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Friday, May 05, 2006

Message Boards...where armchair counselors and anxious students meet!

At 1:23 PM, a student posted a link to my blog on a fairly popular message board run by a private counseling firm. Traffic to this blog exploded (though that term is relative when it comes to blog traffic), with 20 hits coming within minutes of the post. New readers are, obviously, always welcome, but I'm afraid anyone coming from that site will be disappointed by the lack of "secrets" posted here. This is more of an issues-related blog where I react to things happening at UVA and in the admission field.

Anyway, welcome new people! Feel free to comment if you have something to contribute (read: swears, rants, and rude comments do not belong here).

Now, you'll notice I'm not linking to the board. There's a reason. While much of what goes on over there is the typical chatter about college admission, there's a lot of problematic info given out as well. I saw one post state with authority that UVA practices "yield protection", which means we deny students we think will turn down our offer of admission (absolutely untrue). I see post after post telling high schoolers "you're in" in response to a list of stats (an entire forum is called "What are my chances?").

The fact is, admission isn't a science (to quote the first Dean for whom I ever worked) because it's about more than calculations and stats. College admission is a mysterious thing that even surprises those of us in the field. I don't think the "armchair counselors" out there are doing any service by suggesting that one can "handicap" chances of admission.

So, be careful if you frequent the admission message boards. I know it's great to have others with whom you can chat about admission when your friends/colleagues/classmates are sick of it, but remember that the anonymity of the web allows some people to sound very knowledgeable when they might not have all the answers.