Acing the college application without the grades

Joie Jager-Hyman tells students not to stress if they're not straight-A students.
Author and admissions counselor Joie Jager-Hyman tells students not to stress if they’re not making straight A’s.

A new school year is rapidly approaching with a fresh batch of seniors getting ready to apply to college. Whether your dream school is Stanford or your local state university, the application process can be stressful between standardized tests, essays, fees and cutthroat competition. We called up college counselor and author of the book “B+ Grades, A+ College Application,” Joie Jager-Hyman to find out how you can make your application stand out in the crowd.

In your book you list six different types of applicants. Could you tell me a little about each and how you’ve developed that breakdown?
I developed that breakdown based on the type of students that I’ve worked with. [The types of students] come from the different attitudes that I’ve seen among applicants. I’ve been doing college counseling for 12 years, and I’ve really noticed that there are good students who wanted to go to college, but really felt ignored by their guidance counselors and even advice books.

How do you get students to look beyond the name of a particular school?
It can be hard, and as someone who has worked in the admissions office, I really try to explain the admissions process in a way that doesn’t make the student feel like the admissions offices are really judging their ability or merit. The process really isn’t set up for that, and it’s not even predictive of who will be successful in college. So, I really try to get the students to see that if they don’t have a shot at a top-tier school, it’s not because of them as a person, but it’s because of the system and the system is not designed to sort them in a way that reflects their actual potential. Once they understand that, no, they may not get into NYU, but it doesn’t mean that they’re a loser, it definitely helps.

What’s the biggest mistake people make in their essays?
The biggest mistake that I see is people who sit down to write their essays and it’s as if it’s to this imaginary old man with patches on his sleeve who’s grumpy and they’re trying to impress him. However, that’s the quickest way to not be yourself. A good essay needs a little bit of conflict, and you have to be interesting. The worst thing you could do is sensor yourself and be inauthentic.

What’s the difference between “early decision” and “early action”?
They’re very similar in that the student applies early in the school year to the college. The one key difference is that early decision is binding, while early action is not. If a student applies early decision then they must enroll in the school. If they apply early action then they have an option to not accept the admission offer.

What’s your biggest piece of advice?
Remember that there are options. There are thousands of colleges and every student has so many schools that they could get a good education from. Approach the process from a perspective that you have so many choices and they don’t lie within one school.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Man's chemically burned body found in Coney Island…

Police responding to an emergency call at a Coney Island apartment made the gruesome discovery of a man's chemically burned body in a bathtub on Saturday.

Local

NYPD detective in coma after after punch on…

An off-duty detective is in a medically induced coma Sunday after an assailant punched him the night before at a Manhattan subway station.

International

Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe comes out as gay

In a sit-down with well-known British interviewer Sir Michael Parkinson set to air Sunday, Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, 31, revealed he is gay after years…

International

iPhone is a security risk, says Chinese state…

Chinese state media branded Apple Inc's iPhone a threat to national security because of the smartphone's ability to track and time-stamp user locations. A report…

Gossip

Mariah Carey unretouched photos show the power of…

Jezebel has the "before" pictures from Mariah Carey's Wonderland magazine photo shoot with Terry Richardson — who's no stranger to photo scandals. As Jezebel astutely…

Gossip

Facebook users upset Steven Spielberg killed a dinosaur

Some Facebook users were up in arms over a photo from the set of the 1993 film "Jurassic Park" showing director Steven Spielberg smiling in…

Music

Tommy Ramone, last original member of punk pioneers…

Tommy Ramone, the drummer and last surviving original member of punk band the Ramones, whose aggressive and fast-driving songs spearheaded the punk-rock movement, has died…

Gossip

PHOTOS: Topless Cara Delevingne advocates for 'Free the…

Supermodel Cara Delevingne is never one to shy away from the gaze of social media. Yesterday, she chose to advocate for the 'Free the Nipple' campaign via Instagram, where she…

NBA

Nets lose Paul Pierce to two-year deal with…

Paul Pierce is taking a gamble on joining a franchise on the rise.

NBA

GIF: LeBron James returns to Cleveland so deal…

To anyone out there who is upset about his decision, this .GIF is for you. Enjoy.

World Cup

A game of two popes: Vatican plays down…

By Philip PullellaVATICAN CITY (Reuters) - With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry…

NFL

Which Jets player has the best odds at…

Metro New York asked Bovada.LV to rank the top three contenders for the NFL MVP on the Jets.

Wellbeing

Fart gas might prevent cancer

You might not like the smell, but fart gas might help prevent cancer.

Tech

Mesh sheds light on top 10 dating deal…

What are New Yorkers' top 10 dating deal breakers? Find out here.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Sexual headaches can be…

Sexual headaches: an under-discussed health issue Location: U.S. Results: If getting frisky brings on a headache, you’re not alone. Headaches associated with sexual activity represent a…

Food

Head to FiDi for free Chia Pods from…

They may have been last summer's darlings, but chia seeds have definitely not gone out of style. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, they…