Making It into a Top College, 2nd Edition: 10 Steps to Gaining Admission to Selective Colleges and Universities

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Let America's premier college consultants take the mystery out of admissions.

As seen on PBS, this proven, ten-step program offers a comprehensive inside view of the state of college admissions today. Educational consultants Howard and Matthew Greene have mastered the science and art of college admissions, helping tens of thousands of students get into their schools of choice. This highly effective program is now available to all students who want to attend an outstanding ...

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Making It into a Top College: 10 Steps to Gaining Admission to Selective Colleges and Universities

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Let America's premier college consultants take the mystery out of admissions.

As seen on PBS, this proven, ten-step program offers a comprehensive inside view of the state of college admissions today. Educational consultants Howard and Matthew Greene have mastered the science and art of college admissions, helping tens of thousands of students get into their schools of choice. This highly effective program is now available to all students who want to attend an outstanding college or university. The Greenes' cutting-edge approach will teach you to:

  • Think like an admissions officer
  • Plan a comprehensive admissions campaign
  • Understand and take advantage of current trends
  • Implement the best strategies for standing out

Whether it's choosing the best college for you, writing a winning personal statement, or planning your college financing, this fully updated new edition gives you the latest in admissions secrets, statistics, tactics, and facts.

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Editorial Reviews

Tina Segalla Grant
“Greenes’ Guides have always been a source of great information and timely advice, and these new editions are no exception.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061726736
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/21/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 827,034
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Howard Greene, M.A., M.Ed., is the president of Howard Greene & Associates, the nation's leading independent educational consulting company, and is a former Princeton University admissions officer and member of the Faculty Board of Advisors. Howard has counseled thousands of students for almost forty years and has been a consultant for numerous schools, colleges, and corporations. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he holds master's degrees from Harvard and New York University. He lives in Wilton, Connecticut.

Matthew W. Greene, Ph.D., is Educational Director of Howard Greene & Associates. Matthew has consulted with families for a dozen years and often writes and speaks on educational planning and college admissions issues. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Matthew has taught and advised students at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he earned his doctorate in public policy. He lives in Wilton, Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

Preface VII

Acknowledgments XV

Introduction 1

The Changes in Our Society and Their Impact on Selective Admissions 1

Population Changes 3

The Cost of Education 4

Merit-Based Awards 6

Changes Within the Land of Academia 8

The Rapid Rise of Technology 8

The Growing Number of Selective College Applicants 9

PC-the Political Correctness Issue 11

Special Talents and Interests 13

Crime on Campus 15

The Trend Toward Useful Majors 17

Students with Disabilities 18

Getting Ready 19

Let's Get Started 21

A Word About Our Ten-Step Plan 21

Two Applicants Who Made It 22

A Course in Admissions 34

The Selective Colleges 34

The Selective College Applicant 42

Why Selective Colleges Want You 43

An Upbeat Approach 47

When to Begin 47

How to Use This Book 47

Your Syllabus: The Ten-Step Plan 48

Profiting from the Admissions Process 52

Step 1 Know the Selective Colleges and Their Admissions Requirements and Procedures 55

