Colleges are getting more and more applications each year. More students are looking to attend college. And the Common Application and similar applications have made it much easier for students to apply to more schools.
For college admissions officers, this means they have more work to do. Work they’re making easier for themselves by coming up with easy ways to cut applicants who try to beat the admissions system by getting easy A’s or plagiarizing their essays.
A summary of what admissions officers are now giving more weight to from an article in U.S. News and World Report:
“Recommendations and high school class rank matter less to many colleges, especially big public universities, than they used to. Instead, a growing number of colleges of all types are putting more emphasis on students’ essays and the difficulty of applicants’ high school classes.”
In more detail:
1. Less reliance on recommendations. High school teachers and counselors have been turning in more generic recommendations. Reasons given are that they are overwhelmed with requests and they have too many students to get to know them all. The result is that these bland recommendations do not give admissions officers the personalized insight on a student that they’re looking for.
International College Counselors strongly recommends that students still get to know one or two teachers well. Recommendations still count and if it comes down to you and similar student, a recommendation or two with thoughtful comments can put you ahead.
2. Less emphasis on high school class rank. You can thank high schools for this. More high schools are refusing to rank their students, so colleges are unable to give as much weight to this as an admissions factor.
International College Counselors always recommends you aim for the highest grades possible.
3. More emphasis on tougher high school courses. Growing evidence shows that students who take more rigorous courses in high school are more likely to succeed in college, so more weight is being given to grades in tougher classes. Admissions officer Kent Rinehart, dean of admission at Marist College, says he would prefer to “see a student challenge himself and get a B” than take an easy class to inflate a GPA.”
International College Counselors recommends students take high school classes one level above their comfort level.
4. More emphasis on application essays. Without a doubt, the essays can make or break your application.
Students working with International College Counselors should finish their essays over the SUMMER, to get maximum time to have them perfected.
5. More attention to the applicant’s senior year. Colleges no longer tolerate slacking off during the senior year. In fact, some want to see “acceleration of educational difficulty.”
International College Counselors says, “don’t ignore this fact. You’ve spent 11 years getting to where you are, don’t blow it in the 12th.”
6. More application auditing. A growing number of colleges are fact checking applications. One tool being used to do this is a plagiarism software program called Turnitin. It looks for phrases in essays that match those in millions of websites, articles and books.
Everything you work on with International College Counselors will be original.
Parents, as you can see, a lot has changed since you applied to college. International College Counselors can help your student choose the right schools and assist with the college admissions process. “Help us, help you!”