did D do on SAT?

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: October 2003 Archive: did D do on SAT?
By Trojan1444 (Trojan1444) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 01:46 am: Edit

I know you were waiting in anticipation for her scores, so I was just wondering how it went....

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 03:13 am: Edit

Eh. 780 Math, 700 Verbal. You'd expect the other way around. Because she's applying to HYS, she's going to take one more crack on 12/6. Her PSAT verbal was 770 and Writing was 800...much more along the lines of what you'd expect if you know her.
If it doesn't improve it's not the end of the world but the sense I get is that it's good to get your scores into the 1530-1540 range at the top schools.

I never saw a did your G'town interview go?

By Trojan1444 (Trojan1444) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 03:29 am: Edit

Pretty well. The guy was a government major at Georgetown with a concentration in American politics, so we had a lot to talk about, and I think i left the impression that I really have an interest in politics and know what I'm talking about.

There were few things that worried me though: I told him I had a cousin who worked as an Assistant Director of Student Organizations at Gtown, and who graduated from Gtown in mid-90's. He said that i'd "be stupid" not to have the guy write me a letter of rec....but I barely know my cousin (he's a second cousin) and I really don't think it'd help me that much..

What do you think?

(Also, see "Could this inconsistency hurt me?" for another potentially troublesome spot.)

But overall, I think it went well. I told a few jokes, and was able to impress him I think with my knowledge of old campaigns and stuff...

By Trojan1444 (Trojan1444) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 03:30 am: Edit

Oh yea, does your D's new math score bring her composite above 1500?

By Bear363 (Bear363) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 05:15 am: Edit

Personally, there is no difference between a 1480 and a 1530! Why would your daughter want to go to a school that would even consider rejecting her based on her getting a 1480 vs. a 1530! A school that is that stringent is snobish, not elite. Don't put your daughter through any more stress. You are being ridiculous. You should listen to yourself! It sounds like you are more concerned then your daughter!

By Vadad (Vadad) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 08:28 am: Edit

Uncalled-for Bear.

If you read TheDad's posts on CC you know that he is definitely not putting his D under any stress, but rather makes a lot of effort to relieve the stress she places on herself. And his post in this thread was a simple answer to question posed by a previous correspondent that only suggested that his D was considering trying again to get her Verbal score more in line with what other testing suggested it should be. Finally, what it takes to get past Yale's admission committee may be arbitrary or even stupid, but that doesn't make Yale a less worthy institution for his D.

Though you "personally" don't think there is a difference between a 1480 and a 1530, regrettably, there is a good deal of evidence that admission committees do. Unfortunate? Yes. But they've got to make distinctions between a lot of equally qualified people somehow.

Don't reach conclusions about people unless you've got evidence. I don't know TheDad, and I don't always agree with him, but his contributions to the CC boards have been informative, responsible and reflect a great deal of compassion for students, especially his D.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 11:25 am: Edit

Regarding the scores, there is a difference between a 1480 and a 1530 but it may very subtle.

However, the good news is that a 780/700 is viewed as one score at 750+ and one score at 700+. I just read that several schools use a system where the SAT grades are ranked 1 to 5. Anything above 750 is a 5 and anything above 700 is a 4. In other words, this would be 9/10 and the same score as a 790/740. The good news is that the other elements of the application probably carry another 50 points. So, one point makes VERY little difference.

No matter what, TheDad's DD will ace that verbal in December.

By Vadad (Vadad) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 12:02 pm: Edit

Can you share the source on the point system you referred to? I'd be interested in how the different point systems used by the schools are weighted in their evaluation of the "objective" admissions criteria. I've noticed that even schools that suggest that they don't use a point system have mysterious little boxes on the front or back pages of applications with designations that pretty clearly suggest they are used for recording some kind of points. Thanks.

By Asndfkas (Asndfkas) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 12:43 pm: Edit

Xiggi, or anyone else, can you tell us a little more about how a 1480 compares to higher grades? How much can it hurt you? Is it something one should worry about? Does is affect the adcom subconsciously?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 01:09 pm: Edit

Trojan, yeah, political junkies usually appreciate other political junkies. I was once on (low-level) paid staff for a Presidential campaign and it was disconcerting to realize, when encountering staff from the Opposition, that in many ways we had more in common with each other than we did with the people we were trying to convince to vote for our candidates, differences of ideology notwithstanding.


Thanks, Vadad.

Bear, I know of only one or two people on this board who have crunched more admissions numbers than I have. To a point, some differences in SAT scores don't make any difference...a 1540 is pretty much the same as a 1600. But, as Xiggi suggests--and I believe that different schools use different methodologies--there are virtual baskets of scores and for some schools the bottom of the top basket is around 1530-1540.

Fwiw, I'd never even particularly mentioned HYPSM schools to my D until her PSAT scores came in and made me realize she *might* have a shot at any place she wants...and *she* wants to take that shot.

Currently, subject to change, her top four are Yale, Smith, Stanford, Harvard...that's right, she rates Smith ahead of Stanford and Harvard in terms of *her* preferences. But she'd like to have the choice and, if admitted, may re-visit the "finalist" schools another time before making a decision. But to have a shot at that choice, she needs her apps to be as strong as possible...something I think everyone on this board can relate to.

If she can get a 760 or so on her Verbal, it's worth doing. If it doesn't happen, it's not the end of the world.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 01:32 pm: Edit


We disagree more often than we agree, but I believe that you're the last person on this board who needs to explain or defend his record. Retaking the SAT in December is worth pursuing ... after that everything will fall in place.

I've read a couple of books but I am pretty sure that you'll find the point system in this one:

1600 Perfect Score : The 7 Secrets of Acing the Sat (Hardcover, 2003). The author is Tom Fischgrund. I bought the book on for less than 10 dollars. I would put the link here but it is a commercial link. Just go to website and look for the author's name. There are only a handful of books written by him. Despite the title, it is NOT a How-to-ace-the-SAT book. The author has received unprecedented access to TCB records and has interviewed hundreds of kids who scored 1600. Based on that, he defined seven patterns. Interestingly enough, the most important was to have a stable and supporting family. That should please all the posters who have handles ending in -dad and-mom! :)

By Dadx (Dadx) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 04:04 pm: Edit


I think if it were me I'd take that last crack to see if I could approximate the PSAT score. Of course, since the scores are really just ranges, it could be that the PSAT was near the top of her range and she may just not be able to hit it in time.

Seems within reason that she could pick up 80 points (20 more for math?, 60 more vertbal?), which would add 4 points to the academic index calculation. After reading Michelle Hernandez account, its clear that a couple of extra points can help you at the margin.

