College Admission: From Application To Acceptance, Step By Step

Paperback | August 16, 2011

byRobin Mamlet, Christine Vandevelde

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College Admission is the ultimate user's manual and go-to guide for any student or family approaching the college application process. 
Featuring the wise counsel of more than 50 deans of admission, no other guide has such thorough, expert, compassionate, and professional advice.
Let’s be honest: applying to college can be stressful for students and parents. But here’s the good news: you can get in. Robin Mamlet has been dean of admission at three of America's most selective colleges, and journalist and parent Christine VanDeVelde has been through the process first hand. With this book, you will feel like you have both a dean of admission and a parent who has been there at your side.
Inside this book, you'll find clear, comprehensive, and expert answers to all your questions along the way to an acceptance letter: 

   • The role of extracurricular activities
   • What it means to find a college that's the "right fit"
   • What's more important: high grades or tough courses
   • What role does testing play
   • The best candidates for early admission
   • When help from parents is too much help
   • Advice for athletes, artists, international students, and those with learning differences
   • How wait lists work
   • Applying for financial aid

This will be your definitive resource during the sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school.

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College Admission is the ultimate user's manual and go-to guide for any student or family approaching the college application process.    Featuring the wise counsel of more than 50 deans of admission, no other guide has such thorough, expert, compassionate, and professional advice.   Let’s be honest: applying to college can be stressf...

 ROBIN MAMLET is the former dean of admission at Stanford, Swarthmore, and Sarah Lawrence, where she made over 100,000 admission decisions. Today, she helps colleges and universities find and select their deans of admission, leading the Enrollment Search Practice for Witt/Kieffer. Journalist CHRISTINE VANDEVELDE's work has appeared in ...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 9.1 × 7.3 × 0.9 inPublished:August 16, 2011Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307590321

ISBN - 13:9780307590329

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Table of Contents Acknowledgments xii Foreword xvi   PART I  THE BIG PICTURE 1. DON’T SKIP THIS CHAPTER! 3 Getting into college is not as hard as it looks— the real challenges and opportunities 2. IS THERE A “SECRET” TO ADMISSION? 12 There is no “secret,” but it’s not random ■ Understanding what colleges want ■ The perfect candidate may be imperfect— but authentic   PART II GETTING ORGANIZED 3. THE 9TH AND 10TH GRADES: BEFORE YOU BEGIN . . . 19 When and how to start ■ Dialing down the anxiety 4. COLLEGE COUNSELORS AND ADVISORS 27 The high school counselor, a powerful advocate for the student ■ Private counselors— the benefits and drawbacks ■ How colleges interact with counselors ■ Overpackaged applicants   PART III BECOMING COLLEGE- BOUND 5. THE ACADEMIC RECORD 51 The cornerstone of the application ■ Defining a challenging curriculum ■ How to select courses ■ Course work options: electives, honors courses, international baccalaureate programs, and advanced placement classes ■ How many APs? ■ Grades and the GPA ■ Class ranking ■ Grade inflation ■ How colleges evaluate your grades and courses ■ Achieving balance between high grades, demanding courses, and personal time 6. EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES 66 The myths about extracurricular activities ■ Beyond the classroom: sports, community service, summer programs, school clubs and activities, jobs and work experience, international programs ■ Activity lists and resumes ■ What colleges are really looking for ■ Depth versus breadth, passion, leadership, and hooks ■ The strategy that works: pursuing genuine interests ■ Well rounded or specialist ■ How students can figure out who they are and what really interests them 7. TAKING THE TESTS 82 Standardized testing: the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, ACT, and SAT subject tests ■ The National Merit Scholarship Program ■ What the tests evaluate ■ When to test ■ Making a testing plan ■ Optimal preparation ■ Coaching: does it work? ■ Test- taking techniques ■ Testing reasonably: how many times to take the test ■ Test- optional schools ■ Scores ■ How colleges view standardized tests ■ The controversy surrounding standardized testing   PART IV  WHERE TO APPLY 8. CREATING AN INITIAL LIST OF COLLEGES 109 The four- step strategy for creating your initial list ■ Evaluating the student and the schools ■ Researching the schools ■ Information sources and selection criteria ■ Covering all the bases with “statistical reach,” “ possible,” “probable,” and “solid” schools ■ Rankings— the controversy, the benefits, the pitfalls ■ Selectivity— where a student fits into a school competitively ■ How to think about cost ■ Reference guide overview ■ How to get started and when to stop adding to your list 9. COLLEGE VISITS 137 When to visit ■ Tours, group information sessions, overnight stays, meetings with faculty or coaches, and classroom visits ■ Setting up appointments ■ Campus visit etiquette ■ Getting off the beaten path on campus ■ Questions to ask tour guides and admission officers ■ The proper role for parents 10. TURNING YOUR INITIAL LIST INTO YOUR APPLICATION LIST: THE EIGHT TO TEN COLLEGES WHERE YOU WILL APPLY 155 Identifying patterns that show where a student will thrive ■ Balancing what students want with where they fit ■ Assessing a student’s chances of admission ■ The “right” number of schools to apply to ■ Balancing the list ■ Demonstrated interest ■ Don’t get hung up on the “name game” ■ The right school isn’t always obvious   PART V APPLYING 11. COLLEGE INTERVIEWS 171 Informational versus evaluative interviews ■ Admission offi ce interviews ■ Alumni interviews ■ Scheduling ■ What happens step by step ■ What not to wear ■ Critical preparation ■ Questions to ask ■ Admission offi ce etiquette 12. RECOMMENDATIONS 189 The role recommendations play in admission ■ FERPA— waiving privacy rights ■ Whom to ask ■ How to ask ■ Supplemental recommendations ■ Follow- up 13. ESSAYS 202 What colleges look for ■ Self- reflection is critical ■ Basic writing advice ■ The long essay or personal statement ■ The sh*#@ty fi rst draft and the nine drafts that follow ■ Short essays ■ Dos and don’ts ■ Plagiarism ■ How much help is too much ■ How the essay shows a student is a good match for a school 14. THE APPLICATION FORM 223 The infrastructure of the admission fi le ■ The Common Application ■ Mistakes to avoid ■ Information integrity ■ Criminal convictions and disciplinary actions ■ Last- minute must- dos ■ Submission of supplemental materials ■ What your signature means ■ Deadlines   PART VI TIMING 15. DECISION PLANS 243 When to apply ■ Regular decision ■ Rolling admission ■ Early action ■ Restricted early admission ■ Early decision I and II ■ Who should apply early ■ Who should not apply early ■ Early programs and financial aid ■ The colleges’ philosophy and strategy behind early programs ■ What it means to sign on the dotted line ■ Options for students deferred or denied under early plans   PART VII PAYING 16. FINANCIAL AID 265 Does my family qualify for aid? ■ Financial aid calculators and getting an early estimate of what you will pay ■ Need- based aid ■ FAFSA ■ CSS Profile ■ Merit- based aid and scholarships ■ How to find merit aid ■ Scholarship search services ■ Scams ■ Deadlines ■ The financial aid package: grants, loans, work- study ■ Evaluating your financial aid awards ■ Financial planning ■ How to ask for more aid ■ Glossary of terms   PART VIII DECIDING 17. NOTIFICATION AND MAKING THE DECISION 301 You’re in ■ How to decide: return visits, problem solving, and other decisionmaking tools ■ Waitlist strategies ■ Denials ■ A gap year ■ Dealing with disappointment ■ Senioritis: don’t succumb ■ Sharing the news ■ A final checklist ■ The last steps: the reply, the deposit, the thank- yous   PART IX SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES 18. STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL TALENTS 319 Athletes: Division I, II, and III programs ■ Timing ■ Creating the list of schools ■ Scholarships ■ National Letters of Intent ■ Artists: Deciding between an arts program and an arts school ■ Submission of supplementary materials ■ Artistic review 19. STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES 335 Students with learning differences or physical or emotional challenges ■ Home- schooled students: Providing a narrative for the transcript ■ Testing ■ Demonstrating academic readiness ■ Accommodations ■ Disclosure ■ Documentation ■ Making the right match ■ Undocumented students: The challenges: researching your possibilities, completing the application, financial aid, where to go for help ■ Legacies and major donors: Special consideration ■ Etiquette for those with family ties ■ Influence and its implications 20. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS 347 Navigating the American college system ■ Testing ■ Credential evaluation ■ Financial aid ■ Advice for foreign nationals applying from U.S. high schools and U.S. citizens applying from abroad 21. TRANSFERS 357 Making the case for making a change: testing, essays, interviews, and letters of recommendation ■ Eligibility, articulation agreements, and transfer of credits   PART X APPENDICES I TIMELINE: THE PATH TO COLLEGE 369 II A RECOMMENDED COURSE OF STUDY 374 III WORKSHEETS 376 IV RESOURCES 380 V SAT/ACT CONCORDANCE TABLES 385 Notes 387 Index 000   CHAPTER 15   Pay Attention When Early Plans Are Discussed You may hear early action and early decision lumped together and discussed under the single heading of “early programs.” This is appropriate at times. For example, depending on the colleges on your list, your consideration of whether to apply early may encompass early action and an early decision option. But EA and ED are very different plans, with distinct rules, requirements, deadlines, and notification dates. Each has advantages or disadvantages depending on the applicant. In addition, the schools to which you are applying may offer both EA and ED plans. And deadlines and notification dates can be different from school to school, with some schools offering both EA and ED or even multiple rounds of EA or ED. Pay close attention to the designation of the plan being discussed and the specific details of the decision plans at each college on your list as you consider where, when, and if you will apply under an early plan.   