Top 9 Takeaways from “A is for Admission” by Michele Hernandez

By on May 18, 2011

We recently read Michele Hernandez’s book A is for Admission. Ms. Hernandez is a former assistant director of admissions at Dartmouth. In the book she walks readers through the step-by-step process admissions offices use to evaluate college applications. Here are the top 9 takeaways we took from reading the book:

1. Acceptance rates are invariably higher for Early Decision applicants at most Ivies. So, if you know where you want to go, apply early.

2. Admissions are actually need blind and there is no difference in money awarded if you apply early or regular.

3. The breakdown of your SAT scores are more important than their combined total. Since students will be doing more writing and reading in college, higher verbal scores are looked at more favorably than high math scores.

4. Admissions offices use SAT I & II scores to determine the competitiveness of different high schools and to validate teacher recommendations.

5. Ivies calculate an Academic Index (AI) for each applicant. It is calculated as [(SAT(Verbal) + SAT(Math))/2] + [(SAT II + SAT II + SAT II)/3] + CRS (Converted Rank Score)

The highest possible score for CRS is 80 and for AI it’s 240. CRS calculates a weighted version of your class rank.

6. When a high school does not provide a ranking, the admissions office will do it themselves, and this might hurt the applicant.

7. Taking AP classes is the most effective way to overcome a mediocre AI

8. Be careful of how you present yourself in your application. For example, if you come from a wealthy family, take a summer job. This helps you come across as more human and level-headed and the admissions officer will have an easier time connecting with you.

9. A great essay can make a big difference. The person reading your essay will become your sponsor, so someone is fighting for you. It’s up to you to convince them to fight for you.

One Comment

  1. Ryan

    May 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm

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