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    #245744 - 06/26/19 03:56 AM packaging for college
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1464
    This is a tangent from Ivy League admissions. Has anyone started "packaging" for college? With this whole Harvard lawsuit, it brings up the packaging done for college. Whether you focus on community development, rowing, specialty interests, is your kid creating a package? There were 2 kids accepted into Stanford from DD's school. Toronto based school. One, is American, a world champion speaker, perfect SAT scores. The other one is Canadian, decent in her extracurriculars, except she was elected co-captain (no president of student council, just 2 co-captains that oversee more than student council) 98th percentile in SAT, essay was OK, but she had been involved in an indigineous people's research project since 8th grade with a professor at the university. So this was definitely holistic admission. Showing leadership and initiative.
    I am going to admit, we are packaging. DD is going into 10th grade. She is focused on a specialty area within technology and spending time in a this specialty in a camp this summer. Also sailing competitively. Has a plan. She also has great scores (knock on wood). Was perfect on her end of year math exam. But I hear about others doing rowing, the extracurricular du jour, which was fencing 10 years ago.
    Maybe it is a function of starting this process in NYC, where planning starts at birth. And now being in Toronto within an academic private that is 80%+ Chinese.
    I will add that the plan has evolved and changed with DD's interests. It just happened that we are on Lake Ontario, she loves sailing and it is a great recruiting sport. And her academic interest is unique and requires certification in certain things so shows your application of effort in your interests.

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    #245745 - 06/26/19 04:37 AM Re: packaging for college [Re: Wren]
    cricket3 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 633
    To be blunt, no. My kids did what excited and interested them and things where they could spend time with their friends, which usually overlapped. Also, there is no possible way my kids would do this, even if there was pressure from their parents.

    Please donít take this the wrong way, but this is my take at a competitive public high school with a large number of status-conscious families, including some foreign-born families who move to our area so solely that their kids can attend the high school.


    These families do what you are describing here. Parents have strong say in their schedules, both academic and extracurricular. These are the kids who are forced to drop piano after not winning an important competition. They drop out of ensembles if they are not awarded the chair seating they wanted. They participate in the school extracurriculars that are showy or compete on a high level even if their interests are elsewhere (being primarily involved in a science extracurricular and then applying as a business major seems particularly common). Some of them start non-profits, seemingly out of the blue (ie, not following a long-held interest or activity). They often jump from activity to activity, looking for that leadership spot or some other elusive award. They are cutthroat about grades and secretive about summer opportunities and other ways kids can distinguish themselves. They seem extremely grade-conscious, stressed, and view other students primarily as their competitors.

    I believe most selective schools can see straight through this for what it is. The kids seem to have little sense of self, and I suspect their essays and interviews (which I know are rare and often not even offered) show this. Most of these sorts seem to go to fine schools, but they are often not the top couple they are aiming for (but sometimes they are). I guess I personally donít understand it at all- how could this possibly be worth it? On top of this, my kids actively refused to look at colleges that seemed to attract this type of applicant- 4 years of high school with it was more than enough.

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    #245751 - 06/26/19 07:32 PM Re: packaging for college [Re: cricket3]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4139
    Well said, cricket3.
    smile

    BTW, Here is the link to the thread "Ivy League Admissions" mentioned by the OP:
    http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...html#Post162144

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    #245752 - 06/26/19 08:15 PM Re: packaging for college [Re: Wren]
    Kai Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 579
    No packaging whatsoever here. In fact, if there is any "package," it is an antipackage. Everything my son has done in high school has been motivated by who he is--not what how he wants to appear to college admissions committees. And if that means that the only places that will have him are second string schools, so be it.

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    #245765 - 06/28/19 06:48 AM Re: packaging for college [Re: Wren]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1464
    I think it is more of NYC thing. Some of the people we keep in contact with are doing it. Some kids in rowing, a couple at very high levels in tennis. One in diving, from gymnastics. Since gymastics was not strong, but diving is less competitive. I was a little shocked when DD was in 8th grade (the school goes 7-12) and hearing all these mothers talking about US admissions and the talk about consultants. One wanted to push her daughter into sailing, despite the kid not wanting it, to distinquish her from other Chinese ethnic students. Thanks for the link indigo. Wasn't on the board much then. And now that she is getting older, and the whole lawsuit, thinking about it. But I agree you cannot push your kid into any activity they don't want to do and expect them to excel. If my kid didn't love sailing, they would not allow her to race and she wouldn't have a sailing CV. So it cannot be done. My point was taking the things they want to do and making it work. On the link indigo posted, Bostonian mentioned college confidential. I peruse the pages after EA. And it is really interesting the kids that get in with lower scores compared to the kids with high scores that get waitlisted or rejected. It is always a choice to say I don't want to pay the dues to join that club, and that is always something I say to my kid. You have choices to go to a CDN university for much less money with scores being the only determining factor. Since we see that here, it is really competitive for some programs.

