Aug 01, 2015


A Is For Admission: An Insider’s Guide to Getting Into Ivy League & Other Top Colleges

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Book Pages is our weekend book series where we share pages from books we love, and let you decide if you want more.

Today’s featured books is “A Is For Admissions” by Michele A. Hernandez, EdD, the former assistant director of admissions at Dartmouth College.

If you want your child to be a competitive applicant for college admissions, you gotta read this book.  It is full of insider’s information, insight and smart commentary.  And if you’re a geek like us, you’ll love Dr. Hernandez’ geeky passion for stats and her commentaries on college admissions.

Dr. Hernandez demystifies the college admissions process, gives you the real truth, and tells you how to make this complicated process work for your child.  She answers key questions such as:

  • What do admissions officers look for and what turns them off?
  • How are test scores and grades truly evaluated?
  • Does applying for early decision hurt or help students get into the college of your choice?
  • How can you improve the odds of acceptance at a time when more people are applying to college than ever before?
  • and more…

Here’s an excerpt from the book, from chapter 2:  “The Timetable through High School: Is Kindergarten too Early?

I believe, and I speak from my experience of reading the applications of both U.S. and foreign students, that inherently smart children who are stimulated by learning can learn just as much from reading at home as they can in the fanciest schools.  It is no surprise that the students who get 800 on the verbal SAT scores are always the ones who were read to a lot and then developed a real love of reading as they grew up.  Even if they were not challenged in school, these children could read in their spare time and thus learn many of the skills necessary to succeed in college.

I believe that if you can read and write well, the rest will follow.  Those who are gifted in math but who are weak readers will ultimately stand a lesser change of acceptance at top colleges (unless they apply to very technologically oriented colleges such as Cal Tech and MIT), since it is far more typical to see a strong math/science student than to see a standout humanities student.  My advice to parents is not to fixate on which prekindergarten or kindergarten school offers the best programs.

The truth is, it’s not the level of competitiveness in these early years that makes children smarter later on, but, rather, the intellectual stimulation and reinforcement they get at home from their parents and siblings.  A love of learning and reading is almost always instilled in students in the home, not in the school.  There are plenty of brilliant students who were sent to very ordinary, not particularly distinguished schools all their lives and still manage to shine, just as there are many average students who have attended the finest schools from prekindergarten to high school.

Pages 11 and 12, from A Is For Admissions.

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Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Dr. Perez-Litwin is the Founder & CEO of ELLA Leadership Institute, a multi-platform professional development organization designed to advance the careers and leadership of women. She's the creative force behind the LATINAS THINK BIG™ national tour, sponsored and live-streamed by Google.

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