By Angie Argabrite, Wednesday, November 23, 2011, at 9:00 am.
The early admissions deadline for most colleges looms next week. Can’t you just see all the thousands of diligent high school students dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s, making a surefooted approach to the mailbox to send their application to a future alma mater? If you’re nodding your head, you’re showing your age. Almost no one mails college applications today, and applications aren’t going out to one college but to as many as seven, which is more than ever before. (This, by the way, is presenting a problem for admissions offices wanting to determine which accepted students might actually enroll.) The application process is still loaded with the same old apprehensions, but now there are new hoops to jump through, too— exacting word limits on personal essays (usually 500 words, and not one word more), complicated, multistep processes for submitting transcripts and test scores, and exasperating technical errors. Eighty-five percent of apps are entered electronically, many through a website known as Common App; in spite of being accepted by 456 colleges and universities, the one-size-fits-all site has made nervous wrecks of applicants who say there are too many technical flukes and word and character restrictions. The applications process in the United Kingdom is being revamped, too, after so many complaints about it being laborious and complex. But with college-educated workers forecasted to earn $1 million more over their careers than those who stopped at high school, there’s reason to preserve the process—theoretically. Forty-two of the “best” American colleges cost more than $50,000 a year to attend. So that’s why they call it higher learning.
[Originally posted on Euro RSCG Worldwide's Social Life and Social Media site.]