Sunday

BEST COLLEGE ADMISSION BOOK



COLLEGE ADMISSION: A Simple, No-Nonsense Guide To Getting Into The College Of Your Choice by Dr. Edward Droge
CLICK HERE for more information

Brief by design, this is jam-packed with valuable information and insight for college-bound students and their parents.  Explanations and descriptions are kept concise and are written in easy-to-understand, easily accessible language.

With college admissions becoming more and more difficult these days, this new book by Dr. Edward Droge explains what is required to put together a successful college application. 

Dr. Droge has taught at Harvard and has worked with admissions offices at Yale and other selective colleges.  In addition, he has counseled high school students nationwide about college admissions.  A nationally recognized speaker, he holds degrees in English (Yale) and Education (Harvard), and is the author of several books.

This book answers the following questions and more:  How can I increase my chances for acceptance?  What do colleges want most from candidates?  Why do admissions offices pass over well-rounded students?  Which "tip factors" can move an application into the "admit" pile?  What do colleges look for in an essay - and how can I give it to them?  How do I get great recommendations?  Why should college planning begin in 7th grade or sooner?  Which is the best college for me? 

Reading this book in middle school is not too early.  And reading it in 12th grade is not too late. 

College Admission: A Simple, No-Nonsense Guide To Getting Into The College Of Your Choice by Dr. Edward Droge - CLICK HERE for more information.



BEST BLOG: DR. DROGE - COLLEGE ADMISSION

Good News - We are now connecting our blog with Dr. Edward Droge's blog.  We will put our new posts there.

Dr. Droge is the author of College Admission: A Simple, No-Nonsense Guide To Getting Into The College Of Your Choice.  He has taught at Harvard and has helped to raise standards across the country in schools and universities, both public and private.  He has worked with selective college admissions offices, including Yale's, and has counseled high school students nationwide about college admissions.  A nationally recognized speaker, he holds degrees in English (Yale) and Education (Harvard), and is the author of both fiction and non-fiction, including Emily Pinkett, Charleston Miracles, New York Miracles, Appalachia Miracles, Gayle Warnings, Brighten Up, and Intelligent Children.  (To find out more about Dr. Edward Droge, visit him by CLICKING HERE.)

Wednesday

What To Do If Deferred in Early Admissions

First, if you have been deferred from a college, here is what not to do: nothing.

This is no time to be sitting around merely worrying and hoping. This is a time for action. It is not too late. The goal of every college application should be to stand out in a positive way. That goal does not change after a deferral. If your application is just sitting in a pile somewhere, chances are that it is not going to stand out. You can do something about that. Try one or more of the following:

-- It has been several months since you sent in your application. Have you had any positive news since then? Have you won any awards, or had a poem published, or become captain or editor? Let the admissions office know.

-- If you have no news to share, make some. Sign up for an elective term course. Submit poems to newspapers, magazines, and contests. Try to get elected or appointed to a leadership position in an extra-curricular activity. Volunteer for a charitable activity outside of school – at a hospital or nursing home or Habitat for Humanity or the like. In some way, add another activity or appointment to your schedule. When you do, let the admissions office know.

-- Call the admissions office and let them know that you care enough about your candidacy to get in touch and to update your application. Tell them about what you have been doing and what good things have happened since your application was submitted. Let them know what you have to offer them and why they will be glad that they accepted you. Let them know that they are number one, that if you are accepted, you will attend. Give them a voice to attach to the name on your application, a personality, a life full of good cheer, a basketful of reasons to put you in the “admit” pile. If possible, speak with the representative who covers your area. In whatever way possible, make that rep your advocate.

Again, the goal is to stand out. The overwhelming majority of deferred candidates will do nothing. They will not call. They will not update their application. They will not show in any conspicuous manner – other than what they said in their initial application – that they care about getting admitted. You can be different…you can stand out…you can show that you really care. Start by sharing your good-news update.

Monday

What 7th Grade Students and Their Parents Must Know About College Admission

Is 7th Grade too early to be thinking about getting into college? Yes and no.

Middle school students have plenty on their plates. And kids should be allowed to be kids.

Yet, one particular item on that plate should be of interest to both the students and their parents: the courses in the immediate academic future, that is, 8th and 9th Grade. In many schools, especially private schools, students may take full-credit, high school math and foreign language courses in the 8th Grade, such as Algebra and a first-year in foreign languages like Spanish, French, Latin, German, or, increasingly these days, Chinese. Parents of 7th Graders should be aware of the offerings available to their children in the following year and should determine if taking high school courses in the 8th Grade is a viable option. Are the students qualified? Is it up to the school or the family to place the child?

At stake here is getting a good jump on the curriculum so that later in high school, the student will have some flexibility to take more advanced courses, such as advanced placement offerings, “AP” courses. For example, a student interested in math who takes Algebra in the 9th Grade probably will not have an opportunity to take AP Calculus in the 12th Grade because the prerequisites generally include Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre Calculus – courses that would be slated for the 10th, 11th, and 12th Grades, thus leaving out AP Calculus. If, however, Algebra were taken in the 8th Grade instead of the 9th Grade, the sequence would permit AP Calculus in the 12th Grade. A similar scenario would play out for a foreign language.

