Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2014 - (Page 41)

planning ahead for college navigating the Competitive World of College Admissions by linda E. brody, Ed.d. soon after decision notification letters went out to this year's college applicants, The New York Times published a story with this headline: "Best, Brightest and rejected: elite Colleges turn away Up to 95%." if you saw it, and you were already somewhat concerned about your chances of being admitted to the college of your choice, it may have left you feeling a bit panicked. the percentage of rejected applicants that was cited referred specifically to stanford, but many other highly selective private and public colleges and universities were not far behind this year in having to reject a large number of highly qualified applicants who sought spots in their incoming classes. What has made college admissions so competitive? the national Center for education statistics reported an increase in enrollment at degree-granting institutions of 37% between 2000 and 2010, so there are definitely more students than in the past enrolling in college. Contributing to this trend are more first-generation college students, as well as more international students choosing to attend american colleges. in addition, the fear of not being accepted to college has students applying to many more schools than in the past, and the Common application has also made filling out the forms somewhat easier, though there is still much work and considerable cost involved in applying to a great many colleges. for the applicant pool as a whole, more applications per student inevitably mean more rejections! You might expect the college officials who have to read all of those applications to discourage this practice, but in fact they encourage it. more applications and more rejections result in higher selectivity rankings and fuel the public's perception of an institution being highly desirable and of superior quality. admissions officials also want as large a pool as possible from which to select their ideal class, even knowing that many of the students they are forced to reject may be as qualified as those they accept. if applying to college is still ahead of you, what does all of this this mean for you? how can you make yourself a stronger and more competitive applicant? first and foremost, focus on getting the most out of high school. it's not about padding your resume; colleges see right through the applicant who joins lots of clubs to put on their record in an attempt to appear actively engaged. instead, work to excel in appropriately challenging courses; become engaged in extracurricular activities that extend your learning and allow you to explore your true interests; commit to attaining a leadership role in one or two activities that are especially meaningful to you; use your summers well, whether you choose to take courses, volunteer, work, or travel; and build relationships with teachers and other adults who will be able to write strong recommendations on your behalf. during this time, learn about yourself and pursue your true interests. When it's time to fill out college applications, write the required essays, and participate in interviews with admissions officials, be prepared to communicate what sets you apart from other applicants, to describe your passions, and to state your goals for the future. meanwhile, as you select colleges to apply to, you should not have to apply to more than 8-10 if you choose carefully, and possibly fewer if your choices are less competitive. Be realistic about your chances of admission, and definitely don't apply to any colleges that you will not be pleased to attend should you be accepted. many students add "safety" schools to their list but complain if those end up being their only choices. You should be prepared to happily attend any college to which you have applied. in general, try not to have your heart set on one particular college-remember those admissions statistics! But if there is one that is a stand-out choice, you might consider applying early decision or early action. it can enhance your likelihood of admission if you can state a strong preference for a particular college by being part of that early pool of candidates. after the acceptances come and you have made a final choice, don't look back with any regrets. if you approach college life with an upbeat and positive attitude, you are more likely to be able to take full advantage of all it has to offer. imagine 41

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2014

Big Picture
In My Own Words
Imagine, Design, Build
A Schematic of the Possible
My Life as an Architect
Blueprint for the Future
DesertSol: A Model of Sustainability
Across Space and Time
The Art of Summer
Selected Opportunities & Resources
A Digital Canvas
Rising to the Technovation Challenge
Off the Shelf
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options
One Step Ahead
Planning Ahead for College
Students Review
Creative Minds Imagine
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Games

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2014