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Archive for the 'College Apps & Angst' Category

COLLEGE Woos Applicants Via Billboard

Wilkes University ad on MySpaceAs everyone should know by now, high schoolers everywhere are freaking out over ever-intensifying college apps competition. How competitive? UC Berkeley just rejected more than 10,000 students with 4.0s.

Now comes word from the other side. Pennsylvania’s Wilkes University wants students so badly it’s wooing them on billboards, pizza boxes, gas stations, MySpace and even on MTV and Comedy Central. The $120,000 ad campaign featured seven prospective students in all, with ad copy designed to convey the idea that this school REALLY knows its students. Here are a few examples, including a MySpace ad devoted to Homecoming Queen Katie Murtaugh (above) and more after the jump. Now you tell us. Charming or creepy?
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Posted on Thursday, May 1st, 2008
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FINE DINING in the Dorms

Steak (photo by Clint Rankin, StockXchng) Universities have started paying close attention not just to their academic offerings but the epicurean ones too, according to a New York Times piece that described a typical day at Bowdoin College’s dining hall, complete with curried butternut squash soup, vegetable ragout over polenta, Dijon-crusted chicken, and Vietnamese pho. No? Then how about the Maine lobster, New York strip steak and grilled sesame-crusted tuna with wasabi mayo at Virginia Tech? Presumably that picky eater you have at home will develop a suitably refined palate before he takes the SATs, because we think there are green things in some of those recipes, and food may actually touch other food on the plate.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 9th, 2008
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A TWIST on the College Rejection

College campus Spring is high stress season for high school seniors, as they wait, agonize and, occasionally, weep. So we think you’re going to enjoy this letter which was published in the New York Times and appears now on the web site …

Dear Admissions Committee:
Having reviewed the many rejection letters I have received in the last few weeks, it is with great regret that I must inform you I am unable to accept your rejection at this time.
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Posted on Saturday, April 5th, 2008
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COLLEGE Rejection Survival

Late mail (illus. by Chris Ware, MCT Direct) Fat envelope? Or slim dasher of hope? This is the time of year when the size of your mail matters enormously, when parents chase down alarmed postal carriers and teens crumple at the P.O. box. We’re talking, of course, about college rejection season. And this year it’s bad, worse even than last year – and that was really bad. How bad? According to Forbes Magazine, a girl who scored a perfect 2400 on her SATs and 800s on her SAT2s got wait listed at Yale. She’d applied early decision, and been deferred. We’re fervently hoping she’s holding a fat envelope now, because otherwise, what hope is there for anyone else?

So we’re going to offer up some words of wisdom from the folks immersed in this business (our favorite rejection survival tip, by the way, is — scroll down — #2). Then please, click “comments” and share your thoughts.
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Posted on Friday, April 4th, 2008
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UC Contemplates Axing SAT II

sat If filling in SAT test bubbles is not your idea of a good time, you’ll be pleased to know that the University of California may abandon the SAT II two years from now.

Naturally, the College Board is concerned.(You thought the College Board was a board of college representatives, right? Um no. It’s the corporation that make the exams and reaps its gargantuan revenues.)
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Posted on Monday, March 24th, 2008
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HARVARD Says Sayonara to Transfers

Harvard Sure hope your kid wasn’t planning on transferring to Harvard anytime soon. The Crimson gods just announced they will not accept any transfer applications for 2008-09 or 2009-10. Pity they didn’t announce it before starry-eyed Ivy-dreamers filled out their applications, got their references together and mailed everything in. Join the venting on the College Confidential discussion boards, or click here to follow in Rory Gilmore‘s footsteps and apply to Yale.

