Preparing for College

Getting In: Mistaken Assumptions?

In my humble opinion, conventional wisdom is a lot like stereotypes. They can both lead to miscalculation and, ultimately, disappointment, especially in the confusing and seemingly perilous world of college admissions. One example of conventional wisdom might be the "More is better" mindset. If two letters of reference are required, then four could be twice as impressive. If three Subject Tests are needed, then six . . . And so on.

We'll never fully know why admissions committees make the decisions they make. There are hundreds of books, blogs, discussion forums, and other avenues of "insights" out there, proclaiming to have insider information about what works and doesn't work in the college admissions process. But, surprisingly, even the true insiders -- those who work on the admissions committees themselves -- sometimes don't follow a strict set of guidelines to admit or deny applicants. It can very often be a very subjective selection process that feels a lot like flying by one's seat of the pants (no offense to clothing manufacturers out there).

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