Remember how long you spent on your college essays? How you slaved for weeks because your guidance counselor told you that your dissertation on why puppies will one day save the planet was what would definitely set you apart from the rest?
Well, there’s a chance that it was all for nothing. The board of directors of everyone’s favorite source of anxiety, The Common App, announced that there would no longer be an open-ended essay option, rather a choice between five more specific prompts.
In response, Dean Furda said it probably wouldn’t matter anyway, admitting that maybe one in seven essays are actually considered in the admissions decision. So basically, 86% of the people reading this worked their butts off on an insightful, introspective composition that was inconsequential to their admission. Read the rest of this entry »
This past Saturday morning, a bunch of bleary-eyed, overstressed high schoolers came to Meyerson Hall to take the SAT. Then they saw the building was in complete disarray, thanks to the final critiques that took place the day before, and maybe those two kids who had six perfectly sharpened pencils, two erasers and two spare calculator batteries neatly laid on their desks were like, “OmGGGgGG this is NOT conducive to my TEST-TAKING EXPERIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!” but most of them probably didn’t care. PennDesign felt pretty awful about it, though, so they posted this ridiculous note letting all those students know they’re really, really sorry for potentially causing them inordinate levels of distress during this critical moment in their lives. Read a full transcript of the note after the jump.
The Choice is not something we have an easy time reading. We struggled through the college admissions process, and everything turned out great but, man, it is not easy to hear about it now! It’s what it must be like for an alien abduction victim to read an alien abduction blog. They must say, “Living through the beaming up and the poking and the prodding on the ship was enough, so no thank you, we do not need to read about how abductions are going these days.” Totally the same thing! That’s why we don’t check in very often.
But then yesterday, they opened up the comments section for questions directed toward Eric J. Furda, Penn Dean of Admissions. Obviously, we had to see what was up. As you could imagine, parents were all over this. Let’s check out some of their questions.
“People say it’s critical to take the most difficult curriculum available at high school. If a student is really an English focused person…does she have to take AP Chem and AP Calc to be considered by Penn — considering she’s not into math at all?”
“And when I say ‘at all,’ I mean AT ALL. I ask her, ‘If I make you stay home and study 6 nights a week, how many nights can you spend reading for pleasure or watching movies with your parents?’ She just stares at me like she has no idea what the answer is! What an idiot!”
Read the rest of this entry »
I came to Penn from a high school in New York called Fieldston. It was a little bit like Gossip Girl, but coed, and a greater proportion of the student body was stoned. College admissions was basically our religion from sophomore year on. By second semester of junior year, SATs and applications replaced the weather as the default small talk topic. One of my friends used to have panic attacks because she thought that Emma Watson was applying to Middlebury, thus leaving her with zero chance of being accepted. (She is currently at Wesleyan and couldn’t be happier.) While most people found watching the entire grade apply to the same 12 schools nerve-wracking, I saw it for what it truly was: thoroughly entertaining.
So imagine my delight when I discovered College Confidential, a site best known for its discussion boards and the stressed out 17-year-olds that haunt them. The posts range from questions about the quality of schools to personal stories about the admissions process. Read the rest of this entry »