20 Nov Five Myths about College Admissions
Five Myths in College Admissions
- It is impossible to get into a good college
For the 40 to 50 most talked about schools, it is true that competition is more intense than ever and accept rates seem to decline every year. But there are over 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States. Many of these schools are excellent and have high acceptance rates. Instead of focusing on how difficult it is to get in to a few well known schools, focus instead on finding the schools that are the best for you. Just because a school is very selective doesn’t mean it is the best “fit” for you. There are many factors to consider during the college search… there is a place for every student!
- My essays won’t matter that much
Essays do matter, and admissions officers do read them! The essay is the single most important factor that provides you the opportunity to give the admissions committee insight into who you are. Start essays well before the deadlines, so you have time to contemplate topics and re-write several times. Do not seek outside help from someone who will change the voice of the essay. If a 40 year old wrote it – it will sound like a 40 year old wrote it! But a fantastic essay will not make up for poor grades and/or course rigor and strength of curriculum – everything counts.
- Community service in a foreign country will impress admissions officers.
Investing time and money into high priced service trips can backfire because admissions officers are tired of reading about students building houses in Haiti, working with orphans in Africa, saving the wildlife of Galápagos Islands …. You do not have to travel to a far away country to perform meaningful community service. You can find people, organizations and/or causes in need of volunteers in your community. Giving back to your community demonstrates how you will contribute to your college/university community when you get there – show the admissions committee how they will benefit from having you on campus! Colleges and universities are more impressed by long-term commitments to volunteerism or causes than by a one-off trip that a student’s parents paid for, which looks more like a resumé builder than a demonstrated, long-term commitment to a cause.
- An “A” is always better than a “B”
A’s are fantastic, but not always better than a “B”. Admissions officers will look at grades in the context of the rigor of the curriculum and school profile. A “B” in a challenging AP course is better than an “A” in the easier standard level course. The GPA is the same: 4.0. But, the story that a “B” tells about the student who challenged him/herself says a lot more than the “A” from the student that took the easy route. So don’t be afraid to challenge yourself but don’t make the mistake of overextending yourself and taking a course load that will make getting the “B’s” a challenge – find the balance!
- Only the top ranked schools will prepare me for success
The idea that only graduates of top 20 colleges on the US News and Forbes report are successful is ubiquitous, but not true. Numerous studies confirm that what you make of your colleges experience is far more important than where you attend. Need proof? Over half of the US Senate are graduates of public universities. Many incredibly successful people, for example Sanjay Gupta (University of Michigan in Ann Arbor), Maxine Waters (CSULA) and Steven Spielberg (CSULB – my alma mater), did not go to a “name” brand schools and many were rejected from the top schools. In addition, though a university may not rank in the top 50, individual departments may rank very highly. Need more proof? The University of Arizona’s Information Technology program is ranked #3, right behind MIT and Carnegie Mellon. Iowa State’s Biological Engineering program is ranked #3, following Purdue and Illinois. Rather than looking at a school that has that “name brand” consider the research done by retired New York times education editor and journalist Mr. Loren Pope. A longtime student advocate and independent college counselor, Mr. Pope sought to change the way people thought about colleges by dispelling popularly held myths and challenging the conventional wisdom about college choice. His groundbreaking ideals were welcomed by students and the college counseling community alike. As a result, many of the colleges featured in the book began working together to further promote this philosophy of a student-centered college search. In 1998 the Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) organization was formally organized, independent of Mr. Pope (although with his blessing) and his publisher.
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Meet Nagla Orlando, M.Ed.
Nagla Orlando, KnowledgeWorx founder, has worked with a diverse group of students, assisting each in confidently engaging in the college application process. Nagla approaches the college application process as a 25-year veteran California credentialed educator in Science (Biology, AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology). In addition to teaching Nagla mentored thousands of students in interpersonal growth and leadership skills outside of the classroom. Nagla built KnowledgeWorx around her passion for helping students gain exposure to higher education and finding the best fit for students’ unique interests, abilities, personalities and goals.
With a singular focus, an engaging personality, and an intuitive ability to relate to students and parents, Nagla has the expertise to understand the individual, their needs and passions giving her the unique insight to objectively see each students strengths and potential. Nagla helps you see yourself objectively rather than merely as a test score, GPA, or letter grade. When you are able to perceive yourself in this light you are able to communicate these attributes in your college application allowing an admissions officer to get a glimpse of your intellectual curiosity, tenacity, evidence of personal growth and excellence
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