ForeWord Reviews is pleased to announce the 2012 Book of the Year Awards list of finalists. Representing more than 700 publishers, the finalists were selected from 1300 entries in 62 categories. These books are examples of independent publishing at its finest. “From Preschool to Grad School: Strategies for Success at Any Level of Competitive Admissions” by Kim Palacios is a finalist for the 2012 Book of the Year Awards in the Education category. This ubiquitous guide to navigating admissions in the information age exposes patterns found across application processes and..

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People frequently ask me what preschool admissions officers could possibly hope to achieve through interviewing toddlers. Common logic dictates that it may not be possible, much less appropriate, to compare two- and three-year-olds to their peers. Yet, no authorities have spoken more candidly to me than those working in preschools; last week, the Director of Admissions at a preschool to 12th grade prep school with a track record of sending grads to the Ivy League told me a story that helped crystallize a concept I have struggled to articulate for..

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This is a bit off-topic–something that I originally considered using in Chapter 1 of the book, but ultimately omitted after deciding not to include PhD programs within my spectrum of focus.  I thought I’d write about it here, since some trends in the PhD program world were too interesting to ignore. The story for how hard it is to get into a PhD program is a bit more complicated than the preschool/prep school/college/grad school perspective discussed in the book, given the relationship between PhD program size and university funding. Since..

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It’s alright. You can say it out loud. Direct advice from school admissions committees can be confusing as heck. They’re not trying to confuse you (in fact, their feedback on how to be successful in the admissions process is typically quite honest). But it’s not always stated in terms that are helpful to the untrained ear.   There are logical reasons why “official” guidance may seem cloaked in mystery. For one, admissions committee members must be diplomatic and conservative in what they say. Inside advice can’t be dispensed to some..

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There’s a scene in Miss Congeniality, a well-known movie about a beauty pageant, in which contestants are probed for what they would request, if given just one wish. Each supplies the same answer: world peace. Of course it’s the right answer (if the right answer is one that showcases as many virtuous qualities as possible), but trust me when I tell you that admissions committee members have heard the “world peace” response to short answer and essay questions a thousand times. Not only is the “right answer” unoriginal—in most cases,..

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Are you trying to write a compelling application to a target school and feel like you’re coming up short?  It could be time to go back over the two critical questions (Why this path? Why this school?) and reassess whether the fit is really good after all.   It’s not that applying to school shouldn’t take time, effort, and even a bit of frustration.  Telling a high-quality, cohesive story about your motivations for attending school is no easy task.  Yet, most effort should be spent in crafting the story–not figuring..

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We all make mistakes.  And, unfortunately for some of us, those mistakes will be front and center for admissions committees to see.  If you’ve ever been expelled or suspended, had a longer-than-generally-tolerated spate of bad grades…if your child has bitten, hit, or bullied other children frequently enough to be noted by school administrators, or has exhibited some other bad behavior that is bound to make its way on record, you’ve got some explaining to do.  This posting explores how to handle unflattering information that will appear on your (or your..

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At $500 to $2,500 per course for the more popular outfits, are test prep courses really worth it?  They rarely lower performance, but will they get you better results than studying on your own?  Indeed it is a huge business.  Companies like Kaplan and The Princeton Review offer prep classes for everything from Middle School entrance exams to Graduate School entrance exams to tests of English as a foreign language.  They provide a legitimate, valuable service.  But, what is the payoff, and is it worth the time and money to..

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The word “fit” may be the weightiest, yet least understood, term in school admissions lexicon.  It is thrown around effortlessly by administrators and admissions officials, but applicants aren’t always sure exactly what being “a good fit” means. There are typically two dimensions of“good fit”: the first involves parallels that you, the candidate can bring to the table.  It is your job to let a school know which of your own personal interests, values, goals, and strengths align with or complement that which is offered by that school.  These fit elements..

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