Article By: Alice Ye
How would you like to be on the other end of the college admissions process for once? Well, every year, the High School Counseling Department (HSCD) holds a mock admissions trial early in the second semester to show Juniors and their parents how college admissions work. This mock trial is a simulation which allows parents and students to sort through a pile of varied fake student applications, consisting of personal essays, transcripts, teacher recommendations and predicted IB and SAT scores, to determine which students are accepted, or not, to a fictitious “Franklin University”.
Over the course of the next few weeks, the HSCD will hold three U.S. Mock Admissions evenings from 5-6:30pm: on the 10th, 16th and 24th of February, aimed specifically at students planning to apply to colleges in the US. The HSCD describes it as a “hands on, interactive session” that focuses on the process US colleges go through after they receive student applications. These trials are considered excellent opportunities for juniors and their parents to “gain valuable insight on how student college applications are read and assessed by US institutions”. Mr. Mcqueen, one of the grade 11-12 IB counselors, hopes it will “help give juniors and parents a clear idea why each part of the application is so important” and clarify “what universities look for and what’s important to them”.
Ysabel Ayala, a junior who attended the session on the 10th, said what surprised her the most was how “easily [she] could find out how authentic people were just through their essays.” These essays also seemed to play a large part in determining a student’s admittance; Ysabel said the process was “very personal” because they had to judge people based on what they thought they were like. To sum it up, “if you really didn’t like a person’s essay, it [was] hard to be objective in the other factors”. Mr Mcqueen agreed, saying the essay had to “resonate with the reader”. Because the admissions officers had so little time to judge everyone, the juniors and their parents learned how important it was to have an application that would “make an impression”.
This mock trial is also a good way for juniors to learn exactly what colleges look for in prospective students as a very holistic approach is taken and colleges look not only at a student’s academic history, but also many other aspects, such as extracurricular activities and interests. It also serves as a good reminder that the process is, in fact, very intimate, and Mr Mcqueen advises students not to “take a rejection personally” as the entire process is certainly “very human”.