Restrictive Early Action This option is offered by only a handful of colleges, but if a school you are interested in happens to be one of them, then you need to understand it. Restrictive early action is a nonbinding plan where students apply to a first- choice school early and receive an early decision. Students have until May 1 to respond to an offer of admission. You may apply to other colleges under regular or nonbinding rolling admission plans, but may not apply to any other school under early action, early decision, or REA. Students should check the website of any college where they are applying REA to understand if there are further restrictions. There are three outcomes under restrictive early action: acceptance, denial, and deferral. If accepted, the student has until May 1 to respond. If deferred, the student’s application is moved to the regular decision pool for later consideration. If you are deferred, you should follow the advice on page 250 for students who are deferred under early decision plans. If you are denied under REA, you cannot reapply for consideration under RD.   You Don’t Have to Jump on the Early Bandwagon “I want to apply early— I just don’t know where.” If that’s how you’re thinking about this, think again. Students report a lot of pressure to apply early. It comes from peers, parents, newspaper headlines— and sometimes it comes from oneself. In October of senior year, it may seem like everyone is jumping on the early bandwagon. But there is nothing wrong with sitting out this round and opting for more time and the greater choice it allows. There are distinct advantages to waiting and applying regular decision. Before you jump on the early bandwagon, seriously consider whether it’s right for you. We’ve provided a list of questions to help you figure that out on page 250.   Does Applying Early Improve My Chances? Whether applying early improves your chances is the wrong question. The better question is: “For the colleges on my list, am I a suitable candidate for an early program and do I want to take advantage of that option?” After all, it’s not really an advantage to be accepted early at a school if you haven’t decided you really want to go there. That said, we know you would like us to try to answer this question. Unfortunately, the answer is that it’s situational and complicated— and involves a lot of inside baseball about the college admission office. Here it is: Whether or not there is an advantage to applying early will vary from school to school and from applicant to applicant at each school. At schools that want to fill their classes with students who have made a commitment to the college through early decision or made it clear that they are sincerely interested by submitting their application through early action, there may be an advantage. But at other schools, applying early will make no difference. You just apply earlier and find out earlier. For some schools, the early plan may be the most competitive part of the admission cycle; at others, it could be the least competitive. For example, when the admit rate for early applications is higher than the admit rate under regular decision, you can’t necessarily conclude that there is an advantage. It may be that the candidates were stronger statistically, or that they just happened to meet other institutional priorities of the college. Students who apply early are often statistically among the strongest students a college will admit— these students are not relying on first- semester senior- year grades and November scores to boost their candidacy. Also, special- circumstance groups— such as athletes or legacies— may be steered toward the early pool, which can skew the statistics in a way that is difficult to sort out without a lot of inside information. One thing is for sure: applying early is no solution for weak grades or other problems a student may have. As Wesleyan dean of admission Nancy Meislahn has said, “Applying early does not have a Rumpelstiltskin effect: you can’t spin C’s into A’s.” As you can see, for every generalization about applying early creating an advantage, there are many exceptions. Because of this, it’s important that students and families not use an early plan merely to game the system. Applying early as a strategy works only if you know it’s your first- choice school and if you definitely want to go there— and then it’s not a strategy but a natural outgrowth of your interest.   KNOW THE JARGON . . . Admit Rate The admit rate is the percentage of applicants admitted by a college among those who applied. The admit rate is calculated by dividing the number of students admitted to a college by the number of students who applied to that college.   ADVANTAGES Rolling Admission, Early Action, and Restrictive Early Action Plans Have These Advantages in Common: • An early answer without a required commitment to enroll. • Unrestricted choice. • Time. You have until May 1 so are able to consider all your options as decisions come in from other schools to which you have applied. • An acceptance takes some of the pressure off and a denial allows you to move on and concentrate on the other schools on your list, any one of which you should be happy to attend. • Students and their families have the opportunity to consider and compare financial aid awards from multiple schools and weigh that information into their choice.   