U.T. Austin

About the admissions scandal

About the admissions scandal

An interesting thing happened last Tuesday. 50 people—including a college admissions consultant, SAT and ACT test proctors, university coaches, and wealthy parents—were charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, and racketeering. Here’s a good rundown of all the people involved. This has been big news this week, and I assume you already know about it.

All week, while I’ve been on family vacation for Spring Break, I’ve been reading and thinking about the scandal. What do I want to say to current and prospective clients? To their parents? To Apply with Sanity readers? I have several things I want to say.

Dear Harvard, this is how you could run an admissions lottery

Dear Harvard, this is how you could run an admissions lottery

Dear Harvard College Admissions,

As you’re quite aware, there have been increasing calls for you to try out an admissions lottery system. Calls like the one here, for example, and here and here and here and here. A lot of people think the most fair way to handle admissions for a program that is worth a whole lot but only has an acceptance rate under 5% is to literally leave it up to chance. No legacy admissions, no diversity goals, no athletic recruitment, no committee votes. This, they say, would guarantee true diversity by taking away all biases and loopholes.

I completely understand your reluctance to go in this direction.

Kati has an acceptance!

Kati has an acceptance!

For many people, there’s something special that happens when they get their first college acceptance. College gets a bit more concrete and a lot less abstract. Possibility becomes more clear. Reality feels more real. This seems to be the case for Kati, who got her acceptance to the University of Texas at Austin. She knew she had automatic acceptance coming, but making it official has still allowed her to cut down her to-do list a little bit. Read the whole interview below.

Schools can, and should, teach college affordability

Schools can, and should, teach college affordability

So basically: high school students don’t know what college tuition costs in their area; they realize they don’t know; many assume it’s unaffordable; many give up on college because of their (often inaccurate) estimates of cost.

These findings make a lot of sense. The actual cost of college is complicated, because it’s different for each person at each university. It’s completely reasonable not to look into college if you’re pretty sure you can’t afford it. And really, why would we expect 9th graders to know how much a college education costs?

Kati is juggling

Kati is juggling

You’ve got automatic acceptance into your top-choice school. Life is easy, right? Not if you’re also in the choir and the lead in the school play. And you’re having second thoughts about your major. And you want to do some more campus visits. And you’ve completely shifted your college list from what it was just a month ago. And you have a bit of writer’s block. And your top-choice school may not be your top-choice school in another month. Kati’s got a lot going on right now. Read below for the full scoop.

Results from my student survey

Results from my student survey

Last week I spent two days talking to seniors at Carnegie Vanguard High School during their English class. We talked about what colleges are looking for in applicants, how the different parts of an application work together, and how colleges actually process all those applications. The students also had tons of really great questions.

But first, I had some questions for them. Before our talk, I asked them to fill out a quick questionnaire. Here are the questions I asked and some comments on their responses. If you’re working with college-bound students—either in a school setting, as a parent, or because you are a college-bound student yourself—this may be useful for you.

Picking the right school for your major

Picking the right school for your major

I have students ask me--though maybe in not these exact words--how to go to the right for school for "that competitive edge in the marketplace" if you are really sure of your intended major and career and you're not one of those less-driven, wishy-washy people who will change their mind. 

Sigh.

Fine, let's talk about that.