All a matter of how much the extra effort for one more test costs in terms of stress and wear and tear.

Bears comments are common, and they are not without a nugget of merit. There's not much difference, if any, between two kids with scores 50-60 points apart. In real life, in smaller recruiting situations, you make the judgements more on personalities and whether you want to spend time around people. For universities, they don't have the luxury of spending hours of interviewing time choosing candidates. Certainly if they did, some of their choices would be different. Given the realities, higher is better when it comes to long as ceteris are paribus.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 04:25 pm: Edit

Dadx, she decided to go for it. I kinda doubt that she'll add 20 to her should never count on an El Perfecto.

However, she did get a 1600 (I thought it was 1580 but they round up) on one of her practice tests so all things are possible.

I think it's a bit the luck of the draw...her vocabulary is pretty extensive but if you get one or two words you're at sea about on the Analogies, that dings you right there. I can't believe she didn't know "leviathan," for ex. She usually nails the Sentence Completions but the Critical Reading, again, gets down to the luck of the draw in some ways, in terms of passages you see clearly or not.

Xiggi, interesting...what are the other six elements besides a stable & supporting family?

By Freudboy (Freudboy) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 06:06 pm: Edit

Thedad, i am almost in the exact same position as your D. I just scored a 780m / 710v on my october SAT. This is a 1490, or 1500 composite from a previous 720 V sitting. I was 99% sure i had scored a 750+ on the verbal this test, especially after comparing with people on this site, but i somehow screwed up. I also scored 770-800's before on practice verbal, and got 790 on writing. I am also considering HYPS. I KNOW I have the potential to score higher on verbal.. but perhaps only 10-20 more points if i am unlucky. However, I may be able to pull a 770-800, which would increase my composite from 1500 to maybe 1550. But, I may not be able to score as high on math in the next sitting, since my previous sittings were lower. Plus, it would be my 4th time taking the SAT. And, a 1500-1550 might be negligible.
Sorry for the long post, but what do you think?

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 06:30 pm: Edit


The other six were luck, fortune, chance, hazard, destiny, fate, in that order. On a more serious note, I will post them tonight when I get home. I would hate to misquote the author. However, I'll post a excerpt to give a taste.


If you worry about the numbers of trials, you should know that one of the students in that 1600 book was a chinese girl who took the SAT FIVE times before getting her perfect score. She is not at Harvard to show that the HYPS do not mindmultiple sittings. And no, it was NOT our own Serene.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 06:33 pm: Edit


On a given Saturday seven times throughout the year, 330,000 high school students will wake up after what we hope was a good night’s sleep. Some will be able to swallow their breakfast; others won’t. With two no. 2 pencils and a calculator in hand, they will head off to one of the test centers. After months of practice and in some cases thousands of dollars spent on Kaplan or Princeton Review prep courses, it will all come down to three hours of intense test taking. Then they and their parents will spend weeks waiting nervously for the results — results that, like it or not, bear massive importance in determining the academic fates of college-bound American students today.

Only 541 college-bound seniors achieved a perfect SAT score in 2000. Just 587 seniors performed this feat in 2001, and 615 seniors in 2002. With a million and a half seniors taking the SATs each year, it’s remarkable that the number of students who obtain a perfect score doesn’t vary much from year to year. The test is designed to ensure that nearly all students make a number of mistakes — all but those exceptional few.

Getting a high score on the SAT has always been a key goal of most college-bound high school students. But today it’s even more important than ever before. The number of students applying to colleges is at a record high, and this larger pool of students must compete with one another for the same number of admission slots.

As a result of this increased competition, colleges have raised their standards for admission, including raising the average SAT scores for incoming students. Over the past ten years, New York University raised its SAT requirements from an average score of 1190 to an average score of 1334. Harvard raised its average SAT requirements from 1370 to 1485. And Yale University raised its requirements from 1365 to 1450.

State colleges have also become more demanding. Unable to shell out $25,000 a year for private college tuition, thousands of high school students have been turning to state-funded schools. As a result, these schools have experienced a huge increase in applicants in recent years and have also increased their admission requirements. In my local area, the average freshman SAT score at the University of Georgia in Athens rose from 1060 in 1992 to 1215 in 2002. A decade or two ago, achieving a decent SAT score was important but not necessarily vital to earning admission to many state universities and other “second-tier” schools. Now many students are finding themselves closed out of these schools if they don’t meet the more stringent admission requirements.

Yes, it’s true that a new curve system instituted in 1995 has caused SAT scores to rise by an average of 50 to 100 points, but this still doesn’t account for the entire increase in SAT score requirements. Today’s high school students have to increase their efforts to excel academically if they want to get into the college of their choice. They must strive to achieve a solid class rank and a respectable grade-point average. And they have to fulfill their academic potential on the SAT. All of this is just the minimum of what college admissions officers now expect from freshman applicants.

Results from the Perfect Score Study suggest that doing well on the SAT isn’t all about what kind of prep work a student does. In fact, investing in private SAT tutors or pending a small fortune on an SAT review course isn’t necessary to get a perfect score. (Only a handful of perfect score students used these methods.) And although taking practice exams and memorizing vocabulary words can be excellent ways to improve an SAT score, they comprise just a small part of most 1600 students’ preparation.

In fact, the results of the Perfect Score Study turn the idea of SAT preparation on its head. Instead of cramming for the SAT two or three months before the test, perfect score students come by their learning naturally through a strong foundation laid by their parents. This foundation enables these students to learn to the best of their abilities. When it comes time to take the SAT, these students then draw on the vocabulary they absorbed from reading extensively. They might memorize additional vocabulary words, but that’s just a supplemental part of their SAT preparation.

So who is the perfect score student?
If you saw seventeen-year-old Susan D., from South Peoria, Illinois, walking down the street, you would probably say she looks like an all-American girl. She has long, shiny brown hair, freckles splattered across her nose, and brown eyes that sparkle with intelligence. In high school, she did the ordinary kinds of things that most girls her age do — hanging out with her friends, performing in plays at her small high school, and surfing on her computer. But she also participated in some activities that were more exceptional: heading up her school’s Model UN, playing violin in the all-state orchestra, and working four hours a week with residents of a nursing home near where she lived. “The work in the nursing home was probably the most interesting thing I’ve ever done,” Susan says about working with the elderly. “I learned a lot from just listening to those folks — just asking questions about their lives.”

By Trojan1444 (Trojan1444) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 07:03 pm: Edit

“The work in the nursing home was probably the most interesting thing I’ve ever done,” Susan says about working with the elderly. “I learned a lot from just listening to those folks — just asking questions about their lives.”

