College Admissions Stunts and Supplements
There are always stories of great admissions supplements and stunts. Do you advise a marginal student who is making a reach to attend your college to send supplemental material or try other attention-grabbing stunts?
The critical issue here is one of fit. If an applicant has the test scores, the rigor of courseload, and the grades to get accepted, he/she does not need to do any stunts. And if you don’t have the “numbers,” no amount of extras is going to get you accepted. There are ways, however, to try and overcome an area where you may be weak.
Lisa Knodle-Bragiel, Linfield College
I don’t advise, nor do I want my staff to advise, marginal students to serenade us into an “admit” decision. Nor do we tell students “This is a great place for you. I look forward to seeing your application” when they probably won’t be admitted. That’s not to say I don’t believe in “great kids” but I want to see great kids how they really are. We’re honest with students up front. At the first notion of “marginal” we tell them that Linfield is a reach and here’s why. Then we start asking students “Why did you do so poorly, what did you learn from your failure, what did you do to bounce back, and what will you personally commit to in the future to help you succeed academically?” Do we take chances on some students? Sure we do. A lot of people wouldn’t be where they are today if someone didn’t take a chance. For Linfield, though, it’s really the students’ job to prove to us they’re worth the risk. Then, if we take the chance and admit them, we make sure we establish positive advising and support programs to assist them in their success. In four years, Linfield is a multi-thousand dollar investment. I want students to graduate not saying “IT was worth the investment” but saying “I was worth the investment.” It’s our commitment to admit students we think will succeed, not just to admit students.
Marc Camille, Xavier University
I don’t believe we engage in this practice. We do, for instance, ask wait listed or deferred students to send us any additional material (such as recent grades or new test scores). But I’d argue these are legitimate requests that can ultimately help the student gain admission.
Chris Lucier, University of Michigan
Absolutely not. They don’t work at the University of Michigan.
John Blackburn, University of Virginia
Stunts don’t help if the academic record is not competitive.
Allen London, Mercer University
No. We advise marginal students to attend our summer program. (See answer for Question 3.)
Back to our main page: Answers to Common College Admissions Questions.
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