College Application Advice

There’s a post on “The New York Times'” “The Choice” blog by Jordanna Suriani, an admissions counselor at Ramapo College of New Jersey, that we sincerely disagree with. Alright, we don’t disagree with everything she writes, but we do disagree with a whole lot of it. Ms. Suriani asserts that students should apply to five or six universities (“max”). And why’s that? Ms. Suriani believes that it’s unfair to applicants and colleges alike to apply to so many schools. Really — we should sympathize for colleges (who are making money off of applications and encouraging even unqualified students to apply in an effort to boost their admission rate — a key factor in their “US News & World Report” ranking)? Really?

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You don’t need to go to college within ten miles of a metropolis to break into the fashion industry (photo credit: David Shankbone).

And how does Ms. Suriani point out that applying to, say, ten universities hurts colleges? Writes Ms. Suriani, “As an admissions counselor at a mid-sized, public liberal arts college, I cannot tell you how many times I speak with admitted students in April — just days before the national May 1st acceptance deadline — and hear them say they are torn between my institution and a 50,000 student research university located across the country.” Oh, please! Sorry to hear that students can’t make up their mind between going to Ramapo College or a major research university. Perhaps if you had done a better job of convincing students about the merits of your college, they wouldn’t be on the fence. Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh but, come on, is the fact that students are applying to ten universities (including big and small schools) really “unfair” for colleges? Absolutely, not. And if it were, why should a student care?

But that’s not all. We’re not going to go into everything we disagree with in Ms. Suriani’s article (the word “crapshoot” should not be associated with college admissions as it’s anything but random), but she states that students who are interested in getting into film or fashion might want to think of universities within ten miles of cities as their best bets. Really? Sure, it’s always beneficial as far as internships are concerned to be near a city as that’s where the majority of internships are, but there are tons of liberal arts colleges more than ten miles away from the nearest city that enroll students interested in film and fashion. And these students can be quite happy at these schools.  A film major can attend Amherst College and still land a great internship in Los Angeles, believe it or not! A student who wants to break into fashion can major in anthropology, believe it or not, and still successfully break into the fashion industry! They can even attend college in Hanover, New Hampshire — many more than ten miles away from a major metropolis — and land an internship in fashion. It’s called an off-term and Dartmouth students can take a fall, winter, or spring off since they spend their sophomore summer in Hanover.

We know Ms. Suriani didn’t mean anything by her post. She was just trying to be helpful. Unfortunately, there is some inaccurate information in her post nonetheless.

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