Yea right -- what a phony...

By Thenamek (Thenamek) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 08:20 pm: Edit

Ha. seriously. Obnoxious.

And, speaking of statistics, the majority of people who retake 1480's actually receive lower scores. Just look at your score report. Although it might be different for the 700 in the 700/78o, i'm not sure. I got 720/780 last spring, and didn't retake because a) the odds were against me, according to the cb (and why would they lie?), and b) the idea of retaking a 1480 - above (well above in some cases) the median at all Ivies except Harvard (where 1480 is the median), just didn't seem right to me. I have more important things to worry about than filling out little bubbles, like living my life.

"Eh?" "Eh?" How about you say "I'm proud no matter how my child did?" "Eh?" That is one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard - someone saying "eh" over how their child performed on some three-hour test that even the College Board says is not a measure of one's innate ability. Good God, WHERE HAVE THE PRIORITIES OF OUR SOCIETY GONE???

PS. I have three siblings who have attended Harvard within the past nine years. SAT scores? 1410, 1390, 1420. And I'm white. Another sibling attended Penn - SAT, 1350.

Where's the emphasis here? On education - enlightenment, the exchange of ideas, the improvement of the human race - or going OMG! OMG! OMG! 800M 800V! or "I'M SO RIPPED! 1570!" or, WORST OF ALL, "Eh. My kid got a 1480." Do you know how many parents (and kids) would kill for a 1480? Be thankful for what God has given you and use your gifts in a productive way.

I'm sure this is going to irritate some people, but I don't care. Go ahead, lambast me. It really doesn't matter. Because when all is said and done, it really doesn't matter whether you go to a HYPS or whatever the hell you people call them.

God, am I pissed.

By Asndfkas (Asndfkas) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 10:22 pm: Edit

Thenamek, your entry was very refreshing. First of all, I am SO glad there are people left like you out there in the world. And I'm not saying this because I have a 1480, but because I see the triviality of the whole affair.
I really could not care less about that score. It's unfortunate some people around me do. It's there loss, because if they ever looked past the 1480 ( whether they think it's good or bad ) .. they'd see a much more interesting person.

Stay grounded in your beliefs and best of luck.

By Esmereldasy (Esmereldasy) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 11:02 pm: Edit

omg, that passage about "Susan D." is so funny. It reminds me of the Washingtonian magazine article about CTY (*sigh* standing for Center for Talented Youth--what a stupid and embarassingly nerdy name, huh). This woman follows this group of kids around and writes about how smart and socially inept they are. Here's a exerpt:

"Slap. Six of hearts. Slap. Four of clubs. Slap. King of hearts. The boys
are watching, waiting. And on goes 13-year-old Nimay Mehta, slapping cards
out of Max Czapanskiy's hands until only one is left.

The jack of diamonds. The original card Max chose. There are scattered claps, but mostly silence. The boys--crowded into a college dorm room--have been watching the cards as if there will be a test on them,and, in fact, there is. The test is self-imposed. It's an unspoken yet fierce two-part test of who's the smartest: (1) to figure out how Nimay did the trick and (2) to be the first to say so.

A minute passes. No one says anything.

Nimay smiles smugly. He's won this round.

"This trick is based on people's ignorance," he says.

IGNORANCE! THE WORD STUNS THE BOYS. IT'S not one they're used to hearing applied to themselves. Their presence at this camp, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth program at St. Mary's College in southern Maryland, is proof of how not-ignorant they are, at least if you define it as scoring at least a 530 on the math portion of the SATs and a combined score of at least 1040 at age 13. That's how the boys qualified for this program, with SAT scores that are in the top half-percent for their age group."

Isn't it disgusting? I had gone to CTY the year before this article was written, and went again the year after and was in the same class as some of the people she followed around. And they didn't 'test' themselves when they played cards. Nor did they, as she suggest latter in the article, do math in their heads for fun. They were perfectly normal! Ugh, she made CTY sound like a camp where socially inept children go to learn how to interact with other people. Here's a quote that sums her view of CTYers very well: "Smart Kids Know All the Answers in the Classroom, But on the Social Scene, They've Often Got a Lot to Learn." God, that wasn't what it was like at all! Sure, some people were awkward or shy or arrogant or annoying, but that has nothing to do with their scores on the SATs! The only difference between people at CTY and people at school is possibly that people at CTY would never tease you for fretting about classwork (which doesn't happen so much in high school, but could happen to some kids in middle school). I think the washingtonian writer, same as the writer of that 1600 book, just wanted to emphasize how different these 'smart' kids (ha!) are from 'normal' kids. However, put in the same situation, asked the same questions, and interviewed in the same manner, I think you would find that 'normal' kids act the same way. I mean, those CTY guys were just watching a card trick. Give me a break.
ANYWAYS, i'll get off that tangent.
Thenamek~ i'm not sure how to respond to you, because I think whatever I say will seem hypocritical (i decided to retake after a 1470 and DID do better.) I didn't think my original score was bad though, and I agree with you about how too much emphasis is put on SAT scores. I only retook because i thought it couldn't hurt, and i thought i could study during the summer when there was no school work (haha, that NEVER happened). Plus, I wanted to beat my older brother's score (hehe, i know, i know, not a good reason, but hey)
I think it's up to the student to decide whether they retake or not, though. Sometimes a retake can really help. When I took it the second time, I was more relaxed because i knew that I had my 1470 there, even if i did poorly.
Ah well, the SATs don't prove anything. It's not like I'm a smarter person now with my new score than I was back in January with a 1470.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 11:11 pm: Edit

You guys are way too cynical. The rest of the article described how the Susan girl is doing at ... Harvard and still does her community service work.

Not everybody is a serial club whore who tries to boost his chances thru BS EC. There are kids who really enjoy helping out and are honest.

By Thenamek (Thenamek) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 07:35 pm: Edit

Asndfkas - thanks.

Esmeraldasy - point well taken. And congratulations on doing better. I'm sorry if I offended anyone in that moment of passion. Of course you can retake if you want. But I remain incensed at TheDad. I don't know what I'd do if I had a parent like that.

"Dad, I got a 1480!"
"Eh. You'll have to retake if you want to get into a good school [how that phrase has been perverted!]!"

I came to this board to possibly pick up a few interesting tidbits about the college application process. What I found were people who obsessively post their 1600 scores, and Best Kid in the Universe awards, and say, "OMG! I'm soooooo nervous! Like, what are my, ha-ha, chances at HYPS (whatever the hell that means, i'm not IN with this college-application in-talk)?"