Students: Do the Right Thing You have applied under early action, rolling admission, or restrictive early action and you’re in. Congratulations. We now encourage you to do the right thing. If you know you will not enroll at some of the other colleges on your list, don’t apply to them. Go back through that original list and cross off those schools. Or if you’ve already sent in your applications, let those colleges know your plans. Don’t collect trophies in the form of admission letters from colleges you will never  attend. There are some exceptions to this rule. Some colleges very much want to make their case to you even if you have been admitted to another college under rolling admission, early action, or restrictive early action. If there are schools on your list you can still imagine you might attend, feel welcome to keep your options alive provided you are open to the case those colleges will make. And if you need to compare financial aid or merit scholarship awards, you will definitely want to proceed with applications to the other schools on your list. As you can see, this isn’t simple. But matters of integrity rarely are. Think carefully, and for any school where you would just be collecting another acceptance letter, let that college know your decision as soon as possible so they can offer your seat to another student who wants to attend.   EARLY DECISION Early decision plans require careful consideration, because they are binding. Students apply to one school early, are notified of a decision early, and agree to enroll if admitted. If you are applying ED, you are saying that you are positive that this school is your first choice and that you will enroll if accepted. There are three possible outcomes in early decision: acceptance, denial, or deferral. If you are accepted ED, you must immediately withdraw any applications you have submitted to other schools. You can notify the colleges by email, but make sure your email is acknowledged. If it is not acknowledged, follow up your email with a letter and save a copy for your records. If you have been accepted at a school with rolling admission in the meantime, let that college know immediately that you will not enroll. If you are deferred under early decision, you will be reconsidered with the regular pool of applicants. You do not have to reapply. Our best advice if you’re deferred: update your application. Colleges will typically have a form that requests any new information on grades, testing, extracurricular activities, or achievements. You should also send an email or letter indicating that you are still very interested in attending the college, highlighting for the admission office anything new in your life. If the college says they will welcome additional information, consider sending in an additional essay or a class paper you’re proud of. If you are denied early decision, you will not be reconsidered. This may seem harsh, with the denial coming right around the holidays. But accept it as valuable guidance. The school is sending you a strong signal early on that you’re not in the running and will be best served by placing your attention elsewhere— on your applications to the other wonderful schools on your list. An early decision plan is a great alternative for those students who are in a position to use it properly. Because it is binding, you will need to carefully consider the following: • Have you fully investigated your options by researching the schools on your list early, and spent a significant amount of time on at least several of their campuses? • Is the college to which you are applying ED your first choice? In other words, of all the places that you are applying, would you definitely enroll here even if you got in everywhere? And have you felt this way for a period of time, not just a couple of days? • Have you visited the college, observed classes, and had an overnight stay, if possible? • Do you change your mind easily about what you like and what is important to you? • Do you understand how your grades and test scores fit into the college’s academic profile? • Do you understand how the college implements its ED plan? For example, of the students they are seeking who have a strong desire to attend, are they focusing on those who are the most competitive academically, or those who are at the bottom of their academic profile?   ADVANTAGES Early Decision • Colleges want students who will be thrilled to be there. Applying ED lets the college know you have decided it’s the one you most want to attend. • Cost savings. If you are accepted ED, you’ve fi led just one application and paid only one fee (although you will want to have your other applications ready to go, just in case). • A less stressful senior year. ED frees students from the anxiety of waiting to hear from multiple schools. • Once you are admitted, you can start getting to know the school where you will spend the next four years— bonding and networking with the college and your classmates via social media and admitted student visits. • You are done! Enjoy your senior year.   If you are applying early under any decision plan, you should proceed with preparing your applications to the other schools on your list as though your early application did not exist. But you may want to wait to press send on your regular decision applications until you learn whether or not you’ve been admitted early.   Does Early Decision Fill Most of the Seats in the Freshman Class? “The college you’re applying to has filled half its freshman class with early decision applicants!” You may have heard things like this and worried there won’t be enough room left if you apply under regular decision. But this is a case where the numbers are deceiving. Let’s do the math. The question is not how many seats are being taken up in the class by applicants who applied under early decision. The question is, what percentage of the school’s total admission offers is already gone? It sounds incredible, but it’s true that even when half the seats are filled with ED applicants, fewer than half the acceptances have been given out.  