college admissions feedback

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This may well be the wrong forum to bring this up on, but I can think of no better one immediately, so here goes:  for the first time in my k-12 teaching career, I had a senior who I thought was a great candidate for admission to Dear Alma Mater.  I essentially strongarmed him into applying, because he had set his sights far too low, and has gotten a swath of acceptances to many lower- and mid-tier places, most of which he would not actually be able to afford to attend anyhow, seeing as they do not have the bucks for adequate financial aid (this was another reason I wanted him to go to DAM, since they do give excellent aid to all admits).  Sadly, he has informed me that he was rejected.  Competition is of course really stiff there, and I knew I could not guarantee him his acceptance.  That said, I am somewhat disheartened by the fact that the Admissions office there did not send me the same sort of explanatory letter they send to alumni parents whose kids are to be rejected-- I realize this is not precisely the same relationship, but there is a relationship nonetheless, and DAM sends me a dozen or more fundraising missives annually, for instance.  I also have two superior juniors, at least as good-- probably better-- candidates in the pipeline for next year, and I want them to apply and have the best chance to be accepted.  I have as such been mulling sending an email to the admit office asking for feedback, but I want to word it correctly.  I certainly do not want to come off as a whiny alum who is trying to ask for special privileges or strongarm the school into changing its mind.  There is also the real possibility, something hinted at by the boy back in January, that he did not actually complete all the required application steps-- he told me he never got around to taking one of the required SAT II tests but that he had contacted the admit dept and was told that they would consider his application anyhow.  I am not exactly sure what this means, or what the truth here would be... thoughts?

Do you have any kind of relationship with those in the Admission Office? We all get the solicitations for donations and a computer generates that. You need to make friends with someone in Admissions in order to get the feedback you want about your student applicants and to find out what they are looking for. I worked as a student recruiter for my alma mater for 2-3 years when I was a student. What people think some universities are looking for is often WRONG.

You've got to send Alma money to have clout.

Quote from: kaysixteen on April 08, 2013,  4:21:20 pm

...he did not actually complete all the required application steps...

Any applicant who does not complete the required application steps after 90 days are sent automatic rejection letters here. If they cannot be bothered to finish an application, they usually do not bother with graduating.

Hmmmm.  I have recommended some kids, too, and rarely do they get accepted (or even waitlisted), even when they have 4.0+ GPAs and perfect/near perfect test scores.  I certainly don't expect an explanation from the Admissions Office, although I have a friend that works there.  In fact, due to FERPA, I don't think Admissions can legally tell us whether students we recommend have been accepted.

In any case, from what I understand, our letters would only make a difference if the student is actually on the borderline.  It doesn't sound as though this student was, and I don't think you should take it personally. 

In particular, if the student presented the admissions committee with an incomplete application (with missing test scores), his chances wouldn't have been very good anyhow, and I think the frustration should be directed at him.


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