Oh, yeah, and the kid who wanted to drop out of high school? THERE was a winner. That made me hurl all over my keyboard.

Or the kid who wanted to know how much of an advantage being Jewish would give him.

And how about you guys stop posting essays? Doesn't the clause that the application makes you sign say that essays should reflect "individual, original work?" Grammar checking is one thing, but what happens on this board goes well beyond that point. It is, in a word, disgusting. Colleges are interested in what you have to say, not a bunch of people who wither away their high-school years on some internet board. That, by the way, is the other reason that TheDad annoys me so much. By the way, TheDad, are you an English teacher? If not, who on God's green Earth do you think you are, pretending to be Essay God? Go back to your Parents Forum and complain about how much YOU are stressed out - how about your KID who you dismissed with an "eh?"

By the way, do you really think that posting stats will make any difference (even remotely) in the final outcome? And do you really take confidence in what some un-informed (or misinformed) high-school kids have to say about your "stats?" Who makes the decisions? It's like asking an eighth-grade science student about E/M. (No, not the Biology SAT II.) Either call the admissions office, or talk to your counselor, but don't go on this board, ask for your chances, and then argue when somebody says, "Sorry, kid." And especially don't say something like,

"Essay: Not written, but should be excellent."

Yeah, and I haven't run that championship XC race yet, but I should definitely run a 13-minute 5k and be invited to the Olympics. See what I mean? And who the hell are you to say how good your own essay is - especially dubious when most of the essays colleges receive are nothing more than redundant fluff?

All for now. Lambast me if you want - I welcome it, especially from Essay God himself.

By Abyss (Abyss) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 07:46 pm: Edit

Sorry Thenamek, you're not going to get any lambasting, though I see you want it. In fact, I think most people on this board agree with you. The fact is that the world is not so logical, and people may seen silly when theyre immersed in states of stress and pressure. Unfortunately we can't feel as laid back and secure about our futures as you feel.
I've looked a couple of times at : "Essay: Not written, but should be excellent." and was stunned, but I put myself in thier shoes, and I understood the poor kid's desperation, and confusion. They're not bad people, and I doubt they expect anyone to respond "100% chance you're in", but they're very human, and we all have these moments. :)

By Hsimpson2k4 (Hsimpson2k4) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 07:46 pm: Edit

TheDad, you sound a lot like the father of a girl I know. Do you have any connections to Columbia and are you an engineer?

By Folk_Hero (Folk_Hero) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 07:51 pm: Edit

Thenamek -- College admissions is a Kafkaesque nightmare... and yes, we are behaving exactly like Joseph K. You're right... but we're scared and grasping at shingles. It's just not a good feeling to have so little knowledge or control of one's fate.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 07:58 pm: Edit

Thenamek, remain incensed if you want, it's no skin off my teeth. My "eh" reflects the outlook that I don't see any SAT score as worth bragging about on one hand and that D was bummed about the Verbal and had hoped to have it behind her but will now take it one more time on the other. For what it's worth, I've *never* told my D anything like "she has to do such and such to get into a good school." Your implication that I'm harrying and abusing my D is so far off base that it's hysterically funny. In short, your critical reading of my post(s) sucks.

Her #1 choice is currently Yale, a school that wasn't even on her list until last March. Her #2 is Smith, for which she can probably get in right now.

I've been fortunate enough to have the free advice of a former admissions officer who has said, in essence, that D's 1480 puts her in the ballpark for Yale but that in the 1520-1540 range would be more comfortably in the normal range and, if my D isn't tested out, there's nothing to lose by trying again but if it doesn't pan out, it's not the end of the world...hardly an obsessed point of view, do you think?

As for being an Essay God, I have never claimed to be and no, I'm not an English teacher. You'll also note that I've never asked to see someone's essays, except as a re-write when they're shown me something already. Moreover, I owe several people comments that I'm behind on because I take the time to give a thoughtful considered read that several people have found helpful. I'm very careful not to re-write essays or anything like that and what I do is no different than what English teachers do when looking over an essay. Oh, and while I'm not an English teacher, I am a writer with more than a million paid words in print.

Speaking of which, Asndfkas, do you still want comments on your essay? It's about the next one or three in the stack.

By Hsimpson2k4 (Hsimpson2k4) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 08:07 pm: Edit

You didn't answer me!

By Thedad (Thedad) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 08:10 pm: Edit

Oh, and btw, I do not disparage what my D has achieved in the least. I'm immensely proud of a wide range of her accomplishments, not just academic, and were I to give that pride rein on-line I think that I would be an unseemly braggart as bad as any stage parent, of which I know a few.

I'm looking forward to seeing the adult that emerges after college, may I live so long.

By Hsimpson2k4 (Hsimpson2k4) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 08:12 pm: Edit

Are you ignoring me THEDAD or what?

By Jrc007 (Jrc007) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 08:46 pm: Edit


You are my hero. Everything you said is so true. The acuity you show in your analyses of the entire social structure of CC is quite astounding and, quite frankly, a breath of fresh air.

TheDad, I agree, is EXTREMELY presumptuous in his so-called "informed" editing of others' essays as if he were a disciple of John Steinbeck. He truly does seem like a svengali in relation to his daughter. He should be ashamed for being so overbearing and flippant about his own progeny. Instead of bolstering her image (at least on CC), he is all but trashing her. Poor kid! All of you other CCers refer to him as if he is some sort of be-all-and-end-all of college admissions and anything even remotely linked with that subject. I hear he has had some experience working in colleges, but exactly in what capacity? Was he an admissions officer? If so, why does he no longer (as far as I can tell from his posts) hold the position? Also, he is so negative all the time. People expressly ask for him to rate their stats as if he were some sort of chief arbiter and then he proceeds to all but trash them as well. Why do people continue to ask just to be disheartened by him? What credentials does he (or any of us really) have to judge?

I'm not trashing CC in general. I do find that there is a lot of interesting and useful information on this site. People who attend certain schools or graduated from those schools provide excellent insight into those institutions in their posts and I find it quite educating to read what they write. I only feel bad for those innocent people who post their stats for people like TheDad to evaluate thinking that they're getting a valid answer. It's not fair and I just think that they should know that going in. If they do, they trust on their own peril. However, it's not to hard to glean (for a newcomer) from the praise lavished on TheDad and others like him that he must be some sort of expert on the subject.

Sorry, TheDad, just my four cents. Thenamek, thank you for being so enlightened.

By Afk (Afk) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 08:55 pm: Edit

I think everyone here is already aware that this site is merely subjective, and it's not something that needs to be restated or clarified.

