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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Sawyer

Tips on Applying to U.S. Colleges and Universities

Dear Friends of Bennett,

With the college common application on-line since August and the November 1 early decision deadline already looming, it’s already “college” season in the U.S., and many 12th graders are fully immersed in the process and feeling that it will never end.

At our last Bennett training session, one of our college experts, Grant Calder, gave us our bi-annual college update and much to think about; with many thanks to Grant, I share here a couple of his general comments that I found particularly interesting. These pertain to U.S. students applying to U.S. colleges and universities:

  • Colleges are looking to find a balance in their male/female populations, and if you’re a high-performing girl, you have fiercer competition than your male counterparts.   High-performing girls from good schools and school districts, who can check every box on the application (sports, community service, music lessons and outstanding leadership experience) are plentiful in the applicant pool and compete against their equally high-performing sisters. High performing boys who are equally as organized are a significantly more rare species and are therefore more in demand.

  • Urban universities are very popular these days and get a fairly balanced male-female pool of applicants. The vast majority of smaller liberal arts colleges receives many more apps from girls than from boys.

  • Boys’ advantage generally increases, therefore, as the size of the institution decreases. So, if you’re a boy and not sure whether you want to apply early to NYU or that lovely little school with the cows mooing outside the dorms, you might have a better chance at the latter.

  • A recommendation: if you’re applying to a college where test scores are optional, you should consider them optional and not submit them unless they improve your overall profile. Don’t feel that by not submitting your scores, you’re implying that you’re guilty of having bad ones; nope. Unless they add shine to your application, keep them to yourself and don’t give the admissions committee a reason to put your application to the side. If you’re qualified to be admitted, the task of the admissions committee will be, partly, to find a reason to eliminate you from the accepting pool; don’t give them one.

Our best wishes go out to all those youngsters out there who are working so hard to jump this next hurdle and cross a seeming finish line…






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