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    #245766 - 06/28/19 07:28 AM Re: packaging for college [Re: Wren]
    cricket3 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 633
    Originally Posted By: Wren
    I think it is more of NYC thing.


    I donít.

    Though in NY state, we are more than several hundred miles from NYC, certainly not an area known for educational excellence (though the further we have travelled this journey, the more I have come to recognize that our school does do pretty well by most students). Many, many schools like ours exist across the northeast and in metropolitan areas across the nation- I know, as our kids met other kids from these schools at national competitions, and we (both our family personally but also our school) were small-time as far as that kind of thing goes. There are families like this everywhere, though I donít think the college consultant thing has really penetrated here yet- most people here donít have the disposable income.

    I think itís an SES/status thing, with some desperation/cynicism/realities about the future thrown in.

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    #245767 - 06/28/19 08:29 AM Re: packaging for college [Re: Wren]
    Pemberley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 729
    Interesting Ė DD and I were having a discussion this morning that is tangential to this. She is an avid history buff and has been involved in a revolutionary war reenactment group for several years. As a part of this she has engaged in some significant independent research on a topic that has not been typically explored or presented by many reenactors. She is working on a children's or young adult story/book based on this research and has been invited to speak at local museums and schools about the topic. She really wants to be an advocate for special needs kids and I said to her just this morning that if she is successful in publishing the story that she will have even more credibility in her advocacy than just her successful 2E journey. i mean who wouldn't respect a teenager who has done these things?

    I think that being a published author and public speaker as a teenager would look like a pretty significant "package" for college application. But this is not the purpose or the intent. It's just something that she is genuinely passionate about doing.

    Maybe that's the point and something that admissions officers are probably pretty savvy about. When kids put on a show of being involved in activities they are not really passionate about I doubt it will carry as much weight as the real deal. When a kid has a serious long-term interest in something it is likely to resonate better with an admission's committee just as Cricket pointed out above...

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    #245768 - 06/28/19 11:15 AM Re: packaging for college [Re: Wren]
    ashley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/26/12
    Posts: 635
    I live in an area where the packaging game has been perfected to an art-form (think paying 5-6 figures to a consultant at 8th grade who will organize trips to third world countries for the next 4 years for community service, help set up non-profits at age 14, send kids over to train with fencing, rowing and archery coaches who have connections to college coaches) etc. These kids write essays about how life-changing it was to work in an orphanage in some unheard-of village in a remote country and think of 30 other kids in that group writing about the same experience and it begins to look repetitive.

    With the game being played at that level, chances are that admissions officers can see through all the packaging easily because if you look carefully, there is a formula that is being used to game the system which is easy to spot. I believe that with the admissions scandals ongoing, the elite universities are going to be more vigilant about packaging.

    In our case, we are not packaging.

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    #245769 - 06/28/19 12:38 PM Re: packaging for college [Re: Pemberley]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1464
    Originally Posted By: Pemberley


    I think that being a published author and public speaker as a teenager would look like a pretty significant "package" for college application. But this is not the purpose or the intent. It's just something that she is genuinely passionate about doing.

    Maybe that's the point and something that admissions officers are probably pretty savvy about. When kids put on a show of being involved in activities they are not really passionate about I doubt it will carry as much weight as the real deal. When a kid has a serious long-term interest in something it is likely to resonate better with an admission's committee just as Cricket pointed out above...


    This is what I am talking about. The kid pretty much pursues their interests, but the packaging, is like this works for college. And yes, it isn't just paying to volunteer in some village in Uganda.

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    #245771 - 06/28/19 03:18 PM Re: packaging for college [Re: Wren]
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 66
    I've been reading a lot about this recently and about how the colleges have responded.

    My general understanding is that the schools have stopped looking for how much you've done and instead are trying to see how elite you are in something.

    So, it's better to be at a national level in 1 activity than to be regional level in 2 activities or state level in 3.

    I mentioned in another thread how many kids (in the absolute sense) score in the top 1% of the SAT or ACT. So, to be elite academically ends up requiring so much more than just top test scores.

    Athletically, academically, artistically, etc.

    I think the whole thing is fascinating. MY kid is 5 so I'm sure what colleges are looking for will change again before I have to start really thinking about it.

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