What the First Round of College Admissions Decisions Told Us

February 12, 2014

The Huffington Post reported last month what we can take away from the first round of admissions decisions. Patrick O’Connor, Associate Dean of College Counseling at Cranbrook-Kingswood School, says this about test scores:

High test scores may yield merit scholarships once a student is admitted, but getting the “Yes!” is going to take more than numbers. Highly selective schools have regularly said they turn down students with perfect test scores whose essays are bland and whose activities are empty.

O’Connor recommends current juniors do the following to choose which colleges to apply to:

  • At the beginning of senior year, you should have a list of 6-8 colleges you’re interested in.
  • Three of them should be schools where your GPA and test scores are at or above the college’s average. These should be colleges you would like to go to.
  • Two should be close to home, in case you need to be close to home after high school
  • Two should, if possible, require little financial assistance.
  • Follow your passions in innovative ways in and out of your classes
  • If your dream or reach schools have an average test score higher than your test score, take the test again.
  • Remember that, in most cases, a student will not get a higher test score after taking it twice, unless the student devotes significant time and energy to test preparation—and even then, the result may not change greatly.

To improve your college essays, use our essays as inspiration for how to handle a particularly difficult topic or for writing style guidance.



Browse Successful Application Files

vicamit
Vanderbilt ‘20


Accepted to Florida, Vanderbilt, Duke, Emory, UPenn, Miami, Northeastern, UVA, UNC, Georgetown, Rice

Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholar at Vanderbilt and art enthusiast
alm25
UT Austin ‘19


Accepted to UC Berkeley, USC, UMich, Illinois, UT Austin, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCSD, UCSB, U of Minnesota, Arizona, WVU, Cal Poly, San Jose State

I'm from the SF Bay Area, but I'm betraying my roots by attending The University of Texas at Austin as a chemical engineering major. I like music, science and eating!
nyudotedu
NYU ‘19


Accepted to NYU, BC, BU, GWU, Northeastern

I was born and raised in Korea, but I've studied in in U.S. boarding school for 7 years. I love people, building, and cars so I love every cities in the world.
ssen2019
Rice ‘19


Accepted to Rice, Rochester, Case, Emory, Hamilton, Pitt, Union, Miami

Experience applying as daughter of first generation US immigrants. Aspiring physician interested in double majoring in Acting and Cognitive Science.

New Posts

Common App Writing Prompt #5 (2018-2019): Personal Growth
Common App Writing Prompt #5 (2018-2019): Personal Growth
December 05, 2018

The Common Application asks students to choose from 7 essay prompts, each asking for a different type of essay. Prompt #5, which was the most popular prompt amongst applicants from last season, focuses on personal growth. Read...

Load More Posts