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College admissions hacks for those who don’t have tens of thousands to burn on bribes

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BY JAY KORFF, WJLA

ARLINGTON, Va. (CIRCA via WJLA) — Hildie Block of Northern Virginia helps parents and their children navigate the intimidating world of college applications.

“It’s super-overwhelming," Block said. "There’s thousands of schools. How do you pick one?”

The former senior admissions officer at Johns Hopkins University guides families through the arduous process of finding the right school for their child.

“As long as we help a kid follow their passions and help them find a school that will help nurture that, admissions is not going to be a thing,” Block said.

She finds the news of wealthy parents, celebrities and CEOs being accused of bribing college coaches, administrators and testing officials to get their children into elite universities appalling.

“It’s horrifying," Block said. "I can’t believe that there are people out there who think they are doing anything to help these kids by moving mountains to get them into schools that it doesn’t sound like are good fits.”

While she concedes this process is hard, the key is setting realistic goals and being prepared.

"The most important thing If you have your heart set on a very specific school is just to let that school know it’s your first choice," Block said. "Make contact with a faculty member and visit the campus or make contact with the campus, open the emails they send you.”

Block has a long list of ideas to make this process a bit more manageable.

  • Create a spreadsheet of all schools interest in
  • Know the deadlines for, and needs of, each school
  • Apply early
  • Work on personal essay before senior year
  • Work with good high school counselor
  • Visit college campus when students are present
  • Make sure the school is a good fit for your child’s personality and academic abilities

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