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I’m finally done with applications. The last step: I was locked in a room all week with a few other people to read the review sheets and make final decisions. But here’s a last few random thoughts from reading, to keep my blog from seeming completely dead.

LOVE the teacher who wrote “she does not need you, or any university, to succeed.”

To the Schools

  • Putting a nature picture in the school profile that goes out with the transcript DOES NOT make your student look any better. To me, reading online, it’s just some smudgey black and white crap.
  • Seriously, you’re using Comic Sans on the transcript?
  • I don’t know why there are 4 copies of the transcript, but I’m only gonna look at one.
  • Also, private schools that send like six recommendations? Quit it. I’m only reading the required two. And those counselor letters? Not gonna win me over.
  • Who knew there were AP classes in Lit of the Grotesque and Renaissance Lit?
  • Um, are you creating additional Student Body elected positions (Entertainment Chair?) so that your students look better on college applications?
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I’m sure it’s not fair to hold your sanctimonious tone against you. I think the medium probably encourages that.

So, I’m a lot more willing to overlook some B grades in classes like Ceramics and Theology than in your core academic classes (math, science, English, history).

I was skeptical of the recommendation from your “honors internship” teacher even before you admitted that the class reading including fucking John Grisham.

I’m not prejudiced against you because of your faith. But I am prejudiced because you appear to have let your faith sway you into writing an incomprehensible essay with errors of grammar.

A “Commended National Merit Scholar”? Not really the type of accomplishment I was hoping to read about.

Okay, if you tell me I can call your cell to get more info about this student, I’m impressed.

Finishing that sentence with 4 exclamation marks kinda undermined everything else you said. So does calling a student “the promise of our future.”

When the math teacher just writes in the box instead of attaching a letter, that’s not necessarily an issue. When the English teacher does it? I raise an eyebrow.

Interestingly, most of the time people write a few sentences in the box instead of attaching a letter, they are really good sentences, giving specific examples, as opposed to the vague fluff that tends to fill a letter.

Yeah. Don’t suck up by saying “yours is an outstanding university that will give her the guidance she needs” when you started the letter “to whom it may concern.”

Sir, that recommendation letter was so useful to me I printed it out to rant to other people about it.

Since I’m not looking for a character recommendation, saying you are a family friend actually undermines your credibility.

Huh. Getting a 10 page paper when the assignment was 4-6 pages would not brighten my day. I guess you’re different.

I really don’t know enough about music to understand how you teach analytical thinking and problem solving skills in a band class. You might wanna give me an example of what that means, cause it sounds like you are just hitting some buzzwords.

Oddly, I’m willing to accept “images show a remarkable intelligence” from the photography teacher.

And the accounting teacher who said that the way Stu Dent asked questions helped him find better ways to teach something? I give that credit.

Upon seeing a possibly familiar name on my course roster, I wondered if I’d taught the student before, and I thought “why can’t I ask Banner ‘when did I teach this student?’ and have it return a list of all the classes the student was in with me, when, and the grade received.” I mean, Banner (or whatever system runs your college backend) knows this information.We just don’t have access to it.

So I mentioned it to my associate chair, and she said, “oh, they can probably do it at BigStateSchool, we’re just behind.”

And I said “I bet not.”

Do any of you have the ability to ask the system when you taught a particular student previously?

  • Playing soccer as the only white kid on an all Latino team. That intrigues me.
  • I’m sorry, honey. I was a speedreader as a kid, so I’m not that impressed by you reading 35 books in a summer. Someone else might be.
  • I don’t know WHY you would ask the one teacher who conferred a C upon you to write your letter of recommendation.
  • “With great gifts come great responsibility.” Are you quoting Spiderman in your freaking college essay?
  • You used “effect” as a verb properly! Bonus point for the essay!
  • You know that Special Circumstances box? It’s a good place to explain things like how you spent a year abroad in China, or how it is that you live in Korea. It doesn’t have to be something bad.
  • If the guy teaching engineering thinks you aren’t the smartest kid he’s ever met, I’m not going to hold that against you.

I’m really NOT impressed by the writing of the teacher who is teaching a high school class that ALSO receives credit for basic college composition.

I’m real suspicious of these two letters. Something makes me think maybe the college counselor writes all the letters?

Comic Sans still not okay just because you teach choir.

“I pride myself on being rigorous, but he had more talent than he needed for my class.” That is QUITE a statement.

“ignores conventional wisdom”—good—” and acts according to her own unique idealized reality.” Um.

Dear Chemistry teacher: is “diversity” really the right word to express that the student is well-rounded and helps make group work successful?

I don’t know what you teach in consumer education, but you better tell me if “Stu Dent has over 100% in the class” is going to mean anything. The fact that a student can earn over 100% does not convince me.

When you mention the student got an excellent score on the AP exam, you need to tell me what that was. Because previously a teacher tried to pretend a 3 was an honor grade, and I just don’t think so.

I’m really confused by how this student is enrolled in AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC at the same time.

“I used to define a good student by whether they could effectively communicate how much they knew. Stu Dent has helped me redefine that.” Um, not reassuring.

Telling me you’d trust a student with the passwords to your bank account and email kinda creeps me out, actually.

Judging by these scholarship applications, all of Latin America is overrun by church groups of high schoolers building schools, installing computers, tutoring kids, etc.

“Those who seek public office are targeted by cruel slander and newspaper smear articles.” What’s with these kids and their sympathy for politicians? Also, they invariably claim people run for public office out of their sincere passion to make that world a better place. Let a cynic pick this essay topic, and argue politicians are out for the power, fame, and sex, and I will fight to give you this scholarship no matter your SATs.

“Our Founding Fathers strove for equal representation in government.” If you say so, kid.

Is”25% Slovakian” is worth noting under “Ethnicity”? Slovakian, sure. But a single grandparent?

I’m not sure I’m really convinced by your eloquent defense that never getting a speeding or parking ticket as a teenager is one of your key achievements.

Student shared special circumstance of unemployment, foreclosure, tension at home affecting schoolwork. So I’m expecting to have to balance that against some low GPA, then I look to that section—and student has a 4.0. And 1400 SATs.

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