Top TEN Tips

10 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS ADCOMS EXPECT TO SEE
AT COLLEGES THAT ACCEPT LESS THAN 30% OF APPLICANTS

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  1. HIGH LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE FROM FRESHMAN YEAR ON.

    Strong academic, language, mathematics, and critical thinking skills by taking challenging courses. Consistent improvement and classroom participation. The junior and senior years are particularly important. (No symptoms of “senioritis” please.)

  2. STRONG STANDARDIZED TEST RESULTS i.e. SAT I ~ 2250 + ~ ACT 32 +

    SAT ll scores ranging from 700 to 800 in at least two, more often three subjects.

  3. ALL AP CLASSES

    The applicant will have been expected to have taken all available.
    AP Test Scores to be at least 4 ~ preferably 5. If high school did not offer more than Two AP classes, then did the student take advantage of “dual enrollment” at a local community or state college? Also, any student can take AP tests without taking an AP class. This is for the serious, self-motivated and truly intellectual curious. (Home schooled students can stand out this way.)

  4. MEANINGFUL EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

    The operative word is “meaningful”. A plethora of memberships in clubs, required high school community service and member in National Honor Society does not impress the ADCOM at the elite colleges. One, maybe two activities (could be sports or music) in which the student has shown serious interest and ability pursuing is very helpful to round out a bright student’s application. Ideal activities will show strong leadership, follow-through and organizational and/or creative talent as well as purpose and breadth.

  5. WELL WRITTEN ESSAYS

    This is called on many applications the Personal Statementfor a reason. It is an opportunity to let the ADCOM know something personal about the applicant. The ideal essay would leave the reader with a desire to meet the applicant. Not always easy, but when work on essays begins at end of junior year and are crafted and “tweaked” over the summer, the likely-hood of that happening is heightened.

    NOTE: Contact Programs for Education if you would like exemplary support on essay review and/or admissions guidance for your top applicants. 1 (978) 820-1295 Ask for her article aptly titled “The College Essay” by Kristine Fox. If you are interested in essay support call us.

  6. INTERESTING INTERVIEWS

    Not often offered to juniors but some of these schools will invite the applicant to an interview in fall of senior year. ADCOM will play down the importance of these interviews in the final decision. Don’t you believe it. We prepare the student carefully by making sure they have researched the school’s policies, curriculum, and academic profile. They should go the interview dressed as a well-dressed teenager but not over do it . (Unless they are applying to the Clown College in Florida.) Plus, they will have questions ready that are preferably related to their possible area of academic concentration and undergraduate advising.

  7. FLAWLESS APPLICATIONS:

    How questions are answered in the application is crucial! This is where bright applicants in a rush to meet a deadline and “get through with it all” are responding too hastily to important questions. i.e. What is it about Dartmouth that made you decide to apply? ~ “My uncle said I was a strong candidate and he was a member of the Class of 1964.” Wrong answer. i.e. Dartmouth may ask, ‘What other colleges have you applied to?’ Madison WI applicant responds, “Brown, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Beloit, Reed and U of Minnesota” Again, the wrong answer. This list demonstrates the student, though bright based on his standardized test scores, is clueless. Does not understand the differences between these 30% colleges. Do you?

  8. PERSONAL FACTORS

    This is the ADCOMS effort to diversify the student body and construct a class that will have a particular geographic, ethnic, social economic and talent mix. Clues to what a school is looking for may be found in the all important college catalog. Available online, but the tree version is infinitely better.

  9. DEMONSTRATED INTEREST

    The DI could begin way back in first half of junior year when the student is doing his or her due diligence on the world wide web. We encourage personal communication between the student (not mom) and the college as early as the last half of the junior year. We like to begin working with students in the sophomore year. This allows us get to know the student and he or she us and construct a starter list of 15 appropriate colleges. We then can make substantive recommendations as to how and when to begin this direct communication to admissions and academic departments. Other due diligence may inspire the serious student to demonstrate interest, but it depends on the school and student. Be careful here: students should not over do it. Nor should they email queries to college that are easily learned at the college’s website. i.e. “Do you offer a civil engineering major?” Okay, I exaggerate a bit here, but believe me, you would be amazed at some of the things college admissions reps say they have heard from prospective applicants.

  10. The “HOOK”:

    When all else fails, this could be an applicant’s saving grace. It could be an exceptional achievement, athletic prowess of Olympic caliber, an unusual hobby, unique talent or previous employment such as a circus acrobat, musical talent or (sadly) a wealthy relative who needs a good reason to gift old Ivy Tower ten million dollars for that new state of the art science laboratory. One that will help that institution be on the ‘short list’ for untold millions in government contracts for biological research leading nowhere.

If you have questions or want to arrange for a complimentary “get acquainted” consultation contact us today. This meeting can be in one of our offices, via Skype or a conference call with join.me from the comfort of your home. We do not guarantee admission to specific colleges, but in the last 24 years, 9 out of 10 students were accepted to their first choice college ~ the rest to their second choice.

Eric Goodhart
1 (978) 820-1295
help@smartcollegeplanning.org