I also think that TheDad's seemingly flippant attitude is because he doesn't want to brag about his D.

And people respect TheDad's comments on their essays because, well, he gives a more honest and complete opinion than most (or at least that's what they believe).

While we can form our own opinions, I don't think it's our place to judge for other people.


By Folk_Hero (Folk_Hero) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 09:16 pm: Edit

I wish you'd stop bashing TheDad. When I said Thenamek was right, I was referring to what he said about the "What are my chances?" posts. First of all, if people keep coming to him, he must be good. As he said, he never asks for the essays. And he's here worrying about every little bit of his D's Yale EA app, like too few parents. You must respect that.

By Hsimpson2k4 (Hsimpson2k4) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 09:24 pm: Edit

People only ask what their chances are so that they can have some confidence and stop stressing. We all know that these kids have know idea. I mean I ask questions and then answer the same exact questions to different people. It is about inspiring confidence.

By Trojan1444 (Trojan1444) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 09:32 pm: Edit

You all are being so unreasonable....

I asked TheDad to edit my essay, and he kindly did so. He didn't pretend that he was some type of master-essay-writer, nor the be all and end all of college admissions. He simply offered his suggestions on the style and substance of my essay in a way that I found very helpful.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 09:35 pm: Edit

Isn't it amazing how people with less than 5 posts and ZERO contribution to CC can muster sufficient energy to write attacks against long-term members.

Here is a novel idea for Thenamek and Jrc ... start posting a few helpful posts in the help forum. You'll find out that it is a lot easier to criticize than to be constructive.

By Anothernycdad (Anothernycdad) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 12:03 am: Edit

My daughter at a highly competitive public was disappointed with her first testing: 720 V and 800 M.

She decided to retest, fairly confident she could go up in the verbal and not worried about math. June test was 760 and another 800 on Math.

Was it helpful? Average of multiple Harvard admits from previous years from her school was around 1540-50, which she exceeded and 1560 is the highest score of any attending this year. A 1520 (her original score) does not put her in the top 10% of the class, at least as compared to the entering class this year from her school, which would have been fine if she were the val, but she isn't, whose SAT was way below the average of the attending group.

These small differences of 40 points may make a difference, as Harvard skims off the large majority of the very top at her school.

Each of these high achievers is accomplished in different ways, and you almost get the feeling that the students are rank ordered by GPA and SAT by some arcane formula, and unless something is amiss with essay or recs or ecs, that's how they pick! If the top 10% GPA/SAT are all excellent (with a few exceptions), foster diversity, and other goals, why wouldn't Harvard take the best SATs first (after all H is not going to take them all)and the ratings game remains important.

Is 40 points a significant difference for my daughter's application? Of course, we'll never know.

BTW, it seems astonishing to me, that all attending this fall (more than 5% of the class) had an 800 in either verbal or math (except the val.)

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 12:04 am: Edit

HSimpson, sorry, I wasn't ignoring you, just missed your message...I often scan a thread quickly.

No, I'm not affiliated with Columbia and I'm not an engineer though once upon a somewhen I was in engineering school and worked as an engineering aide in the Defense truth, I would have made a p!ss poor engineer.

By Transcriber (Transcriber) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 10:20 am: Edit

Hey Xiggi:
I don't think you took JRC's post in the spirit in which it was intended. And I don't think it's the number of posts that counts. I've read a couple of posts in which JRC has tried to sound upbeat and encouraging to those who were rather down in the dumps about their chances - funny that you didn't notice those. After all, you're not exactly encouraging new members to join in your discussions with your
comment. All should be welcome in discussion here, not just you long-term CC'ers. As a long-time reader of CC but a generally shy person who does not usually join in - and now I know why - I must say that I agree with JRC that reading TheDad's posts sometimes makes him sound as though he has inside knowledge that he probably doesn't, and that while most people have healthy attitudes toward the whole process some don't - thus leading me to believe that some are putting too much stock in his opinions of their chances. He sounds like a very well-educated and very likable person and I applaud his willingness to help others here, I just wish they would realize that he does not hold the crystal ball with the answers regarding who will get in and who will not and who is a "lottery ticket" and who is not.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 11:27 am: Edit

All should be welcome in discussion here, not just you long-term CC'ers. As a long-time reader of CC but a generally shy person who does not usually join in - and now I know why

Did I really say that they are not welcome to participate in the discussions? I believe that I ENCOURAGED them to post in the help forums.

I still believe that there is a great divide between posting an opinion and acting like the hunting season just opened and that it is time to shoot bullets and arrows through the old carcasses.

By Transcriber (Transcriber) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 12:28 pm: Edit

Xiggi - no you did not SAY that newbies are not encouraged to post their honest opinions, but that's the implication - if they don't agree with you then don't bother and just confine themselves to certain areas. I for one have always enjoyed your posts before and hope to continue to do so. Just have an open mind to the viewpoint of others. And just because that viewpoint differs from yours it is, nevertheless, a viewpoint and not an attempt to "shoot bullets and arrows through old carcasses." Just remember that some sensitive individuals take the words of others very literally - especially the words of those to whom they give a lot of weight - and some psyches are quite delicate.

I enjoyed discussing this with you.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 01:32 pm: Edit

When we went through the admissions process with my son several years ago, we found that some of the most honest information about the test scores came from the coaches of athletic teams. Because he would be a participating college athlete on a NCAA team, he visited the athletic directors and coaches during every college visit. Surprisingly, many colleges that swear there is no SAT cut-off have one, according to the athletic departments. He took his SAT a fourth time for a particular ivy league school and for several scholarships that required a cut-off ten points higher than what he had. He surprisingly scored much, much higher --he had taken the SAT in January of junior year with under 1300 as his score. Repeated it in May after a course with a 1330. Repeated it in Oct of Senior year with a 1340 and then got a 1400 his fourth time around. The 1350 point was essential for consideration
for non ivy scholarships and ivy consideration. And one ivy coach that showed no interest earlier in the year, immediately responded to his e-mail advising the higher SAT, and he was added to the recruiting list.
Schools do have cut-off at various points but they do not like to advertise them and usually deny they have them. Duke used to have a 1480 cutoff for a one reader acceptance of an ap. In other words, if you looked good to them and have a 1480, you were immediately accepted instead of being sent to another reader and being reassesed and examined with the rest of the applicant pool. Since the number is not a static one and is not given out, it's no big deal to retake the SATs, especially if the child is willing and he has not taken them that many times. Even with his last take being the fourth, my son got no negative repercussions, only positive results. And if he had done poorly, he would not have submitted the results since the school already had his prior SATs. He called and got the numbers, and then had them immediately sent to his colleges. So if your SATs are decent, sent them on out and have the new ones sent only if they are better. What harm can it do? My son did not study for the last two SATs, they were just results of maturity. He did work on them himself the first time, had a class the second time and that was it.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 02:15 pm: Edit

Transcriber, most of the WAMC answers on this board are crap, given *by* the hopeful and uninformed *to* the hopeful and uninformed. The answers are usually too optimistic, too focused on SAT scores, and given within too deterministic a framework, ignoring the dozens of competing goals that adcoms use in assembling a class, which results in a subjective "fuzzy" logic process that most on this board find unsatisfactory. In short, people are seeking definitive reassurance about something that no one *can* give reassurance about.

