ESL Podcast Home ESL Podcast Store
HOME > BLOG > Paying for College (Applications)

Paying for College (Applications)

Ivy TowerAn article in yesterday’s New York Times is entitled (has the title of), “A College Application Or a Slick Sales Pitch?” The article is about how difficult it is to get into the best U.S. universities, and how important your application is. Since it is so difficult, some parents are paying professionals to help their child write their college application. Of course, universities assume (believe) that the application is done by the 17- or 18-year-old student, not a professional counselor (advisor). They tell students how to package themselves (how to present themselves) to universities.

Elite (the best, top) universities are very competitive (difficult to get into), so some parents believe they need to do anything they can to help their child. The cost of this help? Around $4000, according to the Times article. One of the problems is that many parents believe they must get their child into one of the Top 20 universities, when in fact the U.S. has thousands of good quality colleges that offer a similar education. Personally, I think it is a little insane (crazy, absurd).

About the headline: Slick means very professional, but really too professional, something that tries to be more than it really is. It is usually a negative way of describing something or someone. If you say a person is “slick,” you are saying that he is somewhat dishonest, trying to be something he isn’t. A sales pitch is an attempt to get someone to buy your product. It is a set of reasons or arguments for something you are selling. A slick sales pitch is, then, a somewhat dishonest attempt to “sell” the student to the university in order that she be admitted as a student.

~Jeff

7 Responses to “Paying for College (Applications)”

  1. Ayyappan Bose Says:

    Nice article Jeff. I have been with ESLPOD for around 2 years with some intervals. your article depicts the situation in US as well as how should we prepare to set the platform for our children. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Akiuki Says:

    I can understand parents trying to give the best academical education to their children. We, parents, see this world very competitive in terms of occupational market. We understand a good university means the chance for acquiring good skills, and good skills mean a competitive advantage to secure a high job position for our children. I do not blame parents which can afford to pay for those professional services – paying for college applications.

    However, another article in NYT was about recruiting rules to be kept by Headhunters and Human Resources Consultants in their recruiting process: the first rule is to pay attention (value) to the applicant’s attitude more than the applicant’s skills.

    Attitude is not a subject to be learned at colleges but a subject to be learned in our daily life.

  3. emiliano Says:

    I am in absolutely disagreement with these parents but even more in disagreement with those elite universities that knowing the way of getting in permit that dishonest professional business advisors.

    What are we going to teach to these 18 years old students? lack of ethic from the beginning?. Yes, I think that it is insane, absurd, and it is an abuse. So good students who their parents hasn’t money or are more decent are in disadvantage with the others. Yes, as you say Jeff it is sure that there should be thousands of good quality colleges that offer a similar education and much more respectability at the admission process. It is a very interesting subject to talk about it. Thank you Jeff for the information that it is very reveal, as I always thought there was more fair play about this matter.

  4. Alejandra Says:

    Thank you very much for the article.
    I didn’t know that things where like that in the USA. This has to put students under a lot of pressure, and I think that being in such a competitive environment has to be damaging.

    Here in Spain it’s easier, you only have to do an exam, and depending on the marks you obtained, you choose a degree or another.

  5. Hilda Says:

    Really, this kind of the article showed the right face, about the education in U.S. Then the educations is not a right, if not a privilege. I think than this not only is happening when the boy or the girl go the university, if not any nivel of the education in USA.

    I believe that education in USA, need to have a change on their reforms and laws. Because in the future might be a big problem.

    Thansk so much, for this article.

  6. Igor Grivko Says:

    Hi Jeff,

    There are lots of problems in the educational system in every country, not only in the USA. Our school education is getting worse every year. So if some student is going to school (11 years) then he (or she) will probably not be able to pass the entering tests in the university without additional teaching.

    So many parents that want their children to be in the university have to pay money for these extra lessons.

  7. emiliano Says:

    Igor, Spanish boys and girls of about 15 years old are at the last of the row of boys/girls of Europa in comprehensión of reading, also in grammar and mathematics. In fact they are the last, and it have happened during the later ten or eight years. Now it seems that everybody here seems to be ver worried about the matter, but it just the result of no efford, no exams, no home work, no discipline, and so on. Teaching here it is a dangerous work, and many teachers are crazy with so many problems with pupils, parents, and administration.
    There is also a great problem as teaching in Cataluña is in Catalan, not spanish, in Basque lands is in Basque, in Galicia is in Galician…, and so on. But at home or with their friends many of these studensts speak in Spanish and they do not learn good spanish grammar not catalan, basque or galician gramma. It is the chaos, I do not understand anything.
    But it happens all over the world as many other people say the same about their children. So really I do not know what to think about it, may be I am getting old?