A recent New York Times article on colleges' use of social media in the application process -- They Loved Your G.P.A. Then They Saw Your Tweets -- has generated a lot of hysterical headlines in the last few days.
University of Virginia may well have the richest history of any institution of higher learning in the country. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 -- the first class entered in 1825 -- the Founding Father, third President of the United States and principal author of the Declaration of Independence considered it to be one of his greatest achievements. The school was built on land purchased by the fifth President of the United States James Monroe. And when the cornerstone of the university's first building was laid, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and the fourth President of the United States James Madison were all in attendance.
If you've been reading, worrying about, or altogether avoiding the new Common Application which went live on August 1st, here's a 3-part plan for a stealth approach from Dr. StrangeCollege. We particularly love the advice from the blog of one of our favorite Deans, Jeannine Lalonde of UVA:
In the final installment of our series on the changes to the writing section of the Common Application, Jeannine Lalonde, Senior Assistant Dean of Admission at the University of Virginia -- and the force behind one of our favorite admission blogs "Notes from Peabody" -- joins us to talk about the new essay prompts and the role that the essay plays in admission decisions.
What are your thoughts about the new essay prompts?
I’m on the Common Application’s Apps Advisory Committee and the Outreach Committee shared the questions with us a few months ago. I was impressed with how the questions were defined, yet give the applicants freedom to go in whatever direction feels right to them.
I can still remember sitting in front of a blank piece of paper and being uncertain about how to start a personal statement for my college applications. These questions would have given me a nice jumping off point.
What impact, if any, do you see the new essay prompts having – on both college admission offices and applicants?
For those of you who haven't yet finished submitting applications -- and your parents -- here's some great guidance from one of our favorite deans: Jeannine Lalonde of University of Virginia. We couldn't agree more with her recent post on Notes from Peabody. Check it out here. And, FYI, we have extensive and detailed commentary on the Common Application in our book, Chapter 14, The Application Form.