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What You Don't Know Can Keep You Out of College: A Top Consultant Explains the 13 Fatal Application Mistakesand Why Character Is the Key to College Admissions

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In the tradition of The Gatekeepers, a veteran counselor provides the missing key to the college admissions door with insider wisdom about how admissions committees think, and the thirteen fatal mistakes that can ruin an application. When Don Dunbar was a college counselor for Phillips Academy, Andover, in the 1980s, he got to sit in on the meetings where the nation’s top In the tradition of The Gatekeepers, a veteran counselor provides the missing key to the college admissions door with insider wisdom about how admissions committees think, and the thirteen fatal mistakes that can ruin an application. When Don Dunbar was a college counselor for Phillips Academy, Andover, in the 1980s, he got to sit in on the meetings where the nation’s top colleges decided whether to admit his students. Prep school counselors no longer get this kind of astonishing access, but in those meetings, Don discovered a little-known key to college admissions that still holds true today. Many applicants look alike, based on their grades, test scores, and extracurriculars, so colleges want something more: They want applicants with character. Most of us know what character means, but not in the way that admissions officers define it. Admissions officers have tremendous integrity, and to them, character equals what a student will contribute to his or her community, good or bad, over the next four years. Don explains the concept of character in terms that high school students can understand, using examples from his thirty years of working with kids. He shows readers how to avoid the thirteen fatal character mistakes that even the brightest students make when applying to college and democratizes the admissions process, making his advice available to all students.


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In the tradition of The Gatekeepers, a veteran counselor provides the missing key to the college admissions door with insider wisdom about how admissions committees think, and the thirteen fatal mistakes that can ruin an application. When Don Dunbar was a college counselor for Phillips Academy, Andover, in the 1980s, he got to sit in on the meetings where the nation’s top In the tradition of The Gatekeepers, a veteran counselor provides the missing key to the college admissions door with insider wisdom about how admissions committees think, and the thirteen fatal mistakes that can ruin an application. When Don Dunbar was a college counselor for Phillips Academy, Andover, in the 1980s, he got to sit in on the meetings where the nation’s top colleges decided whether to admit his students. Prep school counselors no longer get this kind of astonishing access, but in those meetings, Don discovered a little-known key to college admissions that still holds true today. Many applicants look alike, based on their grades, test scores, and extracurriculars, so colleges want something more: They want applicants with character. Most of us know what character means, but not in the way that admissions officers define it. Admissions officers have tremendous integrity, and to them, character equals what a student will contribute to his or her community, good or bad, over the next four years. Don explains the concept of character in terms that high school students can understand, using examples from his thirty years of working with kids. He shows readers how to avoid the thirteen fatal character mistakes that even the brightest students make when applying to college and democratizes the admissions process, making his advice available to all students.

34 review for What You Don't Know Can Keep You Out of College: A Top Consultant Explains the 13 Fatal Application Mistakesand Why Character Is the Key to College Admissions

  1. 4 out of 5

    J & J

    No new information for me here...and, I just kept thinking "So what? Who cares?" No new information for me here...and, I just kept thinking "So what? Who cares?"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily Jackson

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul Smith Rivas

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