Thursday, November 22, 2012

College rankings worth considering

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dear Mr. Bradshaw — I am applying to 10 or more colleges, and I came across the latest college rankings published by U.S. News & World Report.

How important are these rankings in getting a job after graduation, and how should I evaluate them? — Applicant

College rankings worth considering

Dear Applicant —

College rankings can be important for several reasons.

The most obvious is, they indicate the quality of the faculty and student body. In a nutshell, the best colleges draw the best students and professors.

Competition among schools is fierce, and the rankings serve as a measure of their success.

For example, the 2012 U.S. News & World Report rankings show the following admission selectivity rates that can used by employers as a gauge in recruiting employees.

  • Indiana University is ranked 82nd with a 72 percent admissions rate.
  • Purdue is ranked 65th with a 68 percent admissions rate.
  • Notre Dame is ranked 17th with a 24 percent admission rate.
  • Harvard and Princeton are tied and rank first with a 6 percent and 8.5 percent admissions rate, respectively.

Translated into practical terms, if you are applying for a summer internship, the selectivity of your college is a huge advantage. Many companies use these rankings to decide where to recruit and know that top colleges already have done much of the work for them by vetting students through the competitive application process.

In fact, many students are offered full-time employment after completing summer internships.

Take, for example, a student who is interested a career in finance. Despite the recent calamity in the economy, Wall Street still attracts the cream of the crop of economics majors.

To get an internship at one of the top firms is not easy.

The profile of the successful candidate is heavily skewed toward students at schools that score well in the rankings.

Company officials know that he or she must be an outstanding person to be admitted to a top college. The student will have had high scores on entrance examinations and an exemplary extracurricular activity record.

The years of hard work and preparation that precede admission to a top college are considered when employers are considering new hires.

After all, these companies are putting their futures in the hands of these young people, and they will be competing for promotions and greater responsibility throughout their careers.

To be sure, magazine rankings are not perfect predictors of future employment success.

You need to make sure that your college choice is a “good fit” for your career aspirations, and that you dedicate yourself to making the most of your undergraduate experience.There are close to 3,000 colleges to choose from nationwide and admission to these colleges is complicated.

Bradshaw college consulting takes the pressure off ensuring that your college search experience is one to look forward to rather than dread.

Work with a college consultant that can assist guide you through the proper way to write your essay, conduct your interview, test, and apply for financial aid.

Get help choosing the right college or getting into the college you desire to attend. Call: Toll Free: 866-687-8129

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Competition grows for elite admissions

Dear Mr. Bradshaw — My husband and I have three children in grades 9 through 12 and know parents who have hired college consultants to work with their children. Is this a growing trend? I never heard of this when I was seeking college admission. When did this practice begin? — Parent

Dear Parent — There is no “official” history linked to college consultants, but I have a theory based on 20 years of experience.

The main reason parents hire college consultants is, the competition for admission gets tougher each year. The difference between when you were preparing for college and today is, there are more international students and children of immigrants competing for a seat at the table.

Many of these students come from countries where hiring consultants to prepare for college has been practiced for years. Many of the students are from Asia, where families spend thousands of dollars on consultants to prepare their children for college entrance exams

In Japan, they are called “cram schools.” China, Korea and India also are major users of tutors. The pressure is on these students to score well on exams to have a chance to attend a top college and, eventually, a successful career.
Many American parents are familiar with the Japanese term “Salaryman.” These employees work long hours and dedicate their lives to their companies. This dedication develops, in part, because as young students, they attended “cram schools” after their regular classes and full time on weekends. Many students study up to 90 hours a week, with the goal being high scores on admissions tests.

A student from Japan who attends a top American prep school had an interesting perspective on the difference between the undergraduate experiences of students in America and those in Japan who attend well-respected colleges.

He said: “In America, one’s college years are seen as a time to expand your knowledge and prepare for the professional world. In Japan, the prestige and history of a college frequently determines a person’s job placement.
“Once a student has been accepted by a top Japanese university, they are relieved from the stress of attending ‘cram schools’ and decide to party during the entirety of their undergraduate years. They know that the reputation of their school will play a decisive role in their future job placement, and they lose the incentive to perform well and reach their full potential.”

Americans, although many may not know it, are experiencing a true revolution in the way students prepare for college. It starts in preschool and moves on to private coaching and college consultants who prepare students for the SAT and tutor them in writing and leadership skills.

I often am asked if college admissions officers can tell when a student has been coached. The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers says no.

At top schools, it is expected that students use consultants in test preparation and to help with their essays. One spokesman for a major university said because of the shortage of economic resources in high schools, there is a need for consultants to help students navigate the increasingly difficult admissions process.