Goucher College in Baltimore County, Maryland is a real mover and shaker in post-secondary American academia. The same school that allows applicants to submit a video instead of SAT scores, ACT scores, or an essay, and which opened a campus in a Maryland maximum security prison, now is ditching classic liberal arts majors such as Math, Physics, and Religion to ensure the institution stays at the tip of the spear of progressive education in the USA.
With the news media uncovering Harvard’s Z-list admissions practices, many professionals in today’s world of high school counseling, college admission, and education in general sense it’s time to pounce on Harvard for rewarding unearned “privilege.” If only some combination of Harvard and/or the “privilege” bogeyman could be blamed; but, alas, college admissions in the United States today is only a serious symptom of a far larger, more complex, and more serious problem: the thus far extremely successful decades-long attempt by the powers that be to destroy meritocracy in the United States and turn the USA into a modern and high-tech caste-system state in which an individual’s demographic information at birth dictates everything about what preferences and opportunities are and are not bestowed upon that individual until death.
You can be sure that the vast majority of students who get into college because they are put on a Z-List or because they are legacies at the colleges that are admitting them have little personal experience contending with the grim reality faced by the vast majority of American high school students, as illustrated by the chart below.
It is a national scandal that most American high school students have little to no time with any knowledgable college/career counselor before they are thrust out of high school and into the big bad world of reality, which all too often includes going to a college that is not worth the money and joining the debt slave class for decades thereafter. That colleges, almost all of which like to consider themselves progressive and equity-focused, compound the problem by having Z-Lists and admissions preferences for children of alumni who have donated a pretty penny over the years is the definition of adding insult to injury to the vast majority of America’s youth.
Add to this the fact that these days, colleges that employ race-based admissions and Affirmative Action are rewarding many wealthy average students at the expense of exceptionally smart and talented wealthy, middle-class, and poor students and you have the perfect cocktail for the downfall of higher education in the United States. We already see it in our society writ large: the masses are no longer obligingly deferring to the views and opinions of the “higher educated.” Instead, more and more people immediately discount any words out of the mouths of those who teach in or have graduated from those colleges most often associated with ivory, not to mention, Ivy towers.
When education becomes so politicized and so focused on socially engineered preferred outcomes such skepticism is not only natural – it’s fully warranted; yet, for society to function well and advance, there does need to be a go-to group of people who have more knowledge, act more rationally, and do what’s right for not only themselves, but also their communities and their country. Such individuals are now part of an endangered species.
Does all of this anti-meritocracy mishegas sound familiar? Learned people have read this story before when they either independently or in the education world of yore absorbed all of the depressing details of the fall of Communism everywhere it has been tried. We are living in a world where too many want all of the stuff without all of the work! In other words, if you don’t work, nothing will, especially when managed by an unimpressive cabal at the top.
Those who attend and graduate from American colleges and universities today likely have no idea where all this ridiculousness ends because none of this sounds familiar because such individuals never learned the most important lessons of history. But you can be sure such current students and recent graduates – or more likely their parents – know all about how to get ahead in 21st Century America. It’s left to those who know their history to either try to foster change or simply throw up their hands, watch, and wait for the inevitable collapse.
They say that Iowa sweet corn is knee high by the Fourth of July. Well, we say that University of Iowa has grown much taller, so much so that it’s time for Iowa Hawkeyes’ to be invited to the big boys’ table. Not only do University of Iowa athletic teams compete in the Big 10 against major powerhouses like Penn State, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, and Purdue; University of Iowa’s students, academic programs, and campus rival its more selective Big 10 rivals. In fact, if you are looking for a SAFE and large campus in an urban area that is also filled with everything from sports teams to root for and Greeks to join, University of Iowa is likely a superior choice to its bigger name Big 10 rivals.
Tag along on our recent visit to Iowa City to explore University of Iowa up close.
With summer upon us, many families take road trips, and parents of high school students may think about including one or two campus visits along the way. This is a great idea – as long as you understand you cannot get a true sense of a college culture when you visit during the summer. The campus will feel completely different once it is swarming with students and professors during the semester. However, it’s still better to visit colleges during the summer than not to visit at all. If you live in the Northeast and can plan visits for late August, that’s ideal because many college campuses start in late August while high schools usually begin around Labor Day. By late August, most college campuses are in full swing.
Visiting colleges with my daughter Amanda was incredibly enjoyable because we made sure not to let it get stressful. Instead, we focused on learning the factors she wanted and did not want in a college and getting a sense of the feel of each school. As I wrote in my new book, Love the Journey to College: Guidance from an Admissions Consultant and Her Daughter:
It may sound crazy, but I think that your first visits should include three colleges to which you do not think you will actually apply. Here’s why: if you are lucky enough to have visited colleges early in this process (maybe in 10th grade), your attitude and grades may shift a lot before you apply during your senior year. Don’t get caught up in the “name-brand schools;” visit schools to just learn as much as you can about what it means to attend college.
Many families traveling to Boston like to visit the magnificent Harvard Quad. And why not, it’s a world-renowned university in one of the best cities in the US to attend college. But the reality is that even if you have phenomenal grades and near-perfect scores, you will probably not get into Harvard. Also, keep in mind that Harvard does not count ‘demonstrating interest.’ This means that unlike many other private colleges in our country that track your interest (such as visiting) as a factor in admissions, Harvard does not. So while it may seem fun to visit this top-tier school, you should really want to focus on schools that you have a better chance of getting into. So if you must visit Harvard, please remember that there are about 80 colleges that combine to bring 250,000 college students to the Boston area. Find several other colleges in the vicinity that appeal to you while visiting the city and make the trip fun and enjoyable, and not stressful.
