About College Match

The secrets to finding and getting in to the right college.

College Match is the college placement firm that provides a strategic coaching approach to college admission that results in higher percentage of successful admissions, scholarships and awards for students. College Match provides private education planning services to families and students considering college and graduate programs. For more information, please go to www.collegematchus.com

Monday, July 19, 2010

Improve Your Chances For College Admission

The Main Essay (a.k.a. The Common App) is the linchpin of your College Application:

Strategizing and targeting the Main Essay and supplements: a key component of the admissions profile
Most advice on how to write it is based on common myths
A well-written Main Essay can garner merit awards for the student

The SAT Essay: Writing vs. Facts

The College Board, which administers the SAT, in their official guide for scorers explains:

"Writers may make errors in facts or information that do not affect the quality of their essays. For example, a writer may state 'The American Revolution began in 1842' or ' "Anna Karenina," a play by the French author Joseph Conrad, was a very upbeat literary work.' " (Actually, that's 1775; a novel by the Russian Leo Tolstoy; and poor Anna hurls herself under a train.) No matter. "You are scoring the writing, and not the correctness of facts."

Gearing up for Law School: A Marathon, Not A Sprint

You may be thinking about law school and how to approach the process from a planning perspective.  The following is a ‘pearl’ that we believe will save you time and, ultimately, some grief.

Relative to college and other professional school admissions processes, applying to law school seems fairly simple.  Your grades are your grades.  You prep for, then take the LSAT (and about three weeks later maybe decide to retake it).  You look at data tables to figure out what law schools are in 'play.'  Then, upon reviewing the requirements (99% of which will be near-identical across schools) you worry about getting those recommendations.  Eventually you hunker down at your computer and crank out a personal statement.  Finally, you spend a few minutes looking over the forms and, just like that, you're done.

Simple, right? Simple? Sure.  Effective?  Absolutely not.  Though natural, it's a bad idea in terms of the process and quality of your output.  Despite your natural inclination, you can and should tackle certain elements of your law school application in parallel.

At a minimum, you'll spend a month prepping for the LSAT.  Given the perception of the test's importance, many devote 100% of their early law school application time to prep.  That's silly.  The LSAT isn't about internalizing subject matter, it's about honing your testing and analytic skills.  It follows that you can't "cram" by staring at books all day.  Furthermore, even if you devote your time to practice tests, doing more than the equivalent of a full-LSAT in a day would be a masochistic and futile exercise.  Your brain can only process so many passages about competing theories of basket weaving practices of indigenous peoples.  Instead, I suggest you allocate more like 60-80% of your early time on the LSAT and devote the remainder towards easy, changes of pace—like settling logistics, prepping recommendations or brainstorming essay topics.
Choosing, engaging and equipping recommenders takes time, but not a sustained process that eats up days on end.  Rather it’s a series of emails, dropped off forms, office meetings and check-in phone calls spread across weeks, even months.  Take a break from studying to attend to some of these processes and you'll be less likely to mentally burn out while saving yourself a mad rush in the fall.

Seemingly little things like sending your college transcript to LSDAS (the service that compiles your academic and testing info and sends to law schools) take more time than you may expect.  Applicants who transferred schools or took classes at programs abroad need all of those documents sent to LSDAS.  ‘Better to check this box early then have something silly like a missing transcript for a 1 unit class hold up the submission or even the review of your application.
Due to college conditioning or sheer desperation, too many personal statements are churned out shortly before submission.  There's a better way.  I'm not saying you sit down, four months ahead of time, staring at the blinking cursor on your computer screen and add a couple sentences every day to ultimately arrive at an essay months later.  Rather, an essay - particularly one meant to reflect your personality and values - is easier to write when one has devoted significant thought to what they want to convey and how they want to express it.  If you've been at your desk diagramming dinner guest seating around an unnecessarily complex table for an hour, take a logic games breather to reflect.  Maybe go on a jog and ponder your hopes and dreams.  Perhaps flip through your resume and old papers to get a sense for the passions which have driven you thus far. Or jot down ideas on a whiteboard and iterate as additional thoughts come to mind.  All of these things will make life easier when you ultimately sit down to actually write your statement.

Whether its school, work or keeping up with the World Cup, you're available law school prep time is finite.  But that does not shackle you to a 'one thing at a time' approach.  Be better than that and your law school prospects will be better for it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rhodes Scholarship Rankings By University!

