In a favorite book of mine, The Phantom Tollbooth, one of the delightful characters the reader meets up with is Dodecahedron (named after a mathematical shape with twelve sides). He introduces himself in the following manner: â€œMy angles are many. My sides are not few.â€ Those words have always struck me as a pretty good description of the admissions process not only at Princeton, but at many similar colleges and universities as well. In any event, as you approach the college admissions process, with its many angles and sides, I’ve been thinking about what advice might be useful to share with you were we able to have a conversation. While a printed letter may be a poor substitute for a conversation, I’ve nevertheless jotted down a few of things I’d say if given the opportunity to meet with you in person.
First of all, I would assure you that I don’t envy you the task of selecting the colleges to which you should apply or the ultimate task of having to choose from among those that offer you admission. I would then inform you that I don’t think there are any useful tools (like Harry Potter’s â€œSorting Hatâ€) available to simplify the decisions required by these tasks. They are, after all, some of the most significant decisions you will make in your life, and they worth as much time and effort as you can reasonably put into them.
My next post will include some advice on how to begin the process of deciding where to apply. Remember, I am not promising shortcuts. I am simply offering some thoughts that may help guide your efforts. Good luck!