Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida Read the Editor's Blog. By Nitish Rele Classifieds Motoring Astrology Books Fashion Movies Finance Immigration Health Editorial News Content Find us on Facebook! Art


Observations from the 2021 Admissions Season

By Robert LeVine

Every year, things change. It’s still early – the regular decision offers won’t be known for a month or so – but there are some significant takeaways from this year’s college admissions season.

First, this was by far the most emotional season ever for students and families. After 18 months of Covid-19, quarantine, online learning and uncertainty, everyone’s nerves were frayed. Students were paralyzed in their work, parents were edgy and angry, and everyone seemed to become easily unglued. Obviously, stress does not lead to top quality work, and it showed. Although our clients generally write progressively better as the season progresses, more than ever we saw students default to tired or lazy or weak effort once or twice or thrice. After having proven they could do great work, they didn’t. In addition, the kids forgot or stopped paying attention to important advice. Despite repeated correction, we saw too many “pet peeves” in essays.

Second, most everyone delayed on their work. “Procrastination” always happens, but this year it was weeks and even months later than normal. So many students waited until the very last minute, some even after the last minute, which almost always spells disaster.

Third, with the pandemic, we have seen a marked increase in depression. Not sadness; real depression. The destruction of our social structures led to stress and anti-social behavior and escape from online learning and family interaction. We knew of students suffering from schizophrenia, hair pulling, cutting and more. Unfortunately, disorders and symptoms that might otherwise be noticed were hidden when students disengaged from normal life.

Fourth, we saw a “record” number of students overshooting in their college pursuits. While we never discourage students from trying for dream schools just because it’s hard, we do recommend that students limit their efforts to reach for the stars. This year, that just didn’t happen. Average applicants pursued the most selective schools, and great candidates pursued too many uber-selective schools. In one city, every student except one applied to Stanford – the most selective university in America – and that one student, when told that the University of Michigan might be too difficult to obtain, asked whether he should instead apply to … Stanford!

Fifth, perhaps in response to last year’s record low acceptance rates, more students applied to more colleges than they should have attempted. Everyone gets tired during admissions season, everyone gets distracted, everyone gets rushed, and that does not lead to good work. Despite our efforts to reel in overzealous college lists and focus students on doing their best work, they just kept writing and writing and applying and applying. It was ugly to watch, and we fear that the final results will look just as ugly, even for strong candidates.

Finally, one thing has become abundantly clear: the colleges, having been forced to revisit, renew and rework their admissions strategies, have re-perfected their techniques. They are professionals and experienced. Students and families are neither. Offers of admission are getting harder and harder to secure, and over the last few years, the “game” has turned even more acutely in favor of the educational institutions.

Our advice? Please listen to experienced counselors and the professionals who work for you. Please understand that what the colleges pronounce is mostly marketing for their benefit, not yours. Please do your research intelligently, digging deep, asking questions, doing whatever is necessary to comprehend the curricula, culture, and environment of schools that might become your educational bridge from youth to adulthood. Please also do not be dazzled by the shiny baubles of reputation and name brand. Invest in yourself, not in them.

Ultimately, as educational professionals, we want the best for our students. College admissions change every year, even every month, creating new challenges that are difficult and often impossible to foresee. There are humans involved on all sides of this process, and the vagaries of life can easily affect your life path and future.

One final tip: pay close attention to your AP exam scores. Now that the SAT subject tests are gone, the colleges will focus on whatever data they can review. Do not get behind in class. AP exams are longer than the subject tests used to be and cramming for them will be a dangerous choice.

Robert LeVine is the founder and CEO of University Consultants of America, an independent educational consultancy assisting students around the world with applications to colleges, universities and graduate schools. For more information, call University Consultants of America, Inc. at 1-800-465-5890 or visit www.universitycoa.com

homeeventsbiz directorysubscribecontact uscontent newseditor's notehealth
immigrationfinanceMINDBODY/NUTRITIONmoviesfashionbooks/getawaysIIFA 2014ART
astrologyyouthmotoringplaces of worshipclassifiedsarchivesBLOGFACEBOOK