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Just typical, with three kids, a dog, a cat and a fish named Nini. But that was before the Essay. Oh, the Essay. My oldest child is one of the most academic teenagers I know -- the complete opposite of me when I was his age. And so when his senior year rolled around last fall here in suburban New Jersey, I envisioned a fairly uneventful college application process. But at least, when it came to grades and test scores, this kid would be good to go. Over the course of several months, we visited many universities starting with the most quintessential of college towns -- Boston -- where 250,000 students converge every September.

In two days, we gave the once over to MIT, Tufts, HarFind matching schools based on. How Do I Start Choosing a College. Before you ask which colleges to apply to, please consider the following. Mistakes College Process Rookies Make Majors and College Search Your College Major: What to Choose. The young admissions representative and Vandy alum was also a graduate of Delbarton, a premier local private high school, and was therefore entrusted with New Jersey prospective applicants.

Kids: deep breaths. It might not make a difference for your college admission chances.Stanford sociologist Mitchell Stevens spent 18 months embedded with admissions officers at an unnamed top-tier liberal arts college and found that, even in cases where students were within the admissible range in terms of scores and grades, officers rarely looked to the personal essays as a deciding factor.

Yet even in these middling cases, personal essays rarely got even cursory attention from admissions officers. Never mind that his son was standing right there.

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