Winning the Heart of the College Admissions Dean: An Expert's Advice for Getting into College

By Gordon, Susan | Career Planning and Adult Development Journal, Winter 2006 | Go to article overview

Winning the Heart of the College Admissions Dean: An Expert's Advice for Getting into College


Gordon, Susan, Career Planning and Adult Development Journal


Winning the Heart of the College Admissions Dean: An Expert's Advice for Getting into College, by Joyce Slay ton Mitchell 2005. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press 189 pages, Softcover, $14.95

Intended Audience: E, F

Major Headings from Table of Contents:

Developing Your College List; Applying to College; A Word to Wise Parents.

How is the book most useful for its intended audience?

Its intended audience is high-school students and their parents. It is most effective if read early in a student's high-school career (by sophomore year), and revisited throughout the college admissions process. Reading this book can help apply some level of sanity to the currently insane college admissions process.

The top five things you learned from reading this book:

Students shouldn't worry about having a "first-choice" school, but should focus on identifying eight or so schools that they would be happy with. If a student achieves 650-650-650 on SATs, that is fine. Don't worry about bringing up the scores; no school will reject those scores and, in fact, it is other factors that will get you in. Excellent tips on essay writing - how to keep it personal and keep the admissions officials awake. The importance of developing a contact in the admissions office, when possible. The wait list can be viewed as "late decision," and the author provides good strategies on how to approach wait listing.

While Winning the Heart of the College Admissions Dean is designed for students and their parents as they embark on the college admissions quest, it is equally useful for those counselors and advisors who work with high-school students and their parents. Joyce Slayton Mitchell shares her experience honed over years of advising private-school students in their quests to obtain admission to elite and not-so-elite colleges and universities.

This guide provides the practitioner with practical tips and insights for guiding students through what is an overwhelming and arguably insane process. The book is framed with Seven Key Assumptions to empower students who may feel that they have little control over the admissions process. Students are told that "you are in charge," "to be authentically and specifically you," and to "personalize the process." Helpful hints are included in these assumptions, such as the mantra to choose eight first-choice colleges. Mitchell also reminds students (and their parents!) that the college market really is not a tight market; there are many schools with different cultures and high academic standards which can be a great match. …

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