Meredith Reynolds - Head Start College Blog

Archive for March, 2007

UCLA BREAKS THE UC MOLD: Looking to Learn Who the Applicant Is and What He/She Cares About
March 27th, 2007

As reported in today’s Los Angeles Times (B-1), UCLA is trying an all new (for them) “holistic” approach to reviewing applications for admissions. The change at least in part was motivated by UCLA’s lagging diversity, while at the same time being forbidden to consider ethnicity when making admission decisions. It will be interesting to see what if any impact it has on the make-up of the graduating class of 2011. “We’re looking for all kinds of students at UCLA.” No other UC has reported similar changes to its review procedures. The UCLA approach continues to give more weight to grades and test scores, but promises that each admissions reader will read the entire application prior to rating it on a 1 to 5 scale with 1. being “Emphatically recommend for admission” and 5.being “Recommend deny”. Each application will be scored by two readers.

UCLA admissions readers offered some important insight into their criteria: “Be wary of sob stories, but try to recognize when a student has genuine difficulties. Look for ‘passion’ in an applicant’s file, as well as evidence of values and ethics. Look for leadership, but know that not every student could be first in everything.” The article also criticized a hypothetical application because the student focused his essays on his parents, and not enough on “who he was and what he cared about.”

Only time will tell the impact that this holistic approach will have on who gains acceptance to UCLA, and who does not. But any movement toward looking beyond grades and test scores should be encouraged.

March Madness: Player or Fan It’s Fun!
March 21st, 2007

Speaking from experience, participating in college sports can be one of the highlights of your college years. Though most college athletes never have the opportunity to participate in the NCAA’s March Madness, “March Madness” happens at thousands of colleges and universities across the country throughout the year. The “Madness” doesn’t just surround basketball and football, but it is just as likely to happen at a LaCrosse, Ice Hockey or Volleyball game.
The “Madness” I speak of is not the game itself, but instead its waiting in line to get a ticket, wearing your school colors, maybe painting your face (big games), getting there early to cheer before the team even arrives, cheering every point scored, challenging every “bad” call, and when its over win or lose singing the school’s alma mater, going back to your dorm or house to debate what happened and plan for your next big game. College sports…nothing matches the excitement or emotion.

For those of you considering participating as an athlete at your college or university there is an extensive set of rules governing Division I and Division II participation. These rules do not apply to Division III schools. if you go to the National Collegiate Athletic Association website[ ] you can find out which NCAA Division the schools you are interested in belong to. Don’t be fooled, size and TV time are not the determining factors: University of Southern California and University of the Pacific are both NCAA Division I teams.

At the end of your junior year, potential collegiate athletes must complete the NCAA’s Initial Eligibility form along with the NCAA Amateurism Certificate. These forms and the NCAA’s recruiting rules can all be found on their website. You will also need to send to the NCAA Clearinghouse a transcript with six high school semester’s grades along with SAT and/or ACT test scores. The NCAA will then “clear” you to participate in college athletics. For this “service” you will need to send a check to the NCAA as well. Even if you believe you will participate in a Division III sport, I recommend that you go through this process to leave all other options open to you.

Happily fans are “clear to cheer” for their teams the day they set foot on the campus. What better than to have all the “March Madness” without those long practices the athletes have to go through? Wherever you go become a fan, it’s fun.

Perhaps most important for the entire family, the Head Start College program paces students to complete their applications by Thanksgiving.


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