13 July 2011

College Myths: Are they Real or Fake?

The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts from across the US answering questions submitted by students and parents about college admissions and succeeding after high school.

“In your experience, what are three of the most accepted or exaggerated myths in the college admissions process?”—Donald J., Park City, UT

A: Community college is a great option for many high-schooler graduates

Myth: Community college is a consolation prize for students who aren’t academically ready for a four-year college. Truth: Community colleges can help students learn important academic and organizational skills that will prepare them to succeed in upper division courses at four-year colleges. Myth: Community colleges deprive students of the rich social experiences that a four-year college can provide. Truth: Community College students can take advantage of theater, athletics, clubs or student government, in many cases with no prior experience. Myth: Community Colleges are a dead-end. Truth: The best way to ensure a successful transfer to a four-year college is to enter community college with clearly defined goals and a well-crafted transfer plan.

  • Joanne Levy-Prewitt— Creator & Founder - CollegeMapp

A: Admissions myths debunked

Myths: (1) a Pulitzer Prize essay, (2) killer teacher recommendations, and (3) superhero extracurricular activities. This myth distracts families from the essential ingredient in a winning college candidacy: academics. 87 percent of colleges attribute “considerable importance” to the impact of “college prep grades” on the admission decision, 71 percent to “strength of curriculum”, and 58 percent to “admissions test scores”. By contrast, only 26 percent of institutions attribute “considerable importance” to essays, 17 percent to teacher recommendations, and a measly 9 percent to extracurricular activities. (NACAC, 2010) Do your best on these three elements of the application, but throughout high school, focus on academic performance.

  • Kris Hintz—Founder - Position U 4 College LLC

A: No need for essays, standardized tests, or stress

While the most competitive colleges have extremely rigorous admission standards that include earning high grades, completing several essays, taking a number of challenging standardized tests, and pursuing a variety of extracurricular activities, the vast majority of America’s four-year colleges have far more modest admissions requirements. In fact, despite what you may have heard, many colleges require no admission essays, and a growing number of colleges are easing their admission requirements, as evidenced by the number of schools becoming ACT- and SAT-optional. If you want to attend a four-year college, stay calm and you will find one that will admit you.

  • Craig Meister– President - Tactical College Consulting

Don’t miss answers by the Director of Admissions at University of Washington, and more – at www.unigo.com/expertnetwork.  To send your question to our experts, visit www.unigo.com/expertquestions  

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