At the two extremes, one can be a little bit more definitive: the student with no obvious hook whose grades/scores are substantially below the 25th percentile or the extremely impressive student who *probably* will get in. I think you can do an extensive search of my posts and not find a single "You're In" of the most corrosive and misleading pair of words I see on this board. Conversely, being aware of the balancing act that adcoms do, I'm reluctant to say "No way," though, for instance, I'll make an exception for someone with an 1150 SAT looking at the Ivies.

I actually don't post much in the WAMC area because I tend to find them among the least interesting posts on the board.

By Mstee (Mstee) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 03:17 pm: Edit

Very interesting discussion about whether or not to retake the SAT in order to gain 50 points (or less in some cases). This is something I really did not get before reading all of your posts. I do understand now why some of you are taking it multiple times. Jamimom's post made a lot of sense. My two sons only took it once each. But neither of them was in a position where a slightly higher score might tip the scales in their favor. (At least I don't think so. . . )The older son wasn't applying to any very selective schools. The younger (current senior) got a good score first time around, and I don't think a slightly higher one would matter. He could try for a 1600, but if half of the 1600 scorers at some of these schools are being shown the door, what is the point? If he could somehow re-do some earlier grades, that might make a difference, but obviously, that isn't an option.

By Sac (Sac) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 03:44 pm: Edit

I agree with your thinking on your current senior. Our son, too, took his tests just once and did well. He still wanted to retake, sure he could get 1600. We urged him not to. This opinion was seconded by his school advisor, who said not only that his scores were good enough, but that getting 1600 puts you in a category that gives elite colleges some incentive to reject you. Thus, they all brag about how many kids with 1600 they reject -- not how many 1530s, 60s, 80s they turn away. Perverse as it sounds, my instinct tells me it might be true.

By Driver (Driver) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 04:10 pm: Edit

fwiw, your daughter's SAT path is the same as my daughter's was a year ago. 700V/780M on the October test. However, her motivation for retaking in December was that she had always expected to ace the math component (and in fact, when the results were mailed, she had gotten all the tough math questions right, and muffed a few of the easier ones carelessly).

She spent the intervening months taking timed practice exams and going through a stack of vocabulary cards every spare moment, and in December pulled off an 800M (expected) and 800V (synchronized family cartwheels for about an hour). Still didn't get into Yale (her ED choice), though. Good luck.

By Asndfkas (Asndfkas) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 04:34 pm: Edit

TheDad, I'd still appreciate a response if you have time

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 06:46 pm: Edit

Asndfkas...???? I e-mailed you comments last night. Did you not receive?

By Dadx (Dadx) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 07:08 pm: Edit

I do think that scoring higher sometimes could push you into official underachiever status. However, it seems likely to me that 20 or so points is very valuable if it pushed you above the 75 %ile. It means the school can accept you and it gets a positive impact on its published stats.

Jamimom. regarding the cutoffs. There is a very good article in the Harvard Magazine and reprinted in the Crimson regarding the way Ivy recruiting works by assigning certain ranges and limiting the number of recruits in that range. It also notes that in the lowest range, they are only allowed two recruits (per sport?) so that the athletic ability there has to be truly elite. If you can get your scores up a little bit, you can move into the ranges where they are allowed 7-8 recruits, which means that they are more interested in you. And if you really score highly, according to the article, they may be interested in you even if you are not super because your stats raise the overall recruit pool in a way that helps balance the lowest academic recruits. An admission officer also volunteers in the article that the median AI at Harvard is 220.

see Keeping Score in the Harvard Crimson archive

It seems to me that the 1480 at Duke is not a cutoff, but simply an internal time management tool. Of course, its pretty significant if your folder happens to be read by someone who is a beekeeper just like you! :)

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 07:44 pm: Edit

For people whith broadband, you may be interested in this presentation:

Here is the "snail" version of Scott's presentation:

By Dadx (Dadx) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 08:26 pm: Edit


Nice find on the Scott article. Very good rebuttal and other info there.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 12:26 am: Edit

Actually the 1480 cutoff for Duke that was in effect a few years ago was made public by Rachel Toors book, "Admissions Confidential". This number was not for athletes but was the SAT cutoff for a one read accept.
When I worked in an admissions office many years ago, there were very few one read accepts as they called them. In that highly selective school, there were no one read rejects. Every candidate who was rejected had to have at least two readers. There was no automatic reject number for any stats. However, there were one read accept standards and I believe it did hinge on the SAT as it did for Duke if all else in the file looked good.
As to how Harvard or any college accepts athletes, though ability is important and weighed heavily in discounting the stats, even more important are how strong the sport is in a particular college, how aggressive and influential the coach is and how essential that athlete is to a team. Basically, what can you do for us and how badly do we need you. Having gone through the process, I found that the answers to those questions became the crux of getting an acceptance. However, many colleges did have glass floors regarding test scores and the coaches and ADs were usually straightforward about what they were.

By Folk_Hero (Folk_Hero) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 12:31 am: Edit

According to her book, it was the cutoff for the highest number of points in the "testing" category to count toward the total number of points needed for admission.

By Thenamek (Thenamek) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 07:01 pm: Edit

Hmmm. Where to begin.

TheDad, I understand what you are saying about not wanting to brag about your daughter. But if that were the case, you should have politely responded that you preferred not to answer. If your daughter wants to get involved, she will, but you should not be the one to broadcast her scores - even anonymously.

Second of all, I noticed number-crunching going on after my post. That proves my point. Why waste time crunching numbers? Do any of you really presume to be able to make sense of this process? I hope not. You do the best you can with what God has given you, and that's all anyone can ask of you. If you want to retake, retake for yourself, not so that you can impress Bill Fitzsimmons and stick a Harvard bumper sticker on your car.

