Wednesday, September 15, 2010

So What's on Your List?

I've always found the concept of top 10 lists both daunting and silly. How does anyone create such a list (I am talking informative, not Letterman)? And what is their purpose, other than for the list creators to show how wise/clever/incisive they are?

But who knows, maybe I will come up with a top 10 list of things to do/not to do for high school sophomores as they prepare for college. Till then, I will share others' lists. Here's one that reviews 10 costly mistakes related to college admissions. No huge surprises, but there are a few that are worth remembering as teens start thinking about college options and applications.

Mistake No. 3: Colleges are looking for the well-rounded kid. As this Forbes blogger points out, colleges are looking for well-rounded classes. What they don't want to see is a candidate who has dabbled in many activities just so they can be listed on an application. There's no passion there, no depth of knowledge. Parents, as the school year gears up and organizations seek members, remind yourself and your students that this is one instance where less (but not zero) is more.

Mistake 4: The essay better be perfect – and seriously substantive. Of course that is true, but substantive means a full response to the college's questions, using life experiences, possibly. But beware of essays that make the applicant sound like a walking cliche. The college will not be interested.

Mistake 9: We can’t afford Big Name College. If a student is interested in Big Name College because she can handle the academics, believes the college offers the exact program she needs and just plain thinks it would be a good fit, then money should not deter the student from applying. There are scholarships, there are loans.

There are plenty of adult-written top 10s related to college admissions. I wonder what a student-authored top 10 list would include?

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