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By John Raftrey And Lori McCormick

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About this blog: We are writing this blog to give practical advice to students and parents, to reflect on issues affecting college admissions, and to provide a platform for a robust community discussion on post-secondary choices. We occasionally f...  (More)

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Please Apply So We Can Reject You!

Uploaded: Feb 10, 2020
This is the time of year when juniors are hit with all kinds of college marketing propaganda. Some of it makes it sound like the school is ready to admit the student. To paraphrase the Wizard of Oz, “Pay no attention to the Admission Officer behind the curtain.” Don’t fall for it.

Colleges send optimistic marketing materials to many students who have no chance to get into that school. This is unconscionable, unethical and mean. Think about it, colleges’ selectivity is measured by how many applicants they reject. So, the more who apply, the more who get rejected.

The colleges hire college-specific marketing firms to keep those applications coming. These firms loosely attempt to identify anyone resembling a potential student and then spams them. When I fill out the Common App to see how each year’s version works and I list a few schools, even though I don’t actually apply, they even spam me. I have had emails from a number of admissions officers who can’t wait to read my application.

Here’s is a typical case I’ve heard over the years. The student attends a summer camp at a highly ranked university thinking it might help their chances come admission time. The school knows the student is interested, without knowing much else about them, and a year later sends them email, regular mail, invitations to meet with an admissions officer who is visiting the area. The school may offer to waive the application fee. The problem is, the student is often not competitive to be actually admitted. By this I mean, no student from their high school has ever been admitted to this college with this student’s grades and test scores. The student and their family think the student is being “recruited”, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

This happens all the time.

First of all, except for a very few niche summer camps, attending a college summer enrichment camp, will not increase the chance of admission at that university. Summer enrichment camps are great for enriching. I often recommend camps to my students for the experience and because sometimes even an essay comes out of it. I’ve even seen students change their academic goals based on a summer enrichment camp. But they had to pursue them at a different school.

Secondly, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Colleges have ranges of accepted students, and those ranges are not going to significantly change for you.

I was a professional marketer. But I’ve never heard of a marketing campaign where you get people to want to buy your product and then you refuse to sell it to them. Maybe the admissions team should talk to somebody in their business school who can explain how important brand trust is, and how once you’ve lost it, it’s hard to get it back.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Steve, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Feb 11, 2020 at 7:18 am

Truer words were never spoken. As the quote attributed to PT Barnum says, "There's a sucker born every minute." It's very sad (and disturbing) that our universities choose anxious and vulnerable kids and families to prey upon.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Feb 11, 2020 at 9:35 am

>> Secondly, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
>> Colleges have ranges of accepted students, and those ranges are not going to significantly change for you.

And, even if you do barely squeak in, you won't get breaks on tuition like you might at a school that really wants you. I suppose it might make sense to squeak into Harvard, where graduating at the bottom of your class might be worth something. But for most students, it is surely better to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, and go to a school where you are at least a B student and preferably an A student.

>> Maybe the admissions team should talk to somebody in their business school

Sounds like this might make a good study for someone in a business school. What has the biggest financial return? Graduating near the bottom of the class at an expensive Ivy League school, somewhere in the middle at, say, UC Irvine, or, near the top of the class at a more competitive CSU like San Diego State? As you say, schools have their ranges of accepted students. Students often hear about the successes of top students at any given school, but, seldom have much information about the successes of the less than stellar students.

Posted by Very helpful, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Feb 11, 2020 at 2:48 pm

Very helpful is a registered user.

This is so helpful for first-time parents of highschoolers. I wish you posted more often because we need all the help we can get!

Posted by Paagal Swami, a resident of Rex Manor,
on Feb 11, 2020 at 3:55 pm

Remember, it matters where you graduate from, not where you accumulated credits. My advice is to do some classes at community college, then a decent state college. You can usually transfer into a 'prestigeous' college toward the end of your 2nd year and still be ok.

Upside is that you'll also save money, and probably have a better idea of what you want to do in life

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Feb 11, 2020 at 9:49 pm

"I was a professional marketer. But I've never heard of a marketing campaign where you get people to want to buy your product and then you refuse to sell it to them."

Obviously you never marketed hyper-expensive intangibles where snob appeal is paramount. The more applicants Wholly Name College turns away, the more exclusive it is perceived to be, the more desirable gaining admission becomes, and the more it can bill the families of the "fortunate" few for conferring its bragging rights on them. Contrast that with the very open, quite competent, but reputed plebe Cal State system.

