Cutthroat boarding school interviews. Life-consuming college applications. A controversial essay about obsessing over getting into the “perfect college,” published in Newsweek magazine when she was still in high school. Screening thousands of college application essays (a.k.a. personal statements) through her job at Yale University’s admissions office. These are just some of the experiences that color writer Hannah Friedman’s experience with education. In 2009, Friedman published Everything Sucks: Losing My Mind and Finding Myself in a High School Quest for Cool, a frank memoir of her teenage years at a prestigious boarding prep high school and the ruthless college application process that created a frenzy among her senior classmates. College degree now in hand, the 24-year-old is working on her second book, which will discuss the pitfalls of standardized testing and other evaluation methods that she argues fail to help students succeed. Hannah took some time to chat with BetterGrads and lend [...]
Bragger Beware: Proper and improper execution of placing “hidden extracurriculars” in the college app
Recently, Howard Schultz, the venerable CEO of coffee behemoth Starbucks, was asked about job characteristics he looks for when hiring. “First off, I want to know what you’re reading, and then I’ll ask you why,” he says. Hypothetically, if the potential new hire were to reply, “Well, Mr. Schultz, back in high school, I started the “T. Wolfe Pack Club: I was the founder, president, and only member (hint hint, I have read every Tom Wolfe novel)” and stopped right there, odds are that the interview would end momentarily. The aforementioned parable, at its core, is an execution issue. Had the potential new hire continued to explain why he enjoys Wolfe novels and connected this passion with some related experience in the business world, he or she may have opened the door to a second round interview. The same could be said for placing similar quirky yet potentially applicant-killer extracurricular [...]
I have always considered July 4th as summer’s hump day; The summer days and nights seem to move at a much faster pace after this national holiday. And given that July 4th falls twenty days after the summer solstice summer days should feel as if they move faster. During my high school summers, the July 4th holiday did not remind me that I had ample time to frolic and play. Instead, July 4th reminded me that a new school year loomed in the distance. The period of time between July 4th and the beginning of the school presented a challenge: how should I best fill this time?
Ladies and Gentleman. Presenting potential members of the Tuft’s graduating class of 2014. Applicant 1 Applicant 2 Applicant 3 Two weeks ago, NPR ran a feature on their popular program “All Things Considered” looking at the rise of video submissions as part of the college application process. And these students were not applying to select film schools or large universities that have excellent film departments; they were applying to schools such as Tufts and William and Mary. With the rise of YouTube, high school students have an opportunity to showcase hidden talents, passions, or simply help admissions officers put a face with a name. A verbal essay full of creative juices, a silver bullet to sway over admissions officers who might be on the fence regarding a particular applicant, these YouTube videos would appear to help students make a great case for the talents they could bring to those selected [...]