Here’s how it works. Say a highly selective college can only enroll ten students in its freshman class, and five are accepted early decision. Because the ED process required their prior commitment to attend if accepted, the college knows for sure they are coming. Yes, that leaves five spots to be filled in next year’s class under regular decision. But remember that the dean of admission knows that students accepted through the regular decision process haven’t precommitted to actually attend. In fact, on average for this hypothetical but not untypical college, only about half will. The college can admit ten students under its RD process to fill the remaining five seats. So the college will actually admit fifteen students total. When five acceptances were given early decision, that wasn’t half the fat envelopes— it was only one- third. Two- thirds are still left for the regular decision process. No reason to panic.   The Early Decision Agreement If you apply under an early decision plan, you must submit an Early Decision Agreement. This form can be found at, with any other electronic application provider’s form, or as a part of a college’s unique form. The ED Agreement is a contract whereby the student agrees to enroll if accepted and to immediately withdraw all applications submitted to other colleges. The ED Agreement is signed by the student, a parent, and the high school counselor. It is submitted by the high school counselor. Colleges take this contract seriously. Read it fully and make sure you understand what you are committing to by signing it. If you fail to abide by its terms and, for example, apply to more than one college early decision, your acceptances at both schools may be rescinded. Note that you have agreed to let the college to which you’re applying share your name and ED Agreement with other institutions. Students sign a similar agreement when applying under a restrictive early action plan.   Financial Aid Colleges handle financial aid differently under each type of decision plan. Some schools release financial aid decisions beginning on a specific date, typically around March 1. Other schools provide families with either a financial aid award or an estimated financial aid award with the offer of admission or shortly thereafter. This award will be updated and confirmed in the spring. If your information remains the same, you can assume the award will remain the same. Students should check each school’s financial aid website carefully for deadlines and notification dates. Take advantage of any opportunities to ask questions of admission or financial aid officers at each school so you can understand how financial aid is handled under each decision plan. We’ve provided some questions for you on page 256. See Chapter 16 for further information on financial aid. Also, note that the early decision plan presents a special case where you will receive an award only from the ED college and there will be no opportunity to receive or compare aid packages from other colleges.   How Do Your Grades and Scores Figure into Your Decision to Apply Under an Early Plan? Much of the advice you will receive about applying under an early plan— early action, early decision, or restrictive early action— will be to apply only if your grades and test scores place you in the top half of that college’s academic profile. For many of you, this is great advice. But for some of you, it’s not. Whether or not this is good advice will depend upon the schools on your list and the goals those schools have for their early plans. In order to understand how your grades and scores should figure into your decision to apply early, you will need to understand: • Where your grades and scores fit into the college’s academic profile. • The pattern of your grades. Are they going up, down, or staying the same? • The college’s philosophy and practice with regard to its early plan. • How your grades and test scores fit into that philosophy and practice.   What does all that mean? Here’s an example. Every class has a bottom group of students. Some schools may want that group to be made up of the students who most want to be there, not those who would have been just as happy at another college. So applying early to such a school might make sense for a student whose grades and scores are not in the top half of that college’s academic profile. On the other hand, if the college’s approach is to select their strongest students during an early plan cycle, then you might want to wait and apply during the regular decision cycle if your grades are on an upward trajectory with your strongest marks yet to come. You know how to evaluate your grades and scores and where you fall in the academic profile of the college (remember, it was in Chapter 8). But where do you find out how the colleges on your list implement their early plans? Your best bet is to discuss it with your high school counselor. Or call and talk to the admission officer at the college— tell her your grades and scores and ask for her best advice about applying under an early plan. You may not be able to obtain a definitive answer. But don’t worry about this too much. There are many factors that you may want or need to take into account to determine whether or not applying early is an appropriate decision for you. This is simply one of those factors. This is not a way to game the system. You should do what feels right for you and what works best for your family.   