As a college admissions counselor specializing in students with big ambitions (e.g. Ivy League, Military Service Academies/ROTC, Athletic scholarships), I have seen dreams realized, shattered, and everything in between.
In this case study, I reveal what goes through a college admissions officer's mind as they review an application. What do they care about, what do they disregard, what jumps out, and what factors might seal the deal (for good or bad)?
In this blog, I review Pete's profile. Pete just finished his junior year at a big public high school in NY. He has a pretty good GPA. pretty good SAT score, has taken pretty hard classes, is a pretty good lacrosse player, and has pretty good extracurricular activities.
Are you getting my drift?
Pete is "pretty good" at just about everything. This is the profile of a lot of high school students these days. That's why we call him "Pretty Good Pete". He has a closely-related friend named "Pretty Good Pamela."
The question is - is pretty good - good enough?
Many parents of talented 9th and 10th-graders tell me similar stories. They think their child is pretty good at school, sports, and academics - and they wonder how far that will get them. Let's find out.
Here's how the story goes:
Hi, Phil. I've heard you're the expert in helping kids get into highly-selective colleges. Can I tell you about my son, Pete? He's pretty good at just about everything (school, sports, clubs, volunteering, etc.). He does it all and is working so hard. I don't know how he gets it all done. AP classes, lacrosse, volunteering. We're wondering what his chances will be at some of the most highly-selective colleges. He has no weaknesses. What do you think?
If this is how you find yourself describing your son or daughter, please watch the full video above. It will give you insights into what matters, when it matters, and why it matters.
Here are the summary findings for Pete:
Objective Academic Metrics:
He's done a pretty good job in sports, with volunteer work, pretty good school involvement, and pretty good variety of experiences.
Honors & Awards:
pretty good, not great
Letters of Recommendation:
pretty good, not great (he started too late)
Demonstration of Interest:
pretty good, but didn't know the secrets
pretty good, but story not overly inspiring
Will Pretty Good Pete get into UPENN?
MORAL OF THE STORY
If your child seems to be "pretty good" at a lot of things - great. If they are happy with being "pretty good" then don't rock the boat.
If you want to give your child an opportunity to move from pretty good to great - share the insights from this blog. Let them know that there are resources that can show them the way - before it's too late.
If you don't want your son or daughter to follow in Pretty Good Pete's footsteps, I suggest that you lend a hand.
If you don't know where to start, enroll them in the PrepWell Academy in 9th or 10th grade. This online program will help give your son or daughter a fighting chance to make their dreams come true.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I hope to see your son or daughter inside PrepWell Academy soon.
If you want a copy of the "College Admissions Snapshot" to use with your child or students, please contact me and I'll send you one.
Author: PrepWell Academy's Founder, Phil Black, has spent a lifetime cracking the code on the world's most competitive programs: Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEALs, Goldman Sachs, Entrepreneurship, Shark Tank, etc.
PrepWell Academy is an online mentoring program that immerses teens in a variety of experiences and opportunities. In doing so, it helps them find and pursue their passions in a way that will not only make them extremely compelling college applicants, but also young adults who are well equipped to face life's future challenges. Black's specialties include military service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League admissions, and student-athletes.