A Strategic Start 55

Begin with College Catalogues and Web Sites 56

The Class Profile 56

The College's Requirements 57

Relative Selectivity 58

Preliminary Self-Classification 59

You and Your Guidance Counselor 63

Requirements vs. Procedures 64

Meeting (or Exceeding) Requirements Is the Key 65

Admissions Procedures 66

Special Procedures-Early Decision 68

Special Procedures-Early Decision II, Early Action, and Rolling Admissions 76

Inside the Admissions Office 85

How Applications Are Reviewed 86

How Fair Is the Admissions Process? 88

The Five P's 89

Know the Colleges 91

Discovering Colleges 95

Sources of Information 98

The Attributes of the Colleges 105

Know the Trends 107

Public College Options109

Comparing Colleges and Paring the List 111

Step 2 Determine Your Strengths 119

Making a Choice 119

Academic Strengths 121

Extracurricular Strengths 122

Your Student Questionnaire 122

Answering the Student Questionnaire 123

Your Parents' Role 132

Overestimating and Underestimating Yourself 135

The Confidence of Strength 136

Step 3 Follow a Demanding Curriculum 139

Your Academic Record Comes First 139

The Academic Criteria 140

Your Curriculum 140

Honors Courses 143

Assessing Your Academic Competition 144

What Admissions Officers Are Looking For 145

Advanced Placement Courses 148

Concentrating in Your Specialty 150

The Significance of Grades 150

Your Subject Test Scores 151

Compare Your Record with Selective College Requirements 152

Benefit from Enrichment Programs 154

A Sampling of Summer Opportunities 158

Who Should Take Enrichment Courses? 160

Improving Your Grades 162

Your Academic Record and Your Test Scores 164

Step 4 Make Standardized Tests Work for You 167

Approach Tests as Opportunities 167

Acquaint Your Parents with Tests 172

Learning About Tests 172

Myths About the SAT and ACT 173

Coaching or Tutoring May Help 174

What Are Good SAT Scores? 177

The SAT Reasoning Test 180

Tips on Taking the SAT 189

The College Board's Advice 190

SAT Procedures 192

Preparing for Your First SAT 193

Taking the SAT Itself 195

The Ideal Subject Test Program 199

Tips on Taking Subject Tests 202

Testing: Major Points to Remember 202

The ACT 203

Step 5 Excel Outside Class 209

Excellence as an Admissions Factor 209

The Spiritual Qualities of Excellence 211

Nonacademic Excellence as an Admissions Factor 212

Areas of Nonacademic Excellence 218

Extracurricular Activities 222

Community Service and Employment 223

Evaluating Your Areas of Excellence 225

Step 6 Make the Most of Campus Visits and Interviews 229

Looking Under the Hood 229

Your Turn to Choose 230

Preparing for Campus Visits 231

When Your Parents Visit Campuses with You 234

The College Peer Group Impact 235

The Best Time to Visit 235

What to Look for on Campus 236

The Social Concerns 237

The Academic Concerns 239

The Facilities 240

The Optional Interview 243

The Myth About Blowing the Interview 248

What If You Do Not Have an Interview? 250

The Golden Rules for Interviews 251

If You Cannot Visit Some Campuses 257

After Campus Visits 258

Use Your Summary Sheet 258

Knowing What Is Important to You 259

Considering a Major Subject 260

Considering Your Options 262

Step 7 Find Your Place in the Class Pie Charts 265

Finding the Competitive Edge 266

Eight Admissions Categories 268

The Different Approach to State Universities 279

Your Pie Chart Analysis 281

Developing Your Own Pie Chart 282

Two Case Studies 286

Emphasize Your Uniqueness 289

Drawing Pie Charts in Your Junior Year 294

Independent School Pie-Charting 296

List Your Competitive Advantages 298

Decide Where You Want to Apply 298

Step 8 Present Yourself in the Best Light: Marketing Your Strengths and Writing Top Essays 301

When to Market Your Strengths 302

What Does Marketing Involve? 303

Make a Marketing Plan 304

Identifying the Colleges 308

Communicating Your Strengths by Documentation 310

Why Be Bashful? 313

Report New Developments 315

Get That Extra Recommendation 315

Talking to Alumni 317

If You Know a Trustee 318

After Marketing, What? 319

Write an Exciting Essay 320

Why Colleges Want Essays 321

A Few Examples of Sparkling Essays 323

You Are the Topic 327

The Final Test of a Good Personal Statement 330

Feel Comfortable in Writing About Yourself 335

Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite 341

Other Kinds of Essays 345

Step 9 Plan Your Selective College Finances 355

Financial Aid Problems Have Their Solutions 355

The New Trends 359

How Financial Aid Works 360

Paying for College: The Ten Key Principles 362

Apply If You Need Aid! 365

Scholarships Based on Merit 365

Scholarships by the Hundreds 371

Financial Aid for Multicultural Students 373

Financial Aid for International Students 375

The State University Option 377

Military Options 379

Athletic Scholarships 380

Saving Time and Money 381

Work Versus Scholarships and Loans 381

Splitting Your Colleges 382

Federal Student Aid Programs 382

Low-Interest Loans 384

State Tuition Savings and Prepayment Plans 384

Some Issues to Consider in Evaluating Award Packages 387

Long-Term Savings and Investment for College 389

Your Counselor Can Help 390

Some Creative Ways to Pay for Colleage 390

When and How to Apply for Financial Aid 392

Completing the Financial Aid Forms 396

Completing Scholarship Applications 397

You Can Make Ends Meet 398

Step 10 Enroll in the Right College for You 401

Admissions Procedures After Admission 401

Early Decision Obligations 402

Early Action 403

Choosing Your Preferred College 403

When the Colleges Put on the Pressure 406

Revisiting Campuses 407

Considering Financial Aid Packages 408

The Waiting List 409

Admissions Notification Before April 414

Deferred Admission 416

Appealing Your Rejection 417

The Nonselective College Option 421

Postgraduate Year 422

Transferring to Selective Colleges 425

Enrollment at Last 426

Applying From Abroad: Follow the Specific Strategies for International Students 435

Your Academic Résumé 442

The TOEFL 442

English as a Second Language (ESL) 443

The Visa 444

Financial Considerations 444

Your Personal Statement 445

Some International Student Profiles 446

Americans Abroad 451

The Time Factor 451

Summer and Postgraduate Options 452

A Four-Year Calendar For Your Selective Admissions Process 453

Appendix Your Worksheets for Making the Ten Steps Work for You 469

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