Regarding essays. TheDad, it is still improper of you to even be looking at other kids' essays, and I am sticking to that. Again, grammar checks are one thing, but colleges want to see what kids can write on their own. Will you be at colleges with these kids to help them with their essays then? That, after all, is a large part of what this essay is all about. And that's what the dotted line is for too.

That said, you can do whatever you want - you have that right. And I apologize for being so vitriolic - I am just so FED UP with this college mania that is destroying my high school's climate, as I'm sure it is with many others. I applaud your comments on the WAMC - some real nuggets, allow me to repost:

"Transcriber, most of the WAMC answers on this board are crap, given *by* the hopeful and uninformed *to* the hopeful and uninformed."

Couldn't have said it better myself. Hell, maybe you are a good editor.

One final point: I don't post a lot, Xiggi, because most of the stuff on this board is WHAT ARE MY CHANCES or CHECK OUT MY ESSAY or IF I AM AN NCTE WINNER, WILL THAT GUARANTEE ADMISSION? I was hoping that there would be a few more threads about dealing with pressure in senior year, or interesting things like which researchers at which colleges have won which prizes - characteristics that really define a college. I've been floating around for about six months now, and I only come on once every few days (sometimes weeks). As I said, I've better things to do than bubble in bubbles - or engage in pointless dialog about a circumstance that is well beyond our control.

Again, I apologize if I offended anybody. TheDad, I hope you see my point as I have seen yours. Either way, I apologize for my excessively aggressive post.

By Thenamek (Thenamek) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 07:13 pm: Edit

Whoops, missed a few things up there.

1. "WAMC inspires confidence." Time out. Consider the possibilities:
a. "You've got no chance. Sorry." That's a real confidence-booster.
b. "You're in." And then comes the thin envelope. Talk about bursting a bubble.
c. "Maybe, but it's impossible to tell." Wow, Merlin, thanks for the newsflash.

Hmmm. I have been told that "my critical reading" of TheDad's post "sucks." I say again: there are people (hmm, about 98% of the high school student population) who would love a 1480. Yet he writes "eh." I know, I know, we've been over this before, but, as they say, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all." And yes, it is hypocritical of me to say that, but I wanted to make a point.

That is, to "eh" a 1480 is to insult anybody who scores beneath that. You might not think that the 1480 reflects your daughter's abilities, and maybe you're right, but that doesn't need to be broadcasted to the entire board.

I asked if you were an English teacher for a reason: not to insult your intelligence (I could tell that you were a good writer by the quality of your posts), but to make the following point upon response to my question:

You are a professional writer. Does every applicant have access to an editor of your caliber? What about applicants from rural Alabama or from the ghettos in Calcutta? I'd bet they'd kill to have you edit their essays.

So, is what you're doing fair?

I'll give you the last word.

By May_1 (May_1) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 07:20 pm: Edit

Do those same people have access to the great advice, and sometimes, just wisdom about life that is available at College Confidential?

Is that fair?

By Thenamek (Thenamek) on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 05:03 pm: Edit

1. It's not as good as you say it is.
2. Soliciting advice and wisdom is a far cry from actively soliciting somebody else to act as an essay consultant for you. Colleges don't ask you to pledge not to go on CC, but they DO ask you to pledge that your essay is your own work.

What I'm saying is this - having CC as a resource doesn't really tip the balance in CC users' favor over non-CC'ers. That's not debatable. But having a professional writer edit your essays certainly does, especially if you live in the boondocks where the nearest PC is in the next county.

I say again - will TheDad be there all throughout these students' college careers to help them write essays then? It's about time American students started to improve their writing independently. You've got to read a lot and write a lot; that's where the bacon is brought home. (Which relates to why I opted not to retake: I can finish a good chunk of a good book in three hours, which is far more valuable to me than paying for ETS staffers' rent.)

TheDad, I give YOU the last word.

By Dadx (Dadx) on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 05:34 pm: Edit

Actually, only Princeton has a pledge in its application. Duke asks who helped you with it, and most of the rest seem to be silent, although I stand ready to be corrected.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 12:11 am: Edit

Thenamek, at this point I think that answering you is right on edge of a waste of time but I'm game.

First, the applications process is nuts today. I can't defend it.

Second, it is what it is and bitching and moaning about it doesn't change it. If you accept that, then you take the best reasonable shot you can without making any of it a life or death issue.

Third, in many cases, trying for a 50-60 point SAT increase is of dubious utility. But for some students and some schools, given the degree of competition, it's probably worth it. Fwiw, a former admissions officer made the recommendation to me for my D in those terms. Will D die if she doesn't get into Yale? No. Does she want to take the best shot? Yes. Ergo.

Fourth, you are both rude and full of it when commenting on the discussion about my D's SAT score. You came in on the middle of a conversation between Trojan1444 and myself and made yourself a busybody. Trojan and I have exchanged posts here on line for some time and he was being a solicitous of my D's test results as I was of his Georgetown interview. Okay, this conversation is being held in public but anyone commenting on it should be able to read the context. Moreover, you've got your knickers in a twist about the "Eh" because of the way you read it, which is something I'm not going to lose any sleep over. Since in some way I'm my D's proxy on this board and she's aware of my posts to the point of occasionally reading a thread and upon rare occasion sticking her own comment in, it's none of *your* business whether I mention her score in passing or not as long as *she* is cool with it...unless you're an officious busybody that makes everything your business.

Fifth, students will always have access to opinions about writing samples. A number of colleges even have centers devoted to exactly this function. The comments I've offered to any one are consistent with, and probably less in most cases, than students are getting from other sources.

Sixth, fair? What is fair? People find mentors or they don't. It's probably more unfair to other students that we have had household rules grades K-12 like "no TV until the homework is on." Grades, in particular, have a large correlation with academic achievement...ask any teacher at a "Back to School" night. (High correlation also with household income...but that's another story.)
There is no way that you can have a uniformly "fair" process, which is one of the reasons adcoms evaluate apps from as wide a perspective as they do, employ affirmative action, etc.

If you were to talk with anyone who has asked me to look at their essays, you would find that my remarks are along the lines of tone, structure, "fit" for the audience, and a discussion of what it reveals/doesn't reveal about the writer...*very* little of what would be called wordsmithing and what most people do when they look at essays. Funny thing is, I've done less for my D than I've done for some posters but that's another another story. Whups...she just asked my opinion about a verb tense. Your suggestion that students improve their writing independently is tortured...most of the essays I've seen range from decent to outstanding by the time I see do you know whether you've improved or not until you've had feedback? Answer: you don't, because it's too difficult to get outside your own head and make a good evaluation. Otherwise, editors and critics wouldn't exist and readers wouldn't have varied opinions of a work.