Is Applying Early a Good Idea for Me? To help you decide what might be right for you, consider the following questions in order. The more yes answers you can give, the more applying early might be your best approach. • If you’re considering early decision, start here and work your way through all the questions below. • Of all the colleges on your list, is this the school where you would unquestionably enroll? • Is your first- choice school an environment that fits you well, but also a place where you can change and grow? • Have you felt the school where you are going to apply early decision is your first choice for more than a few days or weeks? • Do you and your parents agree that if you are given a reasonable financial aid package, you will attend the school even if other colleges were to offer you stronger financial aid packages or a merit scholarship? • If you’re considering early action or restrictive early action, start here: • Do your junior- year grades and classes support an early application, relative to the philosophy and practice of the college to which you’re applying? • Have you completed all standardized testing by October of your senior year? • Considering your commitments to extracurricular activities or work, will you be able to complete your application by November? • Are you a student with a special talent, such as an athlete, or a special circumstance, such as a legacy applicant? If so, see Chapter 18 or 19.     Acknowledgments A project of this scope and comprehensiveness is not possible without the contributions of many. We would like to acknowledge all of the individuals who made this book possible with a heartfelt thank- you. FIRST AND FOREMOST Don Luskin Alice Kleeman THE DEANS OF ADMISSION Amy Abrams, Sarah Lawrence College Seth Allen, Grinnell College Philip A. Ballinger, University of Washington Nancy Benedict, Beloit College Michael Beseda, St. Mary’s College of California Donald Bishop, Notre Dame University Tamara Blocker, Wake Forest University Jim Bock, Swarthmore College Jon Boeckenstedt, DePaul University Jeff Brenzel, Yale University Shawn Brick, University of California Thyra Briggs, Harvey Mudd College Nancy Cable, Bates College Arlene Cash, Spelman College Mary Chase, Creighton University Douglas L. Christiansen, Vanderbilt University Carmina Cianciulli, Tyler School of Art, Temple University Robert S. Clagett, Middlebury College Lee Coffi n, Tufts University Dennis Craig, Purchase College Vince Cuseo, Occidental College Charles Deacon, Georgetown University Randall C. Deike, New York University Tom Delahunt, Drake University Jennifer Delahunty, Kenyon College Rick Diaz, Southern Methodist University Stephen M. Farmer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill William Fitzsimmons, Harvard University Patricia Goldsmith, Scripps College Christopher Gruber, Davidson College Christoph Guttentag, Duke University Katharine L. Harrington, University of Southern California Pamela T. Horne, Purdue University Monica Inzer, Hamilton College Jeannine Lalonde, University of Virginia Maria Laskaris, Dartmouth College John Latting, The Johns Hopkins University Jean Lee, Yale University Jess Lord, Haverford College Garrett Marino, Purchase College Quinton McArthur, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Kitty McCarthy, Northern Illinois University Nancy Hargrave Meislahn, Wesleyan University Richard Nesbitt, Williams College Alton Newell, Washington & Jefferson College Jim Nondorf, University of Chicago Tom Parker, Amherst College Delsie Phillips, formerly of Lynn University Bruce Poch, formerly of Pomona College Jenny Rickard, Bryn Mawr College Lorne T. Robinson, Macalester College Arnaldo Rodriguez, Pitzer College Nancy M. Rothschild, Syracuse University Daniel J. Saracino, formerly of University of Notre Dame Stuart Schmill, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Richard H. Shaw, Stanford University Ted Spencer, University of Michigan Fumio Sugihara, University of Puget Sound Steven T. Syverson, Lawrence University Steve Thomas, Colby College Roger Thompson, University of Oregon Keith Todd, Reed College Kelly Walter, Boston University James Washington, Jr., Dartmouth College Christopher Watson, Northwestern University Rebekah Westphal, Yale University Jarrid Whitney, California Institute of Technology Susan A. Wilbur, formerly of University of California FINANCIAL AID OFFICERS Vincent Amoroso, Johns Hopkins University Leslie Limper, Reed College Mary Morrison, Stanford University Alison Rabil, Duke University Diane Stemper, Ohio State University HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE COUNSELORS Charlene Aguilar, Lakeside School, Seattle, WA Ali Bhanji, formerly of Potomac School, McLean, VA Natalie Bitton, Lycée Français La Pérouse, San Francisco, CA Melanie Choukrane, The Brearley School, New York, NY Mark Clevenger, Menlo School, Atherton, CA James Conroy, New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL Neal Cousins, The Haverford School, Haverford, PA Susan Dean, Castilleja School, Palo Alto, CA Jeff Haviland, Strath Haven High School, Swarthmore, PA Deb Kelly, Newman Central Catholic High School, Sterling, IL Alice Kleeman, Menlo- Atherton High School, Atherton, CA Laura Stewart, The Ensworth