigma, there would be no college consulting industry.

So for a hot second, I was intrigued to come across this from Yale University's Dean of Admissions, Asha Rangappa. Slate

In an apparent act of helpful humility, she notes that it's up to the admissions officers to "lift the veil" on the process. Super. Please do. But she doesn't, or can't. Yes, I understand that each application is so case-specific and subjective that there is no appropriate catch-all advice. Yes, she thinks college consulting is an overpriced scam. She offers a few tips, but nothing that isn't available from, ahem, a good college consultant.

She's read through more than 25,000 applications, so there's no question she has insight to offer. But she doesn't, or can't, or won't.

I've always wondered how the process really works, from start to finish. I don't mean platitudes like "we evaluate each application objectively and holistically". I mean, really, if a university gets tens of thousands of applicants, who sits down and reads all those essays? Grad students getting paid $10 an hour? Is there a round-table discussion of the good essays? Is there a trash-heap for bad essays? Is there a special trash-heap for bad essays written by students with perfect SAT scores?

Rangappa scoffs at the "rabid" competition, and snipes at the racket of college consulting, but what does she expect? The Ivies have admissions rates of around 6% and no one really knows why anyone actually makes the cut. Of course students are rabidly competitive. You think universities like Yale don't benefit from this desperation?

So the search for transparency continues. In the mean time students, be yourselves, be honest, and do whatever you need to do to feel empowered in this overwhelming process.


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