Selective University Admissions Series: 1 Introduction

Hello!  My name is Bill Parker, and for over 35 years I have served as a college fair representative and interviewer for the University of Chicago (a/k/a the U of C or just Chicago), of which I am an alumus.   Amanda Sterk, Founder of UnMaze Me and school counselor, asked me to put out a blog on undergraduate admissions at selective colleges and universities to give students and their families some idea of what college applications entail and, hopefully, de-mystify a process that has become overgrown with a tangle of myth and misinformation.   (Since I come from Chicago, I must pause to define a term:  By selective, I refer to colleges that don’t have room for all the applicants for whom they are the first choice.  It follows that the more selective the school, the more applicants who will end up attending college someplace else.) 

Because my experience in college admissions is limited to the U of C, I will discuss how things are done there while trying my best not to tout the school.  By way of explanation and disclosure, Chicago is a private research university located in the city from which it takes its name.  It is (mostly) residential and coed.  It boasts one undergraduate school, a four-year liberal arts college, that sits amid four graduate divisions and several professional schools, all world renowned.  The University ranks high among the world’s leading private research universities, and, in the last five years, it has become extremely picky (selective) in undergraduate admissions.  This is all I’ll say about the U of C.

The intent this series is to take college applicants through an entire admissions cycle, one step at time.  Since this first installment is written in February, that’s where we’ll start.  My interviews have all been completed (well, probably; I may be asked to meet one or two more applicants), so we’ll join members of the University of Chicago Office of College Admissions back in Hyde Park, the Chicago neighborhood that the University calls home. 

  1. Introduction to the Series from Bill Parker

  2. Comparing Selective Schools

  3. Great Schools Besides the Ivy Leagues, Part I

  4. Great Schools Besides the Ivy Leagues, Part II

  5. The College’s Admission Process, Part I

  6. The College’s Admission Process, Part II

  7. Finding Your Fit

  8. Financial Aid for All Those Who Need It

  9. Making the Best of a College Visit: What To Ask and What NOT to Ask

A NOTE FROM AMANDA STERK: I am so appreciative of Mr. Bill Parker, representative and interviewer extraordinaire, to share his expertise with us on the selective school admission process.