Mimi Doe: Debunking the Top College Admissions Myths
As school begins and many families are thinking about college, I thought this was the perfect time to share this article about college admissions.
I recently began coaching a fascinating woman and award winning author Mimi Doe, co-founder of Application Bootcamp (ABC). ABC is a 4-day live event that teaches students to learn and understand how they can better their applications as well as their chances of being admitted into the best colleges.
Being that I have two kids that will soon begin the journey into college admissions, I found Mimi to be an invaluable resource when it comes to knowing the real issues that matter when a student is trying to gain entry into a top university. She demystifies the common myths we all hear about during the college application process. During our discussion, Mimi explained that it takes more than top grades and high standardized test scores to get into top universities. All of us know that there are only a finite number of spots available in each institution and often 35,000 A+ students from around the world are vying for these slots. Students today cannot expect to get admitted solely by their grades as there are several other important pieces that help to make a student the most desirable applicant. Mimi shared her wisdom with me about her favorite topic:
Debunking the Top College Admissions Myths
CEO Coaching International (CEOCI): What is the most common myth in regards to gaining entry into a top college?
The most common myth lies in the idea that the #1 ranked student in a graduating class will land a spot in a top college. Every year about 40% of the students accepted at Harvard and other Ivy League schools have a “hook” (an athletic recruit, minority status or a development/VIP connection). This leaves only 60% of the slots available for those valedictorians and top ranked students who are also seeking admission. If we think about it, there is a top ranked student in every graduating class of every school in every city. How many cities are there in your state? Also, how many top students are there from other countries who are want to apply and attend top U.S. institutions? This is not to say that students should not try to aim for the #1 or #2 rank in their class, but this distinction is just the starting point for admission into top tier colleges today.
So if a 4.0+ GPA is not enough, what about having strong standardized test scores?
Choosing which standardized tests to take and when will definitely impact ones odds of selection. A high score on appropriate standardized tests, in addition to going above and beyond getting superb grades is what gets a student noticed. So, we work with students to craft a personalized testing plan. High schools often leave it to the student to figure out the tangled web of standardized college testing. SAT Subject Tests, for instance, may not be required for admission into your dream school. Regardless, top candidates will be submitting 3, 4, or even 5 subject test scores taken since freshman year with many of those scores ranging in the high 700s. The ACT with Writing or the SAT is required at all top schools, so we help our students figure out early on which test suits them best. Like anything, there is a strategy on how to leverage one’s ability to maximize test results.
This sounds quite complex and almost mysterious. How does your program debunk the myths and help students get into the schools of their choice?
We run a 4 day intensive program for students during the summer before their senior year. We teach them how to make their college application stand out and get noticed when it’s time to submit that all important application package. We like to think that we make the non-transparent quite clear. Before rising seniors join us in this 4 day event in August, we will have written a comprehensive report for each student and laid out a plan that specifies which courses they should take and what types of activities they should pursue during the summers to deepen an academic niche.
We also work in a one on one capacity with a limited number of students. Between their sophomore and senior year we show them how to become a high impact student, with specific instructions on how to go above and beyond the norm. We set the expectations for the entire family about what colleges/universities best fit the particular student. Knowledge is power and it is vital for both the student and the parents to know where the student stands in the admissions process so we can help them go for a win.
When is the best time to start college counseling? Is senior year simply too late?
It’s never too late – we can always create a strategy to improve a student’s chances of entry no matter where they are in the process. But we have found the greatest success when students work with us one-on-one beginning in the fall of their sophomore year. In fact 96% of those who do start at this time usually get into the college of their choice. That being said, Application Boot Camp students also enjoy amazing results in regards to creating a high level application that includes strong academics with impressive activities outside of the high school experience. We just finished our second session of ABC here in Cambridge, Massachusetts two weeks ago and I am always so impressed with the caliber of writing resulting in the personal essay portion of the program. From the first draft to the tenth draft it is so rewarding to see a personal essay develop into one that that is both memorable and relevant. We know what college admissions officers are seeking so we help students make their story come alive on paper thus making a great impression on those very officers who are reading these essays.
What is your vision for the future?
My partner and I have been counseling students for 13 years and we are thrilled with our company’s growth. We want to be able to offer this service in numerous locations throughout the United States. We have also had requests from around the world to work with schools, deliver customized events, and we have been asked by families outside of the U.S. if we could work directly with their students. Although this is exciting, the reality is that currently we have a limited capacity as well as a limited number of qualified counselors. My vision is to find a way to help more students understand and conquer the college admissions process while limiting the heartbreak and stress that often occurs when navigating through the maze of high school into college. We set out to make what seems non-transparent crystal clear, and in doing so, we help students position themselves for success. Achieving this vision is directly dependent on taking what we have built so far and leveraging it into something larger, and farther reaching which will enable us to impact more students in their quest for college admission.
For more information, contact Mimi Doe at Mimi@ApplicationBootCamp.com or visit www.ApplicationBootCamp.com