Several years back, we commented on
Brown University being featured in
some episodes of 'The O.C.' One of the things we said in that
post was that Brown's
admissions committee isn't likely to look kindly
on future applicants who convey the impression that they want to attend Brown just because
it was on the show, or just because it is part of the Ivy League.
Admissions Consultant Dr. Cleo Leung agrees. In fact, she says, the same
point still holds true for virtually any college or university.
"I think that every school wants to admit a student who genuinely wants
to attend that particular institution – not just for the name that the
school may carry, but for the educational opportunities and resources
that the school offers," she says. "Students really need to take the
time to do the research to find out what makes the school that they are
applying to special – for them. And then they need to mention that
element in their application. This is where specificity is very important.
"To simply say, 'I want to go to X University because of the great
academics,' doesn't tell the admissions committee much. There are a lot
of schools that have strong academic programs. You could go to any one
"But if you mention something specific instead – for example,
mentioning what you liked about a certain class or professor (if you
have had a chance to sit in on a class), or a notable alum who has the
same career track that you aspire to – your reasons for wanting to
attend the school will be much more specific, and therefore more memorable."
Dr. Leung warns applicants not to write about something they don't really
care about just for the sake of appearing to know the school, however.
"The most important thing, I think, is to be authentic," she says. "College
admissions counselors can spot a fake a mile away."
– Senior Consultant Dr. Cleo Leung
evaluated undergraduate applicants for