Real Elmer Wheeler

Posted by WP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Feb 12, 2020 at 9:33 am

WP is a registered user.

To be a little contrarian, I attended summer school at Harvard between my junior and senior year of high school, and it was a transformative experience. I was a public school kid from the Central Valley and that 8 weeks spent in Cambridge changed the direction of my life. I got good grades that summer and was admitted and attended Harvard for college. With 5-10% admit rates at elite schools the odds are against even highly qualified applicants, but I think it's overly harsh to accuse the universities of some kind of nefarious bait and switch. For a kid from Atherton who already has every advantage and attends an elite private high school, a college summer program may be gilding the lily. But for me it was wonderful and eye-opening, and I think the schools are generally acting in good faith to try and give a broader set of young people exposure to elite educational institutions.

Posted by John Raftrey and Lori McCormick, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Feb 17, 2020 at 11:12 pm

John Raftrey and Lori McCormick is a registered user.

Thanks for the comments. These are my thoughts
To Anon: Check out chapter three of Malcolm Gladwell's book "David and Goliath". He tries to answer your question.
To Very Helpful: Thank you. I am committed to posting more often.
To Paagal Swami: To carry your strategy even further, I believe it is what grad school you graduate from.
To WP: Congratulations on your Harvard experience. Taking actual classes at Harvard as a high school student does improve one's chances at most every school. Stanford and many other schools have similar programs allowing high school students to take real course with real college students. These are different from the summer camps.
To Curmudgeon: Good point on the luxury goods analogy.

Posted by charmi, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Feb 20, 2020 at 9:09 pm

Due to the high level of competition, learning a global language equally becomes important. English, being a top language has played a crucial role in developing our nation globally. Likewise, you can learn different languages for a purpose or knowledge only.

For example, you have an interest in learning Spanish, Izydaisy helps you find the best Spanish classes in India. Similarly, you can be a master of one or more languages by finding the foremost language school in India.

So, do you pick a language that is spoken in your region or a language of another region where you want to visit? Or do you pick the native language of people who work in your field? Different people have different reasoning to learn a language in India so we are a platform where you can find the best coaching centers.

Also, we have got a few ideas to help and believe these are the best languages to learn.

1. English

Being the most popular language in the world, the use of English is growing country-by-country internally and for international communication. One in five people at least speak some English so if you don't speak the native language, you can communicate with them in English.

It forms a bridge between cultures and languages so no wonder it's one of the top languages used in the world.

2. Spanish

After English and Chinese, Spanish is the third most spoken language. It has 400 million native speakers around the world. By joining Spanish classes in India, you won't just open up a path for traveling Europe and South America, it is also the ideal language of North American people.

Today, 13 percent of the U.S. population speaks Spanish as a first language and soon, the U.S. will have more Spanish-speaking folks than any other country.

3. Chinese

Chinese is the second most-spoken language in the world, it's not just a language but rather a group of slangs that are so distinct from one another so technically be separate languages.

It uses the writing system of characters rather than an alphabet so learning just one Chinese slang, allows you to communicate in writing with the native folks.

4. French
After English, French is the most widely learned foreign language, it is a very useful foreign language for travel. It is a common first language of not just France and Canadian people but also many African and Asian folks.

Even if it's not your interlocutor's first language, it is one of the languages that he or she speaks.

5. German

German is the widely spoken native language in the European continent, it is an easy foreign language spoken by many English speakers.

With thousands of analogous and a fairly severe rule structure of Grammar, the student can acquire the language pretty quickly. It is not only spoken in Germany but also in Austria and Switzerland.

6. Russian

Russian is the widely spoken language in Europe and the universal language of the speakers of Eurasia. It is not used in Russia only but in many soviet states as well as in Mongolia and Israel.

The U.S. government has identified Russian as the foremost language so you can learn a language in India and open the path of employment in one of the many federal agencies.

Likewise, you can learn any language that interests you from the leading language school in India that helps you with personality development as well!!

Web Link

Posted by vision board examples, a resident of Bailey Park,
on Feb 25, 2020 at 4:08 am

Learn how to manifest with the law of attraction in a few steps. This website provides you with a great guided meditation and vision board examples to help your manifestation come into fruition.
Web Link

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