Author: Applying for College Is a Family Affair
The Sandpaper (New Jersey)
August 25, 2010

While many college students are already back on campus, high school seniors are in the midst of planning on how to further their education. They can learn about the process on Thursday, Aug. 26, at 10 a.m., when Steven Roy Goodman speaks on "How the Top 100 Universities Select Their Students" at the Long Beach Island Branch of the Ocean County Library in Surf City.

A Washington, D.C.-based educational consultant and admissions strategist, Goodman will discuss why some students get into their first-choice colleges and what puts others on waiting lists. He'll also offer tips on how students can make themselves more attractive to various universities and what the top-tier schools are looking for in their freshman classes.

"Twenty-five years ago, approximately 50 percent of high school graduates went on to college," said Goodman, who is a co-author of College Admissions Together: It Takes a Family. "Now it is at 65 percent, and the competition for the limited spaces at America's top colleges has never been keener."

He said a college admissions committee spends an average of seven minutes with each application.

"Your child's entire high school record will be scrutinized, including his or her course selection, grades, standardized test scores and teacher recommendations," he said. "Extracurricular activities, community involvement, non-academic interests and special ideas and talents can catch the attention of those screening committees if presented in the right way."

He said some parents might think their child will have an easy time getting admitted because the student made top honors.

"There are more than 25,000 high schools in the United States," he said. "Each one has math or computer superstars. In applying to an elite school, your child is now competing in an applicant pool of equally gifted children."

Goodman stresses that parents need to be involved in the college application process as much as the student.

"This may be the first time your child is going to be away from home for an extended period, so families need to come together," he said. "A student may want to go to a college because mom or dad did. Maybe some kids only want to go to Harvard or Yale. Maybe a student wants to go to a particular college, but mom and dad want him or her to go somewhere else. These issues can create pressure and need to be discussed. Everyone needs to be on the same page at this very critical juncture."

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