Berkeley Now Accepting Two Recommendations

Berkeley Now Accepting Two Recommendations

UC Berkeley announced that it will begin accepting two recommendation letters from its freshmen applicants beginning this fall.

UC Berkeley undergraduate admissions has not welcomed recommendations since it opened its doors in 1868, yet admission criteria to the UCs (and Berkeley) have been in the throes of change over the last years.


Changes to the Common Application 2015

Changes to the Common Application 2015

For this coming admissions season, the nonprofit Common Application is under a new interim CEO, Paul Mott, and he is intent on eliminating “pointless friction.”

Consequently, the Common Application is reaching out to its applicants and its college members with a more hassle-free and productive application.


The Critical Role of Recommendations

The Critical Role of Recommendations

To gain admission to a four-year institution outside the University of California, or California State University systems, will require recommendations. Generally, one of these recommendations will come from your high school guidance counselor, and usually, two, or possibly three teachers.

Common App 5

Common App 5
On August 1st, Common Application 5 (CA5) launched. After two weeks of application writing, it appears to be stable. It only took 5 minutes to find the registration screen after initially landing in the CA5 Knowledgebase off Google. I consider that reasonably intuitive. To date, over a dozen students I’m working with have uncovered most of the supplements they were looking for. The stability alone is a relief after the crashes of CA4.

How to Gain the Most from the Undergraduate Years


  • Karen Kelsky encourages students to be skeptics
  • Ask all colleges about how well their recent graduates have done
  • Don’t be ‘dazzled’ by college’s reputation
  • Students should become entrepreneurial

An article recently published by Karen Kelsky, a former professor of anthropology from the University of Illinois, while ostensibly tailored to graduate students, “Graduate School is a Means to a Job,” (Chronicle of Higher Education, 27 March 2012) is actually even more applicable to future undergraduate students. Ms. Kelsky is not shy about having students ask universities to prove their utility. Encouraging such skepticism should be lauded. No institution, no matter how august, should be charging $30-60,000 without being constantly questioned. Here is a cross section of some of her ideas, slightly modified for undergraduates.  

  1. If students are planning to enroll in a pre-professional track (e.g. pre-med), it’s absolutely essential to ask what type of record the school has for getting students into quality medical schools. Selecting, or being assigned an advisor, also needs to be vetted. How successful has this advisor been in getting his or her students into graduate programs, internships, jobs after college, or meaningful undergraduate research projects?
  2. Before accepting an admissions offer to a school, students should take time to review professors in key departments of interest, on This review should extend to the school’s majors, minors, honors, and independent research offerings. If the school under consideration is private, don’t be deterred by the sticker price; many private schools have an array of scholarships and grants to offset its higher costs. If a school’s department, facilities, and faculty are a good match, and its financial aid awards historically have been generous (which can be found on College Navigator), that school is a meaningful option in the student’s admissions process.  
  3. Don’t be ‘dazzled by abstract institutional reputations’ of elite colleges. Students should only be concerned with finding schools that have the best placement rates, either for leading graduate schools or jobs, or whether the school’s curriculum, faculty, and writing seminars truly teach vital communication and thinking skills. Parenthetically, most of the Ivy League faculties, according to, have significantly lower performance numbers than many of the liberal arts schools (such as Swarthmore, Pomona College, or Amherst) and a number of public schools as well.   Performance with its recent graduates is all that matters: reputation and brand are not all that important.  
  4. Students need to become entrepreneurial before entering college, or certainly soon after. They need to apply for as many sources of financial support as possible. They also need to realize as their undergraduate years unfold ‘the law of increasing returns’. Getting a summer internship, might then lead to a position with a stipend the next year, which might then lead to a meaningful research project, which will all build measurable experience on student activity lists over the course of their undergraduate years.
  5. While in college, students should take advantage of any opportunities to present their work to as wide an audience as possible. If any public speaking opportunities avail themselves, they should participate. Public speaking is a core skill for any profession.
  6. Students want to become polished and capable as they approach the finish of their undergraduate years. They need to develop a ‘professional persona’ that will establish them as ‘…confident, assertive, sophisticated, and outspoken.”  They will also need to banish excessive humility; ‘it inspires contempt.’ It also gets in the way of cultivating recommendations from key professors within the school; such recommendations are critical in future career or graduate school pursuits—they are the lifeblood of the undergraduate experience.

Admittedly, few undergraduate students will follow all or even a majority of the above suggestions. Reading them, however, and attempting to implement just one, might prove the difference in creating a productive and successful college experience.  Ms. Kelsky advocates students be assertive, self-reliant, and decisive. This will serve them well, long after their college years have ended.   


