Guide to Getting In: Winning the College Admissions Game Without Losing Your Mind

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Getting into a college can be the most stressful ordeal a student can face, with endless planning, test-taking, competition, the torturous wait for an answer. . . .

Now six undergraduates at Harvard reveal the secrets they learned while applying to the country’s top colleges. With wit and common sense, they share tips you won’t get from college counselors—because these students have actually faced the process themselves . . . and beaten it!


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The Guide to Getting In: Winning the College Admissions Game Without Losing Your Mind

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Getting into a college can be the most stressful ordeal a student can face, with endless planning, test-taking, competition, the torturous wait for an answer. . . .

Now six undergraduates at Harvard reveal the secrets they learned while applying to the country’s top colleges. With wit and common sense, they share tips you won’t get from college counselors—because these students have actually faced the process themselves . . . and beaten it!

Learn how to:

- Clean up your image in high school and capitalize on your strengths

- Choose the right college using factors that really matter

- Make your personal essay stand outæwith examples of essays that worked and why.

- Finance your education, no matter what your means

Also including:

- Surprising, fun facts, and a useful glossary of common admissions terms

- Quotes from current students on their experiences and regrets

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With its lighthearted and engaging tone, The Guide to Getting In tries to make its readers comfortable while offering helpful and sound advice.... A great companion to students who are starting the application process from square one." —Dan Drummond, former Harvard Senior Admissions Officer and Director of College Guidance, University School of Milwaukee
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312300449
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,452,339
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Harvard Student Agencies, Inc. was founded in 1957 on the ideal of financing a Harvard education through student employment. Today, HSA is the world’s largest student-run corporation and also produces the bestselling travel series Let’s Go. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
A Note to Our Readers xiii
1. High School: An Era of Hall Passes, P.E., and Cafeteria Romance 1
Classes: Easy As or Impressive Honors? 2
Academic Attitude 5
Finding a Purpose 8
A Word on Shyness 10
Extracurriculars 11
Summers: Go Join the Circus 16
Workin' It 18
Read 20
Don't Sell Yourself Short 22
College Counselors 23
Independent Counselors 24
Listen to Your Elders 26
How It All Adds Up 27
2. Tiny Bubbles: The World of Standardized Testing 31
What Are Standardized Tests? 32
The SAT: The Biggie 32
The PSAT/NMSQT: The Biggie Lite 35
The ACT: The Biggie's Cousin from the Midwest 37
The PLAN: The Biggie's Cousin from the Midwest Lite 39
The SAT II: The Half-Brother of the Biggie 40
The AP Exams: The Big Brother of the Half-Brother of the Biggie 42
The TOEFL: The Foreign Exchange Student Living with the Biggie 43
Where/When/How Do I Take All These Tests? 44
Preparing for Standardized Tests 49
Approaching the Tests 49
Taking the Tests 53
3. First, They Hunt You, and Then, You Hunt Them...: Starting Out in the College Search Game 57
Organize Thyself 59
Whaddaya Want? 64
OK, Now Decide! 74
A Note for Parents 76
4. A Whole Other Ballgame: The College Search as an Athletic Recruit 81
To Be or Not To Be a Recruit 82
I Wanna Be a Recruit but I'm Not 84
Oh, You're So Recruit Material 85
The NCAA and Eligibility 86
All Those Rules 87
All Those Divisions 88
Non-Monetary Perks 89
Pros and Cons of Athletic Scholarships 91
Athletics or Academics? 93
First Contact: The Coach Quandary 94
The Recruiting Trip 96
The Money 98
5. The Application 101
Personal Data 101
Educational Data 103
Test Information 104
Family 105
Academic Honors 106
Extracurricular, Personal, and Volunteer Activities 108
Work Experience 111
Letters of Recommendation 113
Choosing an Academic Recommender 113
Supplemental Recommendations 115
Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another? 117
Time Frame 119
Personal Statement 120
6. 10,000 Words on Your 500: Our Chapter on the Essay 121
The Essay: Why They Like It and Why You Should, Too 122
Choose Your Own Adventure: Picking a Topic 126
General Essay Writing Advice 134
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words 135
Danger! 137
Words, Words, Words: On Diction and Syntax 139
Sample Essay #1 143
Critique of Essay #1 145
Sample Essay #2 153
Critique of Essay #2 155
Sample Essay #3 157
Critique of Essay #3 160
Reviseing and Pruefreeding You're Essay 164
7. Face-Off: The Interview 171
Why Interview? 173
Who Should Definitely Interview 173
Who Should Think Twice 175
On- vs. Off-Campus Interview 175
Who Interviews? 176
The Attitude They're Looking For 180
Preparation 182
Some Sample Questions 186
The Rules 186
The Perfect Thank You 188
8. Financing College 191
Where Does the Financial Aid Package Come From? 191
Visiting the Office Itself 194
The Wide and Wonderful World of Forms! 195
Getting Started 197
Words to the Wise 198
CSS Profile 199
Putting Your Poorest Foot Forward 199
Why Is Stafford Lending Me Money When I'm Going to Harvard? 202
Types of Aid 203
The Hunt 212
Applying 215
So, How Big Is YOUR Package? 217
What's That Smell? 219
Pain in the Assets--Saving for College 221
College Choice 222
Community College vs. Four-Year 223
9. Hopping Ponds: Applying as a Transfer Student 225
Preparing to Transfer 225
Selling Yourself...the Legal Way! 229
The Application 230
Your Odds 233
Athletic Transfers 233
Getting In and Going 235
10. International Applicants 237
Into the Woods (a.k.a., the Admissions Office) 237
Study Abroad vs. Four Years Abroad 238
Differences Between International and U.S. Universities 240
Freely Footing the Bill 241
State and Private 242
Financial Aid, Please 245
Checklist for Choosing a School 247
The Eight Golden Rules of International Applications 249
Spinning Yourself 251
A Note to Canadians 252
Testing Requirements 252
Post-Acceptance Paperwork 255
Key Points Before You Go 256
Culture Shock 257
Those Loose Learners 257
All-American Attitude 258
Student Life 259
Clothes 259
Vacations 260
11. Getting the News: The Envelope Approacheth 261
"Thank You For Playing--Please Try Again" 261
An Extremely Short Glossary of Terms for Rejection 264
Calls from the Governor--Getting Off the Waitlist 265
The Z-List 266
"Do You Want Fries With That?" 267
For the Fat Envelopes: Choosing from Many Options 269
The Reply Card 270
Taking Time Off 271
12. The Post-Acceptance Party: Some Good Advice Before You Go 273
The Housing Form Crapshoot 275
Things You Didn't Know About Yourself: Form-Filler Tips 278
Roommate Ruminations 280
Dorming Decisions 282
The Medical Exemption 284
The Rooming Info Is Assigned 285
Course Confusion 287
The Ws of Course Selection 289
The Buying Bonanza 292
The Great Computer Decision 296
Bikes and Cars 299
The Budget 300
Glossary 301
About the Authors 315
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2014


    Name: WOW <p>
    Gender: &female (female for the noobs) <p>
    Age: 14 moons <p>
    Apperance: She is a jet black cat with silver streaks, giving her a wind blown apperance, she has gold-amber eyes. <p>
    Pesonality: ))Will make it up as I go(( <p>
    History: My father was from this clan, I don't know his name because my mother never told me, but my mother was from jayclan, I grew up there until my mother told me... then I wanderd through the clans for a long time before I got it in my head to come here. <p>
    Other: ask

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014


    Lifts it up for some acses

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