The Ivy Coach Daily

May 10, 2012

College Admissions Misconceptions

There are a number of misconceptions out there about the college admissions process. We aim to correct them.

There are a number of misconceptions out there about the college admissions process! At Ivy Coach, we endeavor to correct these college admissions misconceptions!

Misconception: “I can easily attain a 4.0 grade point average in high school if I don’t take any honors or advanced placement courses. Then, for sure, I can get into the college of my choice.”

Reality: The highly selective colleges look for students who have proven that education is important to them. They looks for students who have taken the most challenging courses available to them and have succeeded in that curriculum.

Misconception: “It’s better to get an “A” in a regular high school course than a “B” in an advanced placement course.”

Reality: It’s better to get an “A” in an advanced placement course!

Misconception: “Since my daughter knows that she wants to major in art, she should go to an art school.”

Reality: From sophomore year of high school through junior year of college, the majority of students change their minds on a major many times. This is reason enough to look at colleges that have a wide variety of course offerings and majors.

Misconception: “We’ll visit colleges over the summer since we don’t have vacation time until then.”

Reality: Visiting colleges over the summer is certainly a convenient time, but the visitor needs to see the students on campus and get a feel for the academic, extracurricular and social life to determine if the college is the right fit.

Misconception: “I will apply to colleges and then, if I am accepted, my parents and I will visit.”

Reality: Admissions counselors rate students on their interest and a college visit shows keen interest. At some campuses, a visit is worth points in the college admissions process. And visits also help students craft their Why I Want to Attend This College essay with specifics.

Misconception: “Calling and e-mailing admissions counselors from colleges could be viewed as bothersome and possible harassment to the admissions people.”

Reality: This is quite the contrary. It’s that personal contact, that interest shown, that could ultimately help the candidate gain acceptance. The applicant should not hesitate to e-mail the admissions counselor from his/her geographic area with questions that cannot be easily answered from the college’s website or view books, or if there is information to be shared.

Misconception: “Since I work for a state senator, I will have the senator write a letter for my child. That will impress admissions counselors!”

Reality: Admissions counselors are not impressed by the people who write the letters of recommendation but rather by what the author of the letter says about the student. The people who know the student the best should be the ones to write the letters of recommendation and to complete the evaluations.

Misconception: “We can’t afford to pay $75,000 a year so, therefore, a community college is fine.”

Reality: If money is a major concern, the student may consider applying to state colleges as well as private colleges, but put off making the determination of where to attend until after all financial aid packages are received. It’s important not to eliminate private colleges just because of the sticker price. Students can also search for colleges that award merit money for academics and special talents.

Misconception: “The question on the application reads: “List colleges that your parents attended.” Once university admissions counselors see that my parents never attended college, there is no chance that I’ll be accepted.”

Reality: Surely admissions counselors may be impressed when both parents are astrophysicists for this shows that the student may have had an intellectual upbringing. However, equally as impressive are applicants who are the first generation in their family to attend college.

Misconception: “My mom will write my college essays or she’ll pay someone else to write them because this way my essays will be extraordinary.”

Reality: Now that college admissions counselors are able to access the essay portion of your SAT or ACT, it will be obvious when the style of writing from your writing sample doesn’t match the application essay.

Misconception: “I’ve never lived on my own. I wouldn’t even know how to do my own laundry since I’ve never done it before.”

Reality: You’ll learn. Besides, you want to be independent! As far as your laundry is concerned, just remember to remove any gum or candy and especially pens from the pockets of your jeans before you put them in the wash.

Misconception: “My child is the valedictorian of the senior class, has 2390 SATs, and will certainly get into any of the most competitive colleges.”

Reality: While grades, courses, and SAT scores are very significant in the college process, admissions counselors from those highly selective colleges are looking for applicants who will bring a special talent to the class so that they can form a well-rounded class of students with a diversity of talents, interests, and experiences.

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