Students go the extra mile for college acceptance
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
To get an edge in the increasingly competitive admissions race, teenagers across Texas and the country are flocking to math and science camps, visiting faraway places as missionaries and taking courses on Ivy League campuses this summer.
Attending some programs can cost thousands of dollars, and many parents view them as worthwhile investments. But some admissions experts said elite colleges and universities do not give much weight to expensive programs and activities, and a job mowing lawns can look just as good on an application.
“We look for initiative,” said Mark Scheid, an assistant to the president and the acting admissions director at Rice University. “So if you work for your father, that doesn’t get the interest of our (application) readers as much as someone from New York who rode a bus to Cheyenne to learn about being a cowboy.”
The top factors in the admissions process continue to be grades in college preparatory classes, standardized admission tests, grade point average, class rank and application essay, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC.
Private colleges, meanwhile, assign a higher value to the “tip” factors, such as recommendations and work and extracurricular activities, the association found.