College Confidential


art by Maddy Mueller

Alice Yu

[heading size=”16″ margin=”10″]Students give insight into college applications, admissions process[/heading]
art by Maddy Mueller
art by Maddy Mueller
If senior Delaney Tevis decided to take a road trip and spend one day visiting each of the colleges she applied to, she’d be forced to take a two-week vacation. Luckily, she began touring universities during the spring break of her junior year.
After visiting secondary education institutions like Grinnell College, Drake University, Northwestern University-Chicago, and the University of Wisconson in the spring, Tevis spent summer break touring the east coast Ivy League schools.
Exposing herself to college atmospheres in the North, on the east coast and in the Midwest, Tevis was able to narrow down her final list to a grand total of 14 colleges and universities.
“It’s important to visit colleges because you get a different feeling from them than you would just reading about them,” Tevis said. “When you think about the Ivy Leagues, you imagine them all being wonderful, but I ended up hating Yale. I thought I wasn’t going to like Harvard but I really loved the atmosphere on the campus and of Cambridge. It just surprised me in a lot of ways so I think it’s important to actually visit colleges.
Before students try to mold their high school career to fit the acceptance standards of their “dream” college, they need to make sure the college of their choosing fits their needs and preferences.
“I would pay attention to the location and atmosphere of the surrounding area, not only the institution,” RBHS alumna Esther Liu, who is currently a freshman at Vanderbilt University, said. “These aspects of college life are often underrated but really shape the community you build in college.”
The guidance office provides opportunities for students to get more in-depth understanding of a college by inviting college admission officers to RBHS, but many students pass up those chances and miss out on a potential college match.
“The big one is having the college reps come here on our campus to meet with students and sadly, that’s one of the most underutilized resources we have,” guidance counselor Leslie Kersha said. “When a college admissions officer comes here, they’re wanting to meet with our students and sometimes they have only two or three students. My hope would be that more students would be utilizing these opportunities.”
Along with college visits and research, students should make sure that their grades and transcripts reflect their academic abilities.

“If there’s something that you love doing in high school that is productive and stimulating, don’t stop doing it just because you need time to do ‘resume builders’ or ‘application stuffers’ because college admission reps really see through meaningless activities.” —Esther Liu, RBHS alumna”

“The primary focus for any student applying to college should be academics,” University of Missouri-Kansas City admissions officer Christin Tolle said. “Before anything else, a school is going to review a student’s high school curriculum.”
For UMKC, the automatic admission requirements are similar to CPS graduation requirements; four credits of English, three credits of science, three credits of social studies, and one credit of fine arts. The admission requirements for Ivy League schools, such as Stanford, are more focused on accelerated, honors or Advanced Placement courses, according to Stanford’s admission webpage.
After reviewing grade-point averages and ACT/SAT scores, admission officers move on to extracurriculars, looking at volunteer hours and internships. Students should show full dedication to one of their passions.
“After academics, schools will look at a student’ involvement in extracurricular activities,” Tolle said. “This doesn’t mean that a student needs to be a part of every student organization [or] sports team. What colleges like to see is that a student has made a commitment to at least one organization and has hopefully show[n] leadership in that organization.”
In addition to keeping grades up and checking out the college’s environment and surroundings, students should also make sure to try to fulfill their individual passions. Pushing aside interests to adopt what they think the college expects diminishes their unique identity, Liu said.
“If there’s something that you love doing in high school that is productive and stimulating, don’t stop doing it just because you need time to do ‘resume builders’ or ‘application stuffers’, because college admission reps really see through meaningless activities,” Liu said. “Doing what is important to you is ultimately what will take you farthest in life and in college.”
By Alice Yu