Tag Archives: MIT

D-Day 1

1 Apr

April 1st is D-Day 1 in college admissions, the date by which all colleges will have notified their applicants as to whether they have been admitted, wait-listed, or rejected (I’ll get to D-Day 2 later). Last Thursday the 29th the Ivy League universities released their regular decision results. That evening, my daughter trolled Facebook to see who got admitted where. To her surprise, there were few postings on her news feed.

The next day she found out why. Someone in her class called it a Bloodless Massacre. Many of the students in the top 5% of the class were shut out of their top choices. The presumed valedictorian was rejected from Harvard (but no need to feel sorry for her because she got into Yale, MIT, and Princeton). According to my daughter, only one person was admitted into Columbia, one was admitted into Harvard, two got into Brown and two into Dartmouth. Between regular and early decisions, Penn and Cornell have each admitted at least half a dozen students. We will know more in June when the guidance office releases a list of where everyone will be attending college.

The initial impression is that it is more difficult than ever to get into the Ivies, even for those who rank in the top 5% of the class. According to Harvard’s website, there were 3,800 applicants who ranked number one in their class and there are only a little over 1,650 freshmen places. This is a reminder that at the most selective institutions, the colleges can fill their incoming classes at least twice over with qualified candidates.

Other than the low numbers of students from our high school getting into the Ivies, there were other shockers too, of students who got in somewhere that their classmates did not expect them to. In this sense, this year is no different than other years. In the end, we do not know the complete picture of what is in a student’s application and what goes on in the admissions committee. That’s why it makes for a confounding experience each year for everyone on this side of the admissions process.

To be sure, the disappointments will be deeply felt, but the reality is that here in America, we have more choices in quality higher education than in a lot of other countries. In my experience of talking to college students at different universities, most seem happy with where they eventually ended up. And that is no small consolation and hope that we can offer as parents.

Next D-Day is May 1st, when the colleges hear back from their accepted students as to whether they will enroll.

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The search begins…sort of

1 Jul

When we set out to explore colleges this spring, we didn’t know where to begin looking.  There are, after all, over 3,800 colleges in this country, according to the College Board website.  How does one begin this daunting task?  When I asked my daughter what kind of college she wanted to attend, she just shrugged.  Fair enough, she was only a sophomore.  My hope is that she will gradually take charge of this journey to find the right college and we as parents will simply guide her and serve as her sounding board.

We’ll let you know how that works out.

I know that we have plenty of time before she has to decide where to apply and in part we can’t begin to look at schools until we know how her sophomore year and first semester junior year grades will look.  Those grades, more than anything, will help to determine choices.

Times have changed a lot since my husband and I applied to colleges.  Back then, fewer parents took such an active role in helping their children apply to colleges.  We had only just arrived in this country a few years earlier and so my parents didn’t know too much about all the available choices.  But everyone knew about the Ivies, Stanford and MIT.  So the understanding was, if I could get into an Ivy League school, preferably one that was close to home, I would go.  There was never any discussion about what schools would suit me, my personality, my interests.  Questions like, would I thrive in a bigger school or a smaller one, in a city versus a rural campus, never even occurred to us.

Of course the competition to get into the top name schools has increased manifold in the last three decades.  Just this year Harvard College received over 30,000 applications and its admission rate dropped to less than 7%.  So now more than ever, we need to focus on finding the right fit for our daughter and less on chasing after the big names.

We’ll let you know how that works out too.

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