The New York Times And College Applications: More On Holistic Admissions

One in Five. Too many? I guess that depends.

One in five. Too many? I guess that depends.

The New York Times refers here to an official study showing that one in five schools these days is using an unpublicized SAT cut-off point for applicants, and one in four of those schools that require the ACT does the same. Sounds bad, right? Well, I’d argue not entirely. We ought to see this as the glass being a lot more than half full.

This study's flip side shows that the overwhelming majority of schools are keeping their analysis holistic, and are willing to look at the application in full rather than in strictly numerical terms. (Remember that many of the larger schools, for whom the essay is irrelevant or nonexistent, are likely to be the ones using these cutoffs.) This also means that the schools are giving each application time, which is what we as applicants should be most grateful for. It’s the thing that takes the most effort and the most money on the part of the schools, so their doing that kind of legwork is beneficial for us.

It also means that all that time-consuming work that they’re throwing at you actually does matter! These essays are given quality reads and given their fair due in the evaluation process. So remember that even though they are not a quick-fix solution to elevating your application from dud to stud, they most certainly can be a quick-fix solution to making your application rise to the top. Make your work stand out, and as we at CEO like to put it, you will let your life speak.

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