Category Archives: Common Mistakes

Common Mistake: Parental Blindness

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..

Common Application Mistake: Telling the Admissions Committee What You Think They Want to Hear

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,..

Common Application Mistake: Applying to a School for All The Wrong Reasons

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..