P.B. of Greenvale, NY writes:
I know that there are many
variables in college admission decisions, including grades, test scores,
extracurriculars, and, of course, the personal statement. That said,
are there any websites where students/parents can plug in the "cut and
dry" and, while far from absolute certainty, at least get an idea
whether they are in the ballpark for admission at a particular college?The College Whisperer™ responds:
you so aptly acknowledge, with so many factors to be weighed, both the
objective and the subjective, it is an arduous task for even the most
seasoned college admissions professional to make the difficult decision
of who gets in and who must go somewhere else. Not only do test scores,
GPA, the rigor of the student's course load, the strength of after
school activities and community service, and those all-important
personal statements and supplemental essays go into the mix, but the
likes of demographics, special skills or talents, and, yes, ethnic
background and socio-economic status are sometimes thrown in -- for
better or for worse -- as a veritable monkey-wrench into the gears of
the admission process.
To reduce the various factors and myriad
criterion that colleges consider in making admission decisions to an
online calculator, of sorts, would be an injustice to both student and
admissions personnel. There simply are, as you correctly note, no absolutes!
With this in
mind, and since you ask, there are several online resources which have
proven to be somewhat reliable indicators of admission success, based,
of course, on objective data (SAT/ACT scores, GPA, etc.) input by the
student. Some, more than others, permit students to tweak the data so as
to indicate the level of coursework (i.e., AP, Honors) as well as
participation in activities outside of the classroom.CampusExplorer.com
for instance, professing to be your guide to finding your "dream
college," has a portal for setting up a detailed profile, from which
students can "calculate" their odds of getting in to, literally,
hundreds of schools.Simply plug in your info, hit "enter," and voila,
colleges present on the screen as "Safety," "Target," and "Reach." If
only Vegas could give you such odds!
are three among many with online predictors and prognostications. Carnac the Magnificent
had nothing on these websites!
forewarned that (a) there are no guarantees. The online calculators
are, at best, guesstimates. Past admission performance is no guarantee
of future admission results. And (b), you will likely be deluged with
tons of e-mail (most sites require you to register, creating a login and
providing an e-mail address), from colleges you've never heard of
offering you application waivers and Dean's scholarships (hey, you never
know), to lenders looking for students to take out private loans at
hefty interest rates. [Keep that finger at the ready over the "delete"
Try one or all of the online calculators. If nothing more, they are fun diversions.
Also check out CollegeConfidential.com
too, require registration), which is more of an online forum than a
straight forward prediction tool. Here you'll find articles and
discussions, including threads posted by students, parents, and college
officials (or so they say), offering insight about the colleges
themselves as well as your "chances" of being accepted.
course, one of the best resources in the "What are my chances..."
category is the college's own website. While many are intentionally
vague as to the weight and breadth of admissions criteria, they will
give you a pretty good idea of what they're looking for, and may even
provide ranges of scores and grades, often as "averages" or "medians,"
for good measure.
Again, as the calculators will show, along the
matrix there are those with perfect GPAs and standardized test scores
who do not make the cut, while others, seemingly well below par, somehow
manage to get in. [Being a female Pacific Islander whose single parent
served in the military, lost three fingers on the dominant hand, and can
whistle Dixie while doing the Charleston two-step, couldn't hurt. ;-)]
are just that. Chances. Keep in mind that, grades and test scores
aside, you can significantly improve your odds of acceptance at the
college of choice by demonstrating your abilities in other areas.
Superior community service, a talent in music, art, or a specified field
valued by a school, a "knock-em-out-of-the-box" essay, and a complete,
accurate and timely application can work wonders, if not miracles.
too, one should take advantage of the knowledge and expertise of both
guidance counselor and independent college counselor
. They can not only
give you a pretty good idea as to your "chances," more often than not,
they can also help you beat the odds!
Plan. Prepare. Prevail!
The views and opinions expressed
in this blog are solely those of The College
Who knows what peril lurks in the
college application and admissions process? The College
™ knows. . .
* * *
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