December 4, 2006

The Swarm of the Super-Applicants

How are these for alarming statistics: With more students than ever applying to college—a full 1.2 million more last year than in 2000—not even flawless SAT scores can open doors at Harvard, which rejects one in four applicants with a perfect 2400. Is your kid ranked first in his class? So are some 36,000 others: Last year, Penn and Duke rejected about 60 percent of the valedictorians who applied. If you know anyone in high school (or preschool) you're already aware that the annihilative admissions climate has spawned a new hyperspecies: the college super-applicant. But do so many hours spent filling in practice circles or hunching over petri dishes really work? We recruited some of the area's most credentialed college hopefuls, who gamely volunteered to have their grade-point averages, standardized test scores, after-school pursuits, and academic awards reviewed by Katherine Cohen, CEO and founder of IvyWise, a school-admissions consulting company. Cohen assessed their strengths and weaknesses and made a guess where each student will get in. She stresses, however, that this is only a partial picture; she'd need to see transcripts, essays, AP course load, and written recommendations to make an accurate evaluation. Disclaimer: The following material may not be suitable for anxiety-prone high-school students.


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