Making The Most Of College

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Why Your Application Needs To Stand Out

Each year the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) puts out a report called, The State Of College Admission. The report is free for NACAC members while non-members can purchase a copy for $25. The report talks about trends in college admission as reported by college admission officers and high school counselors from around the country. One of the statistics from this year’s report that I wanted to share with you today was the average number of applications that each admission counselor reads.

According to the report, the average college admission counselor in 2005 read 359 applications. By 2011 that number had nearly doubled to 662.

Think about that for a second. You are one of nearly several hundred applications that will cross an admission counselor’s desk in a very short period of time. Having reviewed thousands of applications in my old admission days, I can tell you that admission counselors do their best to give each application the time and attention it deserves. But when your application underwhelms or does not tell your story in full color, well, that review and the decision to say “no” can be painfully quick. Admission counselors want to connect with you as an applicant. They want to get excited about you. And they want to say “yes.” But sometimes it becomes very hard for them to do just that simply because you didn’t make the most of your application.

So, instead of putting off your college search to the last minute, start researching schools now and then visit some college campuses this spring. Think about what you might want to say in your personal statement and then record your ideas for when you get down to the writing process over the summer. Think about who you would want a recommendation from and plan on talking to them before the end of the school year. Create an account on the Common App and go through each section to familiarize yourself with how it works and what information is required. This will be great practice for when the new one launches on August 1st. Start a list of your activities, honors and accomplishments – great or small, so that you don’t forget anything when it comes time to completing applications in the fall.

At the end of the day, ask yourself what you want an admission counselor to know about you and why it should matter to them. Then, as you go through the next several months, spend time putting together an application and supporting materials that ensure your application will be one that motivates an admission counselor to say, “YES!”

Have something to say? Use the comment box below or email me at If you think this makes a lot of sense, consider sharing it with someone you know.

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College Admissions Is Not A Popularity Contest

Definition of collegeLast week Allen Grove, the college admissions writer for, listed the ten colleges whose profiles received the most reader interest during 2012. I happen to really like what Allen does with his college admissions writing. I feel a lot of it is very informative and easy to digest, but I bring this piece to your attention for the simple fact that college admissions is not a popularity contest.

Here’s the list of the top ten colleges which received the most reader interest:

  1. Harvard University
  2. UCLA
  3. UC Berkeley
  4. Cornell University
  5. UNC Chapel Hill
  6. University of Michigan
  7. New York University
  8. Stanford University
  9. Brown University
  10. Columbia University

It’s obvious these are some of the most elite schools in the country and there’s no wonder they are in the top ten. However, what you also need to recognize is that the average admission rate for these schools is 20% with Harvard being the most selective of the group at 6% and Michigan being the least selective at 41%.

Think about that. Columbia, Harvard Brown, and Stanford all reject 90% or more of their applicants. UC Berkeley and Cornell reject 80% or more. UCLA, rejects 75% while UNC Chapel Hill and New York University come in at 70%. Not only are these schools the most popular (at least in this context) but they are also the most exclusive.

While some people would have you believe that you need to attend one of these schools to have a great college experience, you can have a great experience at just about any college. You just need to be willing to make the most of the opportunities available to you.

This is true wherever you go.

Admission to a school is not the prize. If you get in and then spend four years doing nothing but going to class, it will have been for nothing. You need to invest yourself in the classroom. Network with faculty and other students. Get involved in clubs, organizations and other extracurricular activities that have meaning for you. Gain professional experience by interning or working on a co-op. It’s about creating the life you want to have and surrounding yourself with people and experiences that make you better.

This can happen at one of these schools, but it can also happen at a liberal arts college, a state university or even your local community college. Wherever it happens, it happens because of you, not because of the name of the school.

If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact me today for a free 60-minute consultation.

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.

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Students, What Are Your VIPS?

I’ve been feeling under the weather for the last couple days and today decided it made more sense to share a blog I wrote for Christine VanDeVelde and Robin Mamlet, co-authors of the book, College Admission rather than just put something out there that wasn’t my best effort. Whether you are a regular reader or are just stopping by for the first time, I appreciate the fact that you’re here. And I want to make sure I am always offering you something of value.

When I work with students, I try to get them to tap into their VIPS – values, interests, personality-style and skills. Why? Because when you know who you are and what you’re good at, your chances of finding success in your life increase significantly. And by success I’m not just talking about making a lot of money. Instead, I want my students to create lives for themselves where they find success in their work, their relationships and in life, in general.

Here’s the blog about VIPS. If you have any thoughts on it, please leave a comment below. If you think it makes a lot of sense, consider sharing it with someone you know.


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