Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Peter van Buskirk Recap...if you missed

130+ from Casady community showed up - students and parents. From the feedback I received - all were educated and energized by Peter's seminar on what they learned about the college admission process.

Here is main message I took:

A student-centered approach to the college search as opposed to a destination-centered approach serves the student best.

Our overarching goal overlaps with this approach: we want to provide each student withe excellent college options and discern the best college fit.

Other content highlights from Peter's seminar:

Pyramid of Selectivity

All 3,000 colleges and universities in U.S. fall somewhere inside the pyramid. 15% of colleges have either a 1/4 (e.g. USC) or 1/8 (e.g. Harvard) admit-to-deny ratio. 85% of colleges, however, have a 1/2 or 3/4 admit-deny ratio. So then the higher a student aspires on the pyramid, the higher the unpredictability of acceptance. The key then is to build a final college list that reflects the college reality. The majority of schools then a student should apply to will fall into that 1/2 and 3/4 range. What all the schools though should have in common is the right feel and right fit for the student. In other words, apply only to schools where you will not just get in, but thrive, and graduate.

The Agenda versus The Hidden Agenda

Peter talked about the college agenda and hidden agenda. The former represents the faculty's "core values": they want bright, motivated, high achieving, diverse, and giver-not-taker students. The latter represents the administration's "core v's": $$$ (fully pay represents "free student"), ? (yield factor: if student is accepted will he or she enroll?), and SAT (test scores matter for college status).

The second half of the seminar moved into mock admission. Each parent and student was assigned an applicant. They were asked to review the application for "hotspots" (spots on application that are important: geographic location, plan of study, parent's pedigree, student passion, etc.) and "hooks" (a hook is something that will give applicant advantage in process because the applicant has something college wants). We then debated the candidates in terms of strengths and weaknesses, and the "hotspots" and "hooks". And then we voted. And we learned that admission decision at the "top of the pyramid" is not so black-and-white.

Here is breakdown of each candidate as discussed.

Applicant #1: Austin

Applicant #2: Danielle

Applicant #3: Josh

Applicant #4: Hobie

So who did you admit?

To purchase Peter's best-selling book, The College Admission Game, click here.