The Ivy Coach Daily

May 29, 2015

College Applicants Must Present as Nice

We have no problem telling a parent their child doesn’t present as nice (photo credit: Namkota).

Sometimes they just write “Hello” without including a name. Sometimes they don’t include any greeting at all. Sometimes they don’t say, “Thank you.” Sometimes their emails are filled with bossy directives. And sometimes they email only a few minutes after sending an email asking if indeed we got it. Yes, we’ve been helping young people earn admission to the colleges of their dreams for a quarter of a century and, during this time, we’ve encountered many a young person who just doesn’t present as, well, nice. And you know what we do? We call it out. Why? Because if we don’t, it’s going to hurt their case for admission to elite colleges.

After all, think about the alternative in which we don’t call it out. Imagine this student on a college interview. How do you think an interviewer will evaluate a young person who doesn’t smile or doesn’t call them by their name or doesn’t say thank you for the opportunity to meet with them? Or imagine an arrogant line (or several) in college admissions essays, no matter how subtle the student may think the self-congratulations may be. Or imagine a student interacts with the very person evaluating their case for admission at a high school admissions visit as they do with us.

The fact is, we have to call it out. We have to bring it to their attention. Because maybe their parents did or maybe they didn’t but it needs to be said. Our objective is to help students earn admission to the colleges of their dreams. Anything that will stand in the way of such objectives are obstacles we wish to minimize — even if it means telling a parent their child needs to learn how to be nicer. As the saying goes, you get more bees with honey.

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