Enough. I've got other things to do.

By Momcat (Momcat) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 01:25 am: Edit

Thenamek - Thedad certainly doesn't need me to defend him, but I'm going to anyway.
Your comments are off-base and ill-informed. Thedad, like *many* of the participants in this forum offer to share information they've learned along the way. There is an invaluable pooling of information from many different sources on these boards. No one is forcing you or anyone else to participate or accept any of the advice given here. I would bet large sums of money that the ratio of persons who have benefitted from this information to the number of persons who look for things to p*** and moan about is overwhelming. The fact that a perfect stranger is willing to offer advice to help a nervous kid get through an important essay is reaffirming at the least. I didn't read the infamous "Eh" as a sinister reflection of Thedad's browbeating of his poor daughter, rather his reluctance to boast about her score in the context of explaining how *she* felt about it. Obviously, your mileage varied.. because, IMO, you haven't read enough posts or put in enough time here to make such wide-sweeping judgements about people. Of *course*, all newbie comments are welcome, but personal insults are not.

As far as your further crabbing about all the "What are My Chances" posts, try this - DON'T READ THEM.

By Legacy (Legacy) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 06:49 am: Edit

Well! This has certaintly been one of the most entertaining threads ever to have graced the surface of a CC message board, great entertainment, thanks guys!

Since almost every CC member has put their two cents in, I guess it is my duty to do so also.

We all know that the admissions "game" is unpredictable. I bet anything, there are admissions officers who scan through these message boards and laugh at every one of you for trying to figure out an "edge" on how to get into their ultra-selective school (according to U.S. News, which I'm sure every one of you devours regularly). I am not going to lie, I want to get into a great school also, but not at the cost of studying away my life for a measly 50 points. It's a waste of time and parents who don't stop their kids from attempting to get these 50 stupid points should be ashamed of themselves. No kid, no matter how determined they are, should put themselves through hell to get into an Ivy, this is when parents should draw the line and say "enough."

I really enjoy reading posts about why kids want to go to a school, not for the stats, but because they want to have an amazing experience. I know for a fact that it is not where you go, but how you go. I know that a kid could get just as great of education at a Lewis & Clark just as good as Harvahd. When kids want to go to an Ivy, its for other obvious reason$, than getting a profound education and I think it is the responsibility of the parent to draw the line somewhere.

If you really look at the big picture, going to HPYSM just really doesn't matter and is not worth what kids go through to get there.


By Dadx (Dadx) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 08:46 am: Edit

Well said, Legacy.

One thing that everyone on this board always seems to agree on is that the best selection is self selection.

By Dancer (Dancer) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 09:13 am: Edit

Thenamek to Thedad: "You are a professional writer. Does every applicant have access to an editor of your caliber? What about applicants from rural Alabama or from the ghettos in Calcutta? I'd bet they'd kill to have you edit their essays."

Maybe. But I'd bet just as many applicants would kill for the $600-$700 to take a professional SAT prep course. (BTW, do applicants sign a pledge that their SAT scores were obtained without expensive tutoring from professional services?) LOL, at least Thedad doesn't charge an arm and a leg. Nor does he "write"/"rewrite" anyone's essays. From what I've seen, he offers the same feedback services that any school's English teacher or guidance counselor offers to all students regarding essays and applications - services that also vary in "caliber" depending upon the quality of the school and the staff.

I think Thedad should be commended for caring about a bunch of freaked-out seniors he doesn't even know. LOL.

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 09:58 am: Edit

"$600-$700" G_d, I wish it had been that cheap.

Lay off the Thedad. He's one of the absolute best, most helpful contributors to this board.

By Dancer (Dancer) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 03:35 pm: Edit

LOL, Tsdad - I was just citing what one professional session costs around here. And I agree with you about Thedad.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 03:55 pm: Edit

Wow, what a week of posts! What I missed with too many meetings at work and apps to help my D with.

CC is indeed a strange world - lots of the blind leading the blind; lots of speculation with little basis; some outright misleading statements.

Buried within all this are some real gems. Xiggi's links to real 3rd party data; first hand reports "from the trenches"; comments from all over the world showing differing interests and objectives; one of the rare meeting grounds for high school kids and adults?

Since the world of college admissions is not a search for truth, wouldn't it be better if we spent less time judging motives and other personal factors, and more time finding out what works and what does not?

Thedad and others, yes, the application is nuts, but only because WE have made it so by our obsessive pursuit of the same small number of schools. I will be so glad when this year is done so that I never see the initials HYP(S,M,xyz...) again. Yes, my D is applying. Yes, it would be nice if she got in, maybe. OTOH, maybe not. She might be better off in the honors program at a major state university, and my savings account would be much better. And, I've said before and will repeat here that maybe I don't want her to be part of a club that is so elitist that people fight over a few points on the SAT in order to be part of it. If the adcoms really would hold her 1490 against her, that's the school's problem, not her's (or mine). But hey, these are just my views. My D was in one of the local hot ticket prep schools for middle school. She left to go to the local public high school "zoo", and it was the best move she ever did.

By Thenamek (Thenamek) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 07:05 pm: Edit

1. DadX: From the Common Application:

"I certify that all information in my application, including my Personal Statement, IS MY OWN WORK [my caps], factually true, and honestly presented."

2. Dancer: No, they don't, and that's my point. (Although perhaps they should - prep courses are unfair as well - I don't think Princeton Review gives financial aid, although the effectiveness of these programs is debatable.)

3. Massdad: All you say is true, and you should be commended for saying it. However, I would add one thing: education IS about the search for the truth, and that should be the goal of all students. Colleges should be chosen based on how well they will facilitate each student's quest for enlightenment. It might sound corny, but it shouldn't be.

And I fear that this ideal has been hopelessly obscured by our society. Wouldn't it be so much nicer if we could talk about books or ideas instead of having to worry about this whole thing (and yes, I admit I do worry about it, though I try hard not to)?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 07:38 pm: Edit

"It is my own work."

There's a distinction between something being your own work and something being done in an absolute vaccuum.

Some of the longer school assignments go through multiple drafts, receiving comments both from the teacher and from peer editors. There is never any question that the final product is "the student's own work."

There is a major difference between having someone write or re-write a paper for you on one hand and telling what works, what doesn't work, what could be stronger, and providing proofreading on another. (Note: it is extremely difficult for *anyone* to proofread his or her own work because they are *too* familiar with it and read what they expect to read, not necessarily what's on the paper.)

If Thenamek does not understand this difference, he (she)has more problems that I can--or am willing to--deal with. Which I think is the case in any event.

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