The Battle for Elite College Admissions As a direct consequence, the war over college admissions has become astonishingly fierce, with many middle- or upper-middle class families investing quantities of time and money that would have seemed unimaginable a generation or more ago, leading to an all-against-all arms race that immiserates the student and exhausts the parents.
At least, not according to the conventional wisdom on college admissions. Olivia attended a small private school near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She had good grades and test scores, but nothing phenomenal.
More striking, she maintained a minimal extracurricular schedule. Combined, her school year activities required only seven to eight hours of effort per week. During the summer, she worked in a marine zoology laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, studying lobsters and horseshoe crabs with a research group run by her neighbor, a professor at the university.
Students familiar with competitive college admissions tend to have the same reaction to Olivia: Olivia, however, defied this reaction.
Not only was she accepted at UVA, she also won the hyper-competitive Jefferson Scholarship — a merit-based award, given out by UVA alumni, that covers the full cost of attending the school. Most high school senior classes have a student like Olivia — someone who defies our understanding of who should get accepted to competitive colleges.
Indeed, even Olivia was surprised by her own success: It instead points to a surprising possibility: This surprise, of course, requires the belief that the role of extracurricular activities is to signal important qualities about the applicant.
This trait, which I call interestingness, permeates their application — from their essay to recommendations — and has a profoundly positive impact on their admissions chances.
For these students, extracurricular activities play a different role than for their peers. I call this idea the interestingness hypothesis, and it upends conventional wisdom on how to get accepted at a competitive college.
They were pursuing the hypothesis that crabs use the tides to coordinate their migrations. It soon became clear that over the past three years, Olivia had developed a deep interest in this work. His enthusiasm for marine zoology infused their conversations.
The conversation with the scholarship committee shifted.
Olivia began talking about the book Emergenceby Steven Johnson, which describes how simple small-scale decisions can aggregate into complex large-scale behavior for example, dumb ants creating smart colonies. But when I tell the story of relaxed superstars like Olivia, most high schools students balk.
This reaction is based on the common belief that only a few lucky students are born naturally interesting, while everyone else has to prove their worth the hard way — one demanding extracurricular commitment at a time.
But is this true? Ina research team led by Professor Linda Caldwell of Penn State University, conducted an experiment that effectively put the idea of the naturally interesting student to the test.
They gathered a group of middle school students from four rural Pennsylvania school districts.A materials culture and the secure transport of light: Essays here tend to be about globalization and technology.
Top Successful College Essays. Get into the college of your dreams! We hope these essays inspire you as you write your own personal statement.
Just remember to . The Effects of the Spectre and Meltdown Vulnerabilities. On January 3, the world learned about a series of major security vulnerabilities in modern microprocessors. Cal, From your experience and what you’ve observed of other people, would you say that the same strategy of having “fewer-structured-extracurriculars-to-leave-time-to-pursue-one-highly-interesting-and-meaningful-activity” holds true for college students that want to get into med school or a competitive graduate school?
A paper by Jackie Calmes, Joan Shorenstein Fellow (Spring ) and national correspondent for The New York Times, examines the increasing influence of conservative media on the Republican Party’s agenda..
Calmes traces the history of conservative media, from its founding after World War II to the present-day proliferation of talk radio and Internet personalities. The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.