The 3 I’s in a college application: Individuality, independence, intention

Post By: COYD Staff

college admissions adviceAll 3 need to resonate in a student’s application. There has been a lot of talk lately about a parent’s role in a child’s college admission process. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have written articles about how involved parents should get in the admissions process. It was surprising to read that there are parents out there who actually quit their job in order to focus on their child’s college application. Now, we are not going to talk about what amount of parental involvement is wrong or right. Instead, we are going to talk about why admissions officers want to admit students who are self-motivated and know, themselves, why they want to attend their particular university.

First of all, when a student appears completely dependent on their parents, the fate of their college career is uncertain. An admissions officer’s job is to admit a freshmen class that will make the university proud. They want students who will be the nation’s future leaders, students that perform well academically but also students who will contribute to society and the university. A student who seems dependent on their parents might have excellent grades and extracurriculars in high school, but how will the admissions officers know if that student can also perform well in college without parental supervision. It is a common story to hear about a high school valedictorian who fails out their freshmen year of college.

Second, colleges don’t want to admit students who are grudgingly applying to their school. There are plenty of willing and eager students out there who want to attend their college. The last thing they want is to admit a student who is only applying because their parents forced them to. Admissions officers want a freshmen class that is enthusiastic about making the most out of their new college career, students that will get involved in the campus, perform well academically, graduate, and excel in a career that will further promote their university.

Your application needs to show that you are in control and that you are making the decision to apply. Below are few things you should avoid so you can show you are in the driver’s seat:

1. Don’t write in the essay or say in your interview “My parents and I believe….” Or “Because of my parents…”
2. In your essays, use personal experiences to support your thesis. Be as specific as possible.
3. Parents: Do not call the admissions officer to ask them questions about your child’s application.
4. Don’t let your parents write parts of your essay. Admissions officers have read enough essays to know when an adult is writing your essay.
5. When you interview, go by yourself. Have your mom or dad wait in the car or drop you off.
6. Show intention in your decisions. The more passion in the essay, the more believable it is that it was your decision and not your parents.


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