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The Admissions Process: Advice from the Field

Posted by on Thursday, September 29, 2011 in Application Process.

Vanderbilt admissions counselors are out on the road visiting high schools, attending college fairs and meeting with students, parents, and high school counselors.

As a high school senior, you are working hard to narrow down your college list and prepare your college applications.

If you want information about the Vanderbilt admissions process, visit our Admissions Quick Guide. On a more personal note, nine admissions officers wrote in from the field to give their one piece of advice for the admissions process. I hope you enjoy!

From Sarah Quin, counselor for Delaware, Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia and West Virginia:
Prepare a diverse list of schools – all top 20 schools is not a diverse list. Be realistic and be informed.

From Tricia Blumenthal, Associate Director and counselor for the North Shore of Chicago:
Realize that your friends, parents, counselors, dog, cat, or letter carrier will each have a very different opinion about your college essay—it’s your essay and should reflect your personality, interests, and passions — take the opinions of others into consideration only as food for thought, not as direct advice.

From Ben Gatlin, counselor for South Florida, the Chattanooga, TN area, and home school students:
You only go through the college application process once so go all out! Have fun presenting yourself through your application and be proud of what you have accomplished.

From Mary Comfort Stevens, Senior Assistant Director and counselor for Davidson & Williamson Counties, TN, and the continent of Africa:
VISIT, VISIT, VISIT!  You wouldn’t marry without dating first; you wouldn’t buy a house without wandering around inside it or a car without test driving it. I bet you wouldn’t even buy SHOES without trying them on. This is your life! Don’t take someone else’s word for how well it will fit you.

From Mary Beth Hettinger, Assistant Director and counselor for Connecticut and the Greater Boston Area:
I would recommend utilizing your resources- high school counselor, college websites, and college admissions counselors to have as much information as possible about each school you are considering as well as the admissions process.

From Amy Smith, Senior Associate Director and counselor for Union County, NJ:
This too shall pass. Enjoy your senior year of high school, enjoy being with your parents even if they annoy you. Enjoy your little siblings if you have them because they won’t be around next year…enjoy it all because it never happens again just like this.

From Jan Deike, regional counselor for Manhattan, Long Island, and Upstate New York:
Put everything you can think of into your extracurricular list. It helps complete the picture.

From Jason McGrath, Associate Director and counselor for Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, MD:
Never allow yourself to feel “judged” or “valued” on the basis of which schools admit you and which schools do not. In a highly selective admissions process, amazing students may get turned away from schools simply due to the needs of the institution – even though it’s clear they are capable of doing great things in college!

From Dustin Lynn, coordinator of the Commodore Recruitment Program and counselor for San Antonio, TX:
Think outside the box when it comes to your essay. Remember: We read lots of essays about students who have participated in similar activities and have similar backgrounds. Share with the admissions office what you think truly is unique or interesting about yourself – or present these activities and experiences in a novel way related to your personality.

Enjoy your senior year of high school! Keep an eye out for upcoming blog postings about the admissions process, including important dates and deadlines.

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  • Kylie Stanley

    September 29th, 2011

    Sage advice!