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Questions from readers (updated on Dec. 18 at 4:50 p.m.):
With respect to programs of study, we are less concerned with particular course designations and more concerned simply to see that candidates have embraced and performed well in whatever their schools offer as a most challenging program. At the same time, we are not particularly drawn to one-dimensional students who have made their sole or primary objective in life amassing the largest number of honors or AP courses conceivable, accompanied by multiple efforts to achieve the world’s highest test scores.
The length of a reference isn’t our measure of its worth.
Mr. Brenzel of Yale: We neither privilege nor ignore community service. The thing we are looking for outside the classroom is not a series of check boxes on a resume; we’re looking instead for a high level of engagement or leadership in whatever it is that the student cares about most. For some students, community service is at the forefront of their extracurriculars, in which case we pay a lot of attention to what they have accomplished in that area. For other students, some other passion or interest holds primary sway, and we evaluate the engagement in that area. We know that very few students can fully engage more than one or two primary activities at a high level. Though it is fine for a student to have varied interests, a significant number of students make the common mistake of spreading themselves too thinly in a resume-building exercise.
How To Write A College Essay | MIT Admissions
And, when a student is denied admission to a college, there is often the presumption that they were not qualified. At highly selective colleges, the reality is that many (perhaps most?) of the denied applicants meet the academic standards for admission, but were not offered admission simply because there was not sufficient capacity to accommodate all academically qualified candidates.
College Admissions: The Essay Doesn't Matter as Much …
Given that colleges need to admit a certain balance of athletes, legacies, artists, musicians and development-office selections, is it reasonable for people to expect the process to be fair?