Originally Posted by indigo
The removal of standardized tests as admissions criteria, has resulted in a 33%-42% increase in applications...

the desired benefit should be: extending need-blind offers to students prepared for a rigorous curriculum, and who can recognize opportunities others may overlook while screening out students gaming the system, and/or presenting falsified credentials,

I think that the huge influx of applications, as was was seen with Harvard ED, is the pressure of admissions officiers to go through them and make good evaluations, -- like if there are falsified credentials. It is so hard to check things now -- if they started a business etc.

Just in the statistics that around 750 got in from over 10,000 applications, less than 1000 were rejected and 8K+ were deferred shows how hard it is to determine who is exceptional and who is not. 8K+ that seem OK to be Harvard students. They just weren't sure. And I believe all those apps are need blind.

Without those standardized test scores, it seems that differentiating just got harder. And it seems, on college confidential, that those with scores (and good scores) got in.

DD had to find stuff for volunteer hours and to replace a leadership plan where she was blocked. It turned out that the alternative turned out to be ten times better than what she had originally planned. And there was no way of knowing that it would turn out so good in the beginning. Sometimes you get lucky in that regard to extracurriculars. And with covid, sometimes it was almost impossible to find anything.

I am listening to these podcasts by some woman from Toronto, class of 2019 Harvard. You pay $15 and she covers a topic. Some stuff is really good, some stuff ridiculous. Like for volunteering: you can go volunteer in a hospital. No you can't, there is covid. They won't let you in as a teen. Just an example, where her track is different than for kids now.

And letters of recommendation. Here teachers are seeing her a handful times in a 15 week period. That was fall when it was hybrid. But since they closed down again for 6 weeks after Christmas, these teachers will see her maybe just a few times. There is no relationship. And none of the teachers she has now, she had before except comp sci. If some kids are all online, do they have any relationship with teachers to get stellar recommendations?

I think about packaging. I look at these consultants and I don't want to pay 15-20K for stuff I don't think she needs. But I look at her summary and see a box of great stuff, but it isn't packaged like a Williams Sonoma window. I wonder if it is worth it to pay for the packaging. How to highlight the stuff she is doing. There is talk about the essay as being the packaging star, the ad jingle of your app. Is that enough with an ever surging number of applications that look like yours, where 50% of the essays are compelling since everyone knows that now. What will the articles be about in two years to strategically place your college app? Anyone have a good psychic to tell us now?