Panel of Experts

Karl Schellscheidt

SAT Prep Expert

  • BSE, Princeton University '90
  • M.A., Secondary Education Seton Hall University '93
  • J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School '00

Fred Hargadon

Dean of Admission

  • Swarthmore College
    (1964-1969)
  • Stanford University
    (1969-1984)
  • Princeton University
    (1988-2003)

Don Betterton

Financial Aid Expert

  • Director of Financial Aid, Princeton University (1973-2006)
  • Certified College Planner
  • Principal, Betterton College Planning

Seamus Malin

Admission Expert

  • Harvard University
    Dir. of Financial Aid
    (1966-1977)
    Asst. Dean of Admission
    (1977-1987)
    International Office Director
    (1987-2002)

Admissions Advice to High School Students: Part 7 of 7

Fred Hargadon

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comSome Final Exhortations Before You Get Started

Keep a clear head.

Keep an open mind.

Don’t take shortcuts.

Be realistic, but don’t be afraid to aim high.

Don’t rely on myths, rumors, or anecdotes.

Don’t stereotype people or colleges.

Seek advice, but make up your own mind.

Don’t generalize from small samples. (For example, if the only person you know who happened to have been admitted by a particular college last year ranked first-in-the-class, it hardly means that that college admits only students who rank first-in-the-class!) In other words, don’t confuse the local with the universal.

Don’t rule out any college simply because it seems out of reach financially. Keep in mind that if you are offered admission and the financial aid offered appears inadequate, you can always turn the college down. The one sure way to not be admitted and not know whether financial aid would make the college affordable is not to apply in the first place.

Be yourself. (Okay . . . yourself at your best, but yourself nonetheless).

Keep things in perspective and keep a sense of humor.

Make sure your application is your own work.

Remember that you are probably far more interesting just as you are, warts and all, than any “ideal applicant” you are likely to imagine.

Think of college as a seven-year experience in terms of those you will meet: those in your class, those in the three classes ahead of you, and those in the three classes that follow.

Keep in mind that no matter which college you attend, it’s a good idea to remember that “Batteries Are Not Included,” and “Some Assembly Is Required.”

However much you sweat over the college admissions process, be sure to take the long view. Nowhere is it written that life begins or ends with the college admission process.

Finally, read the instructions first. Always read the instructions first.

Well, of advice there’s no end. But I hope that I’ve provided you with at least one preliminary roadmap of sorts to help you as you start thinking about college.

Good luck.

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