School, Nashville, TN Marybeth Kravets, formerly of Deerfield High School, Deerfield, IL Brad Magowan, Newton North High School, Newton, MA Rod Skinner, Milton Academy, Milton, MA Patricia Ustick, formerly of Portsmouth School and East Greenwich High School, East Greenwich, RI Jan Williams, formerly of Dartmouth High School, Dartmouth, MA EDUCATORS Denise Clark Pope, Stanford University School of Education, founder of Challenge Success Gina Coleman, Williams College Linda DeAngelo, Higher Education Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles Emily Froimson, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Leslie Hawkins, Higher Education Research Institute, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles Fred Mims, associate director of athletics, University of Iowa Holly Thompson, Castilleja School, Palo Alto, CA Bruce VanDeVelde, athletics director, Louisiana Tech Belinda Wilkerson, Rhode Island School Counseling Project, Providence College MaryJo Yannacone, principal, Strath Haven High School, Swarthmore, PA EXPERTS Scott Anderson, The Common Application, Inc. Maureen Brown, executive director, Challenge Success Jon Erickson, senior vice president, ACT, Inc. Carrie Evans, co- founder, Educators for Fair Consideration Katharine Gin, co- founder, Educators for Fair Consideration Scott Gomer, ACT, Inc. Rob Killion, executive director, The Common Application Jim Montoya, The College Board Erica Pierson, Naviance, Inc. Martha Pitts, The College Board Rose Rennekamp, ACT, Inc. Jay Rosner, executive director, The Princeton Review Foundation Bob Schaeffer, Fair Test Linda Gray Sexton, author Joyce Smith, National Association for College Admission Counseling Kathleen Fineout Steinberg, The College Board Ellen Sussman, author and writing teacher Kris Zavoli, The College Board PARENTING EXPERTS Michael Riera, author of Uncommon Sense for Parents of Teenagers, head of school, Brentwood School, Los Angeles, CA Michael Thompson, Ph.D., author of The Pressured Child Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes INDEPENDENT COUNSELORS Jane McClure John Perlman Irena Smith READERS Amy Abrams, Sarah Lawrence College Charlene Aguilar, Lakeside School Seth Allen, Grinnell College Vincent Amoroso, Johns Hopkins University Chloe Atchue- Mamlet, student Natalie Bitton, Lycée Français La Pérouse Daniel Cherry, student Melanie Choukrane, The Brearley School James Conroy, New Trier High School Claire Costantino, student Jennifer Delahunty, Kenyon College George Dowdall, St. Joseph’s University Jeff Haviland, Strath Haven High School Roark Luskin, student Fern Mandelbaum, parent Ayesha Rasheed, student Sarah Ringer, parent Rod Skinner, Milton Academy Irena Smith, writing teacher and counselor MaryJo Yannacone, Strath Haven High School CARTOONISTS Mark Anderson Randall Munroe EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Katherine M. Miller AND LAST BUT NEVER LEAST Our agent, Jennifer Joel of ICM, an incredible guide from start to finish Our editor, Heather Lazare of the Crown Publishing Group, the best counsel step by Step   Resources The following list of books and websites are resources we believe will be helpful to you in applying to college. Some of these resources are data- driven, such as the College Board’s College Handbook. Others are anecdotal— for example, Unigo. Both have value. Use each appropriately.   OBJECTIVE REFERENCE GUIDES Books College Handbook, The College Board Four Year Colleges, Peterson’s Websites University and College Accountability Network at www. ucan- National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities at College Results Online at   SUBJECTIVE REFERENCE GUIDES Books The Best 371 Colleges, Princeton Review Big Book of Colleges, College Prowler Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges, Loren Pope Colleges with a Conscience: 81 Great Schools with Outstanding Community Involvement, Princeton Review Fiske Guide to Colleges, Edward B. Fiske Student’s Guide to Colleges, edited by Jordan Goldman and Colleen Buyers   Visit our website at for an updated list of resources.   Websites Unigo at College Prowler at   SUBJECTIVE MATERIALS ABOUT THE ADMISSION PROCESS Books College Unranked: Ending the College Admissions Frenzy, Lloyd Thacker The Gatekeepers, Jacques Steinberg Harvard Schmarvard, Jay Matthews I’m Going to College— Not You! Jennifer Delahunty, editor Less Stress, More Success: A New Approach to Guiding Your Teen Through College, Marilee Jones and Kenneth Ginsburg Websites The Choice, Jacques Steinberg at thechoice Class Struggle, Jay Mathews at voices /class- struggle The Education Conservancy at   GENERAL ADMISSION INFORMATION Websites at College Board at KnowHow2Go at National Association for College Admission Counseling at The Common Application at International Baccalaureate at Advanced Placement at College Fairs Online at Collegiate Choice Walking Tours Videos at Campus Tours at NACAC National College Fairs at   COLLEGE DATA Websites College InSight at www. college- College Navigator at collegenavigator National Survey of Student Engagement at   TESTING INFORMATION Websites ACT at SAT at Fair Test at   TESTING INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS Websites International English Language Testing System at TOEFL at Pearson Test of English at   FREE PRACTICE TESTS AND TEST PREPARATION Websites ACT Sample Test at sampletest/index.html Number2 at SAT College Board Practice Test at /sat - practice- test Spark Notes SAT Practice Test at   SPECIAL INTERESTS