If you can find colleges early in this process that you love and think you can get into, that can be a game changer for your emotional well-being as you navigate high school. Amanda, co-author of Love the Journey to College: Guidance from an Admissions Consultant and Her Daughter, said, “I can’t even explain to you how nice it was to be ecstatic about schools that I knew should accept me comfortably. From private, liberal arts schools to state schools and their honors programs, I had options that I loved and was excited about in tenth grade.”
Think of visiting colleges like window shopping, especially when you first begin. You are looking to evaluate what it is important to you. If you walk into a lecture auditorium that seats 1,000 students and you currently attend a small high school, that lecture hall may feel overwhelming to you. On the other hand, it may be exciting to have some anonymity if you felt a small classroom was too confining. There is no right or wrong way to feel about college. Your likes/interests may change over time, and this is 100% fine. There are about 4,000 colleges in America and dozens of them will meet your academic and social interests.
For initial visits, try to visit a city school, a rural school, a small private school and a big state school. This will give you an idea of the different options throughout the country. It’s often hard to find the time during the school year to visit colleges, but going when students and professors who are typically on campus is the best way to really understand the school’s culture. Depending on where you live, you can even start by driving locally to colleges near your home. If getting to campuses is too much, or if you are trying to watch your budget, go online; the virtual tour is a great resource to at least give you a sense of a college’s physical layout.
Editor’s Note: We are happy to welcome Jill as an occasional contributor to Admissions Intel. For more insights into the journey to college, we encourage you to Pre-order Jill’s book, which comes out on August 1, 2017.
“I’ll visit the campus if I’m admitted. Visiting takes too much time; besides, I’ll probably just go to the top school that admits me.”
For students who have the means to travel, but who plan to give more weight to rankings than personal fit in their final college choice, skipping exploratory college visits might represent a reasoned admissions strategy.
“After all,” they surmise, “wouldn’t it be a waste of time to explore a college in person before you even know if you will receive an offer of admission?”
No, for so many reasons that have nothing to do with rankings. But regardless of how you plan to select among any of your admission offers, a preliminary college visit can affect whether or not that offer is even made.
To put yourself in the best position possible as a candidate for admission, visit the campus before you submit your application. Here are three times you’ll be glad you did:
1. When the school tracks demonstrated interest
Many schools track demonstrated interest in the hopes of increasing their yield (the percentage of students offered admission who enroll). Since schools only want to admit students who will accept their offer, they use big data to gauge your enrollment intentions; a visit to campus will help you signal your intentions to enroll (if admitted) more convincingly.
Beyond the admissions presentation and campus tour, your visit provides additional opportunities to demonstrate interest, such as introducing yourself to your regional admissions representative (that’s the person who will manage your application) or setting up an on-campus interview. The more communication you initiate, the greater your level of interest and your likelihood of accepting an offer of admission (according to the enrollment management software that will be tracking it); therefore, the greater your chances of receiving one.
2. When the essay prompt is: “Why Us?”
Supplemental essays provide a college with more information about you. The most common supplemental essay prompt is some version of “Why Us?”
- How did you first learn about Vassar and what aspects of our college do you find appealing?
- What are the unique qualities of Northwestern that make you want to attend?
- What excites you about attending Notre Dame?
- Please discuss why you consider Duke to be a good match for you
If you have visited campus you will be able to enhance any “Why Us?” essays with references to your own live experiences. Your genuine, specific observations or anecdotes will help you make more concrete connections between what you are looking for and what the college offers, resulting in a better supplemental essay. Better essays increase your odds of admission.
3. When you are placed on the waitlist
Students who receive a waitlist spot each spring in lieu of an offer usually have to move on — the chances of that changing to an offer of admission are usually slim.
But if this happens to you at a school you still very much want to attend, you can ask for further consideration. You’ll strengthen your position if you can point to continued academic success, recent achievements, and the school’s place as your top choice. While you are making your case — and making it clear that you will attend if admitted — think about how much more believable you will be if you can mention your campus visit…
Colleges certainly understand when expenses and long distance prevent students from coming to campus before they apply. But if you can manage to get there on a weekend or school holiday, consider how you may increase your admission possibilities by scheduling a visit before you apply.
Conservative author Ann Coulter and UC Berkeley Professor Robert Reich both disagree with UC Berkeley’s decision to prohibit Ann Coulter from speaking on the flagship campus of the UC system. But, has the university paid a price?
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a college that doesn’t get nearly the attention that it should from out-of-state students, but with amazing programs across disciplines and a happy campus culture in the middle of rural Illinois, we have a feeling that is about to change. At least we hope so, as living and learning at UIUC exemplifies what many would deem to be the classic American college experience portrayed in popular culture. In fact, being on campus a this Midwestern public university has a retro feel about it that makes it pretty darn charming.
If you only have one more spot to fill on your college list and it comes down to University of Maryland College Park or Penn State University Park here are the factors you should consider before making the final cut.
Goucher College will soon start offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in American Studies at a Baltimore-area jail according to a December 8 announcement. The money to educate students within the jailhouse campus comes from the same fund that provides Pell Grants to students outside prison.
Now, when students complain about feeling imprisoned living without a car on Goucher’s campus, one will have to clarify if the students are referring to the Towson residential campus, which is sandwiched between the Baltimore beltway and some-time shooting gallery Towson Town Center, or the campus located inside an actual correctional institution.
More: Goucher College to grant bachelor’s degrees behind bars, The Baltimore Sun (12/8/16)
Boilermakers have a lot of love for their school, and after visiting West Lafayette, Indiana, we can see why. It’s consistently ranked as one of America’s best research universities and the campus is great too. Purdue may not be as popular with “opinion elites” on the East and West coasts as its cousin two hours to the south (IU Bloomington), but after this visit we can’t explain why.