Since college admissions officers look very carefully at the transcript of a candidate, they will notice if the student has exhausted a particular discipline – like math. One of the first questions that college admission readers ask when reviewing an applicant’s folder is: has this student challenged himself? The applicant who has a transcript full of AP courses and who has a 12th Grade schedule of high-level courses in each discipline, will stand out in a very positive way. The admissions office would likely have little doubt that the student not only has embraced an academic challenge already, but also will be able to manage college level work in the year to come.

So, 7th Grade students and their parents would be well advised to look ahead to the curriculum available in 8th and 9th Grade – and beyond. The course selections in 8th Grade, especially in math and foreign language, may affect significantly the options in high school and college.

Thursday

Poor Grades. Low SATs. How Can I Get Into College?

News Flash: Not everyone is an academic star. And colleges know that. If you are not happy with your grades or standardized test scores, do not despair. There is much more to an application than grades or scores.

Though the transcript is important, the essay presents another wonderful opportunity to present yourself. Take advantage of this. Write an essay that knocks them off their feet from first word to last. Tell them what your passion is, how you spend your time, why that pursuit is important to you. They want to know about YOU. They want to know what makes you tick. If you are an amateur entomologist, describe how you spend most of your waking hours playing with bugs. Tell them that you plan to make a career of it. If you are a readaholic, tell them about the last six books you read this year, and why you read them, and how reading is important to you. Do not waste the essay opportunity by merely regurgitating what already appears on other parts of the application, like lists of extracurricular activities. Lists will put the readers to sleep. They might be reading your essay at two o'clock in the morning, having already read fifty essays before yours. You want to grab them by the collar with your first sentence and shake them awake. You want them to know that you are more than grades and SATs.

The interview is another part of the application process that presents an opportunity to show the college who you really are. While many colleges do not require an interview, most will arrange one if you request it. Request it. Let the admissions office attach a face and a personality to the application. As you did in the essay, let them know in person how passionate you are about something, how you spend so much time pursuing it, and why it is important. Stay positive and upbeat. Leave a good impression. You want them to remember you. You want them to refer to you in their meetings as “that sincere guy who loves to play with bugs and wants to be an entomologist down the road,” or “that passionate girl who spends most of her afternoons and evenings at the dance studio because she’s committed to joining the American Ballet Theater one of these days,” or “that earnest, articulate candidate with a good sense of humor who likes to read and who – this year alone – has read everything that Jane Austen ever wrote.”

Yet another part of the application that invites you to describe yourself is the supplemental materials section. This presents you with an opportunity to submit an extra paper or report you have written, or a tape or CD or DVD that exhibits your talent in depth. Use this chance to showcase the side of you that the admissions office will find appealing. Are you a singer or a cellist or a dancer or a football player? Send a tape of yourself performing. Have you written a great report that the teacher raved about or a great article that appeared in the newspaper? Have you had a poem published in a magazine? Send it and let the admissions officers see your accomplishments first hand. Give them something to offset the transcript. Let them know how special you are.

Yes, grades and standardized test scores are important. But, by design, applications are multi-faceted. The admissions office wants to know who you are beyond the transcript. They want to know what you can contribute to the college. Use every chance you can find to tell them what they will gain if they admit you. In particular, seize the opportunities presented by the essay, the interview, and the supplemental materials sections.

Wednesday

Applications Up, Seats Down at California Public Universities

As the number of applications received in the public university systems of California reaches a record high this year, the number of available openings will decrease at many of its campuses. As a result, thousands of high school seniors must brace themselves for letters of rejection.

San Diego State University, for example, received 61,663 applications this year, an increase of 6 percent. At the same time, due to projected budget cuts, it expects to reduce the number of those admitted by approximately 25 percent, from 9,813 to 7,323. On a larger scale, applications to the 23 campuses of the California State University system rose by 11 percent this year, to 504,800, as approximately one third of its campuses prepare to admit fewer students.

The swell of applications stems from several factors, not the least of which is the record number of high school seniors nationwide who will graduate this year, more than 3 million. In addition, those seniors are sending applications to more colleges than seniors did in the past. A study at UCLA has found that 4 percent of college freshmen in 1976 applied to six or more colleges, while the number increased to 18 percent in 2006.

Monday

Primer on the PSAT/NMSQT

Each October, the College Board offers high school students a standardized test that wears two hats. Sophomores and Juniors take the same test on the same day – for students in Grade 10, however, it is known as the PSAT, essentially a practice SAT, and for students in Grade 11, it carries an additional label, the NMSQT – the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Sophomores benefit from the test by getting to experience what they will face when they take the “real” SAT in the spring of the following year. One major difference, however, is that the PSAT does not have an essay component, while the SAT does.

Juniors benefit from the test not only by getting more practice for the SAT, but also by gaining an opportunity for a scholarship. Scores range from 20 to 80 (comparable to the SAT score range of 200 to 800). Students with the highest scores in each state become members of an exclusive club. The top 1% or so of the millions who take the test are declared National Merit Scholars - Semi-finalists and they compete for various scholarships. Below them, the top 5% or so are deemed Commended Scholars, and, though these students do not qualify to compete for scholarship funds, their achievement is indeed noteworthy and certainly deserving of mention on college applications.