Books K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or ADHD, Marybeth Kravets and Imy Wax The College Sourcebook for Students with Learning and Developmental Differences by Midge Lipkin College Guide for Performing Arts Majors 2009: The Real- World Admission Guide for Dance, Music, and Theater Majors, Carole Everett Websites National Portfolio Day at   ATHLETICS Websites NCAA at   GAP YEAR Books Before You Go: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Gap Year, Tom Griffi ths Gap Year Guidebook 2010, Wendy Bosberry- Scott Websites Americorps at City Year at CIEE Gap Year Programs at at Global Volunteers at Global Citizen Year at Where There Be Dragons at   SELECTIVE SUMMER PROGRAMS Websites Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP) at National Hispanic Institute at www. nhi- College Horizons Program for Native Americans at Massachusetts Institute of Technology MITES at   SEMESTER PROGRAMS Websites CITYterm at the Masters School in New York at The Mountain School of Milton Academy at United World Colleges at   FINANCIAL AID RESOURCES Websites College Board at College Goal Sunday at FAFSA at Fastweb at FinAid at Federal Student Aid at CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE at   FINANCIAL AID FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS Websites The Association of International Educators (NAFSA) at eduPASS: The Smart Student Guide to Studying in the USA at   FINANCIAL AID CALCULATORS Websites College Board at FinAid Calculators at calculators Sallie Mae Affordability Analyzer at FAFSA4caster at The College Board at   SCHOLARSHIPS Websites College at www College Board Scholarship Search at ss/welcome.jsp FastWeb at FinAid’s Major- Specifi c Resource at Meritaid at Moolahspot at Peterson’s Award Database at otheraid/majors.phtml at at www. The Web- based Naviance system features a scholarship search service powered by Sallie Mae.   LOAN INFORMATION Websites Avoiding Deceptive Student Loan Offers at credit/cre43.shtm Parent PLUS Loan at Stafford Loan Website at   MINORITY SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION Websites 200 Free Scholarships for Minorities at .html 100 Black Men of American, Inc. at American Indian College Fund at Hispanic Scholarship Fund at LGBT Scholarship Resource at   UNDERRESOURCED STUDENTS Books College Access &Opportunity Guide, Center for Student Opportunity Websites Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) at Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) College Center at College Goal Sunday at Jack Kent Cooke Foundation at National College Access Network at   SPANISH- LANGUAGE RESOURCES Websites Educación a tu Alcance (Guide to Financial Aid in Spanish) at www.thesalliemaefund .org/smfnew/sections/download.html NSSE Pocket Guide: Questions to Ask on Your College Visits (in English and Spanish) at _guide_intro.cfm Spanish Language Resource Links (Admissions and Financial Aid) at   UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS Websites Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) at National Immigration Law Center at Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund at Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund at   LGBTQQI STUDENTS Websites Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resources Center at Campus Climate Index at

Editorial Reviews

"This guide can be beneficial to students of any background and at any stage of their college search process…Mamlet and Vandevelde’s guidebook provides significant and helpful direction at every stage of the college search. To reinforce their advice, they close every chapter with validation and wisdom from experienced admission deans and high school guidance counselors. Families that look to this guidebook will have a balanced sense of how to navigate the college search without feeling overwhelmed. With their new knowledge, students will traverse the college application process with a sense of ease." -- National Association for College Admission Counseling "This guide is a must-have resource for any student planning to enter college. No other publication offers this level of expertise and all-encompassing, reassuring wealth of information [...] Whether there is a sophomore, junior or high school student in the home, this guide will help connect the dots and show the way to help an applicant possibly receive an acceptance letter for the college of their choice." -- The Tuscon Citizen“COLLEGE ADMISSION avoids all stratagems for shoehorning your child into Harvard. Instead, it shows us how to treat the app process as a chance for self-reflection, culminating in acceptance to a school that’s an authentic fit.” -- Eli Wolfe, San Francisco Magazine"Hurrah! An upbeat, practical book on college admissions [...]  it's well organized and readable [...] covers the basics (getting ready, selecting colleges, the application process, paying for school, deciding which to attend, etc.), enhanced with insights from 50 deans of admission, high school counselors and educators. And, dare I suggest this? It is good reading for your prospective college freshmen, too." -- Karen Horton, The Star-Ledger -"A new college admissions bible [...]Here is a new book jam-packed with information on every aspect of the admissions process [...] College Admission does what the title promises, in an accessible format that taps the knowledge and experience of admissions directors and others involved in the process." -- Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post