In happier college news, those same CConfidential forums offer up all manner of tasty tidbits. Our current fave is the “Freshman Year is Almost Over – What I Wish I’d Known Before” list. Here’s a sampling of advice…

1. “Don’t take a ridiculously hard course load your first semester,” writes Mochamaven. “You will be adjusting to an entirely new situation, and having a more moderate workload will really make your transition to college life easier. In high school you may have wowed people with your 7 APs in a year, but in college people don’t think a freshman juggling a whole bunch of advanced courses is cool — they think you’re nuts. Because you are.”
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Posted on Friday, March 21st, 2008
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Education vacation (illus by Noah Musser, MCT Direct)
It’s Americans who pack their kids off to college directly from high school. In England, Australia and Canada, teens frequently take a “gap year” off to travel, work and get some real life experiences, before they buckle down to another four years of studies, followed by decades in a cubicle. (OK, just managed to really depress myself.)

The big question, of course, is how one spends a gap year, so it doesn’t turn into 12 months of loafing around. That question will be answered, we’re told, at this Saturday’s Gap Year Fair at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco (1835 Ellis St.). The free fair runs from 2 to 4 p.m. and includes reps from Global Quest, Thinking Beyond Borders, Sojourns Abroad and other philanthropic and education abroad programs geared toward teens.

Anyone out there have any experience with gap years? Click “comments” and share…

Posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
Under: College Apps & Angst | 1 Comment »

YOUTH SPORTS & Unrealistic Expectations

baseballIs your kid spending his childhood on the soccer field? Is your family’s summer a series of non-stop swim meets? There’s no doubt that youth sports have taken over family life. If your kid is playing year-round everything because he or she loves it, that’s one thing, but if it’s because you think there’s an athletic scholarship or professional sports glory waiting in his future, you need to read this morning’s New York Times story, “Athletic Scholarships: Expectations Lose to Reality.”

Parents sacrifice weekends and vacations to tournaments and specialty camps, spending thousands each year in this quest for the holy grail. But the expectations of parents and athletes can differ sharply from the financial and cultural realities of college athletics…

“People run themselves ragged to play on three teams at once so they could always reach the next level,” said Margaret Barry of Laurel, Md., whose daughter is a scholarship swimmer at the University of Delaware. “They’re going to be disappointed when they learn that if they’re very lucky, they will get a scholarship worth 15 percent of the $40,000 college bill. What’s that? $6,000?”

And what’s never discussed is the downside to playing college ball, track, swimming, etc. – the painfully early morning weight training, long practices and travel time. There’s a reason colleges routinely hire tutors for their star athletes.
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Posted on Monday, March 10th, 2008
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SPRING BREAK: College Visits

Muhlenberg College Tour (Photo by Max Orenstein, MCT Direct)
Spring break may conjure up thoughts of Cabo, Daytona Beach and other fun-in-the-sun, wet-t-shirt spots for some people. But if you’ve got teens at home, chances are your spring travel plans include a college visit or two.

If this is your first foray, do a little homework first, say the folks at Collegiate Choice, Case Western and Princeton Review. And if you’re still mulling the big questions of large vs. small, private vs. public, etc. check out the Princeton Review web site for a list of issues to ponder, and the ever-helpful Counselor-O-Matic, which matches academic and extra-curricular interests with college possibilities. (It’s slim on the Cal State schools, but will help you find possibilities you might not have considered.) Once you’ve got a preliminary list in hand, it’s time to start visiting, because learning about a campus by browsing the brochure is like learning to surf from a textbook. The pictures are certainly pretty, but it’s kinda hard to grasp the actual experience, you know?
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Posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2008
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WEEKEND Reminders

College silhouetteJust a couple quickie reminders for this weekend:
Diablo Valley College is hosting a “Cash for College” Financial Aid Workshop Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. Get free help with your taxes and FAFSA forms, and enter to win a $1,000 scholarship from Cal Grant and an iPod. Cool. And Cal State East Bay’s Hayward campus is hosting a Latino Education Summit this Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. College advice, resources, lunch – all free.  (And an African American Summit is slated for March 1)

And, check out Childhood Matters this Sunday morning at 9 on 98.1 KISS-FM or 105.1 KOCN-FM. Host Rona Renner, RN, discusses kids and teeth with pediatric dentist Richard Sobel and Debi Diaz, Executive Director of Community Oral Health Services. Great free resource.

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2008
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