대학생활에서 최상의 것을 얻는 방법 

  • Karen Kelsky의 조언: 비판적일 것
  • 대학에게 졸업생의 결과에 대해 묻기
  • 대학의 명성에 눌리지 말 것
  • 기업가적 정신을 가질 것

University of Illinois의 전 인류학과 교수인 Karen Kelsky는 최근 기고 (Chronicle of Higher Education, 27 March 2012), “대학원은 직장을 위한 곳이다”에서 대학원생들에게 조언을 하고 있는데, 사실 대학생에게도 적용되는 글이다.  Ms.Kelsky는 학생들이 대학에게 그 유용성을 주저없이 묻기를 권한다.  이런 비판적인 질문은 정말 필요하다.  어떤 학교도 이런 질문에 대답없이 3만 -6만불을 받아서는 안되는 것이다.  그녀의 글을 응용하여 대학생에게 다음과 같이 권고하고자 한다.

  1. 만약 학생이 전문적인 pre-med과정에 등록하려 한다면, 그 학교에서 좋은 의과대학에 학생들을 진학시켰는지 물어야 한다.  어드바이저를 정해주는지도 알아 보아야 한다.  또한 상담교수가 대학원 프로그램, 인턴십, 직장, 리서치 프로젝트에 대해 얼마나 도움이 되는지도 알아보아야 한다.
  2. 입학을 수락하기 전, 교수 수준을 RateMyProfessor.com에서 알아보아야 한다.  이 리뷰는 전공, 부전공, 우등프로그램, 리서치 제공에 까지 이른다.  만약 사립대학을 고려한다면, 등록금 때문에 포기하지말길 바란다.  많은 사립에서 장학금과 그랜트를 제공하고 있다.  만약 학과, 시설, 교수가 좋다면, 그 대학의 재정능력도 우수하다(College Navigator에서 조사할 것).  그런 대학은 정말 선택할 가치가 있다.
  3. 엘리트 대학의 명성에 눌리지 말아야 한다.  그것보다는 졸업후의 진로 (대학원이든, 직장이든)가 좋은지, 대학의 교과과정, 교수진, 작문세미나가 진정 의사소통기술과 사고력을 발달시키는지에 더 관심을 두어야 한다.  첨가하면, RateMyProfessor.com에서 아이비리그의 교수들도 인문대학(Swarthmore, Pomona College, Amherst)의 교수에 비해 아주 낮은 평가를 받는 교수들이 있다.  최근 졸업생들의 결과가 중요하다: 명성과 이름은 그렇게 중요한 것이 아니다.
  4. 학생들은 대학에 들어가기 전부터 기업가적 정신을 가져야 한다.  재정적 지원에 대해서도 잘 알아야 한다.  또한 대학에 들어가는 돈이 ‘보상의 법칙’을 따라 나타나는지도 알아보아야 한다.  여름 인턴십을 한다면, 내년 학비를 조달할 수 있는지 살펴야 한다.  또한 리서치 프로젝트를 한다면, 수강과목 이상으로 할동영역에 경험으로 사용될 수 있을 것이다.
  5. 대학에 다니는 동안, 어떤 경험이든 자신의 일을 널리 홍보할 수 있는 기회로 삼아야 한다.  공개 연설의 기회가 있다면, 무조건 참여하면서 자신을 나타내야 한다.  공개 연설은 어떤 직업에서든 핵심기술이다.
  6. 대학을 졸업할 때는 세련되고 능력있는 사람이 되어야 한다.  ‘자신감있는, 확신에 찬, 세련된, 거침없이 말하는…’등의 ‘전문적인 모습’을 갖추어야 한다.  겸손이란 경멸만 불러일으킬 뿐이다.  또한 대학에서 중요 교수에서 추천을 받을 수 있는 길을 만들어야 한다; 추천은 직장이나 대학원 진학에 필수적이다-그들이 대학 경험에서 생명선이 된다.

확실히 대학생이 위의 모든 것이나 대부분을 지키기는 어렵다.  그러나 한 가지라도 실천한다면, 성공적이고 생산적인 대학생활을 누릴 것이다.  Ms. Kelskey는 학생들이 적극적이고, 자신감있고, 결단력있게 행동해야 함을 강조한다.  그렇다면, 대학생활을 마친 후, 평생동안 그들은 잘 될 것이다.

Unfolding the Common Application

Unfolding the Common Application

The college admissions process creates untold stress. Just the effort to get organized is tough. There are numerous details and losing track of any one of them might lead to a sleepless night: teacher recommendations, counselor recommendation, transcripts, test scores, mid-year reports, secondary school reports, art portfolios and, athletic information. This is a lot to keep track of.