Monday, August 27, 2007

Kids Told To Purposely Make Typos On College Applications

Now that's just insane.
They call it "Authenticity".
It is yet another dumb gimmick if you ask me.

Steven Roy Goodman, an independent college counselor, says you should put typos in your college application on purpose to show that you are not just a robot and are less than perfect.

It reminds me of when girls were told to make themselves look and sound stupid on purpose to get a boyfriend.

I think Mr. Goodman is giving very bad advice. He is basically telling kids, and their parents, that you should do less than your best and basically misrepresent your abilities. This is somehow going to make you stand out.

Everyone already knows that we are not all perfect. Schools do not expect our kids to be perfect. But I'd wager that they do expect kids to show that they are capable of sending in an application that reflects your desire to show your best work.

OK - so how authentic really is it if you are making yourself out to be less than what you really are. Not to say that anyone is perfect, but a college application should show your best effort ... not one that is purposely riddled with errors.

Teens should be told instead that there are many authentic ways to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Here's my advice:
- Write an interesting essay which gives some true insight into your studies and experiences.
- Have some interesting achievements, or convey the things that you are passionate about.
- Be honest.
- Explain what you really want to do with your life, if you already know.
- Explain what you have already learned from life.
- Explain what you expect to gain from college.
- There are so many ways to make yourself stand out, because in truth you are an individual with many gifts and talents.
- The trick is to discover what those are so you can let other people know too.

But really the bottom line is to be yourself. It also wouldn't hurt to talk to some of the college counselors ahead of time to discover what it is they might be looking for.

And just as they say for every pot there is a cover... for every teenager there is a college that will be a great fit for them. The trick is finding it.

But lying on your application? Making typos on purpose?

So tell me ... What applications will "the experts" tell the kids to lie on next time?

Hmmm.. perhaps this is one reason why homeschoolers are being sought after by colleges - they don't fall for these gimmicks. They showcase their talents and they stand out without making glaring errors on their applications. They show that they do not follow the crowd.


P Henry said...

Taking care to check your spelling, grammar and punctuation is a sign of respect.

When I see resumes with errors I discount that individual immediately. If they are stupid enough to make errors on a resume or cover letter then they are dumb enough to make errors in my business that I am responsible for.

And I don't need that.

Or I see a person who was a victim of "whole language" or that it is more important at any costs to get your "feelings" on paper at the expense of readability.

Lisa Giebitz said...

Are you serious??

I didn't do my first college applications and essay all that long ago (almost five years ago). I'm pretty sure most of the schools I applied at would have tossed it in the trash had there been easy-to-catch mistakes.

What stupid advice. If it actually works, then we have bigger problems on our hands.

TheTutor said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your list of recommendations to students filling out applications. My husband is just beginning a PhD program, and he sought advice from professors before filling out applications. My hubby tends to be kind of quirky and broad in his research interests, and he was nervous about how to make himself appealing to the most schools. One professor gave him wonderful advice. He said that my hubby didn't want to appeal to a lot of schools, he wants to appeal to the right school. If he wasn't himself in his application, he might get into some great programs, but he would be miserable there because they wouldn't work with who he really is as a student. My husband took that advice and LOVES the program that his is in now. It is a perfect fit.

Students need to remember that they are not just applying to schools to try to please the schools. The application process also helps students get to know a variety of schools and judge which would work best for them.

Personally, I wouldn't want to attend a school that wanted to see errors on applications. I would be concerned that they were too concerned about being gimmicky and trendy and not enough about solid education.

Jose said...

That's completely annoying. What does it say for kids that there are counselors who want these kids to mess up on their apps? And imagine if that was the case in an urban school; then the kid will definitely NOT get in and be looked at as illiterate amongst collegiate types. That's the worst ...

thirdleopard said...

I've heard the same idea presented for teachers: make some intentional errors on the syllabus (or whatever goes home the first day). The goal, apparently, is to make sure that parents can see that the teachers are human and fallible, so parents won't be intimidated. The only way I think this could possibly be a good idea is for an English teacher who hands it out, goes over the class policies, and then tells the students that their first activity is to find the five mistakes in the handout.

It's just painful to hear that students are being told to do this as well, and on college applications no less.