For the first time Rhodes Scholarship rankings, by college, are available. A Rhodes Scholarship, only about 32 in the US per year, provides recipients with two years of study at Oxford University. It is easily considered to be the most prestigious scholarship in the world. As The Washington Post put it, "For more than a century, Rhodes scholars have left Oxford with virtually any job available to them. For much of this time, they have overwhelmingly chosen paths in scholarship, teaching, writing, medicine, scientific research, law, the military and public service. They have reached the highest levels in virtually all fields."

Here is the listing of US colleges and universities and the number of their Rhodes winners: http://www.rhodesscholar.org/stats

As you review the data please keep in mind that the 32 awards are divided into "districts" and so there are some geographic advantages that make it a bit easier for certain institutions to compete versus those in more "crowded" places; though in the end it is up to the individual to impress the Rhodes committee.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Congratulations Urban Prep!

This is a wonderfully inspirational story; 100 % of first senior class at all male, all African-American Chicago academy is accepted to 4-year colleges and universities...read the whole story here:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Race Relations

Some interesting articles regarding race and college admissions this week...

The Boston Globe's Kara Miller discusses Asian's SAT scores, California campuses, and compares them to Jews via Daniel Golden. Most interestingly, at UCLA some Asian-American students feel the large Asian population on campus is taking away from their college experience and not adequately preparing them for the real world.

Check out the full article here: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/02/08/do_colleges_redline_asian_americans/

AP's Kathy Matheson points out how more college websites are being translated to Spanish and some schools are holding admission sessions in Spanish.

Check out the full article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/07/AR2010020701764.html

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ivy vs. Ivy

There have been several articles lately concerning the rising number of applications to Ivies such as Harvard and Princeton. Janet Frankston Lorin's Bloomberg article says, "More students are seeking admission to top-ranked universities because they think a degree from these schools can help them land a job after graduation, particularly during a time of economic uncertainty." While this seems like a smart and obviously good choice, there are other options out there.

New Ivies

The rising tide in terms of qualified applicants to Ivy and other elite schools has created a bumber crop of “Sub-Ivy” category colleges. These new elite include some of the nation’s best liberal arts colleges and universities with that have experienced skyrocketing application rates including, on the West Coast, The Claremont Colleges (Pomona, Claremont, Scripps and Pitzer colleges) and Occidental, Reed and Whitman colleges, In the South ,Vanderbilt University, Univeristy of Richmond and Washington and Lee University, and Davidson College; In the Northeast these new ivies include: Sarah Lawrance, Hamilton College and Colgate University and in the Mid-West Carleton, Colorado, Macalester, and Washington University have all benefitted greatly from this increased competition to become a new defacto group of Sub-Ivies.

The rise of West Coast colleges can now be measured in terms of both the quality and quantity of applicants. West Coast universities and liberal arts colleges now feature more prominently in the admission picture and often overlap increasingly with Ivy League and Little Ivy (Amherst, Wesleyan and Williams) applications. “West Coast Ivies” include: Caltech, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Occidental, Pomona, Reed, Scripps, Stanford, USC, and Whitman.

Which College Grads Earn the Most?

Most data show that attending certain elite liberal arts colleges may give applicants to graduate school better preparation thus resulting in better access to premium jobs like consulting and investment banking, etc. But now a very interesting Business Week article tells us just how much these graduates may expert to earn versus those from top research universities. For example, among the Ivies, the leading earner is Dartmouth College-- not Cornell or Harvard as we might expect. "Interestingly, median starting salaries for alumni of MIT, California Institute of Technology, and Harvey Mudd College, which have strong engineering programs, are the highest in the country ($75,500, $72,200, and $71,800). But the salaries do not get as high for midcareer professionals from those schools as they do for graduates of the elite liberal arts schools."

It may surprise parents to learn that Bucknell University’s mid-career grads often earn more than MIT’s or that Dartmouth grads earn, on average, more at mid-career than any other school in the country. According to a recent survey published in Business Week, where you go to school matters because “a strong network of well-positioned alumni can lay the foundation for a high-paying job”. This is a network you buy with your tuition dollars. (Source: Which College Grads Earn the Most, Newsweek, 2008)