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How to Make Colleges Want You: Insider Secrets for Tipping the Admissions Odds in Your Favor Paperback – August 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402213670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402213670
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mike Moyer had a 2.04 GPA from high school, yet he figured out how to beat the odds and get accepted to competitive colleges. He is the founder of College Peas, a company dedicated to helping kids beat the admissions odds. Mike has a BA in communication from the University of Kansas, a MS in integrated marketing communication from Northwestern University, and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He lives in the Chicago area with his wife and two children. Visit CollegePeas.com to read Mike's blog.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Excerpt from Chapter 1

In spite of the fact that most colleges are fairly easy to get into, many people feel a sense of accomplishment when they get accepted to a college that doesn't take "just anybody." Getting accepted to a competitive college feels good. It makes you feel like all your work up to now has been worth it. If that is you, then I say, "Go for it." Setting a standard and goals for yourself is a fine idea. But there is a more important reason that positioning yourself to be accepted at a competitive college is important.

Fit
People worry so much about how they are going to get into college
that few of them put much thought into how they are going to get out of college. When it comes to getting into college, your chances are quite high. However, when it comes to getting out, it's a different story. Many students who start college never finish at the place they started, and many never finish at all. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 23 percent of students entering college will wind up transferring, and only 54 percent of students will actually graduate within six years. We put a lot of emphasis on getting in, but the real issue isn't getting in, it's finding the right fit.

When it comes to getting the most out of college, fit is everything. Fit will determine your happiness, your success, and even whether you will graduate. A bad fit is a bad thing. Finding the right fit, however, can be tricky. Because of this, it's important to have choices. The more choices you have, the better your chances of finding the right fit. The best students, those who are real contenders for highly competitive colleges like Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, and University of Chicago, have lots of choices. They can pretty much pick any school they want. And, as a result, many of them pick a college that is a good fit. Granted, these kids are good students anyway, but don't underestimate
fit. I personally know many top students who transferred out of their original choice or dropped out completely. Students who get admitted to competitive colleges tend to graduate at much higher rates than other students.

So, the moral of the story is that the more choices you have, the better your chances of finding the right fit. And, if you can make yourself a contender for competitive colleges, the number of choices you have will grow substantially.

When I applied to colleges, I wanted to get accepted to a competitive college. I had the odds stacked against me because I was a terrible student, but I had to prove to myself that I could get into a place that didn't take everybody. Based on my academic record, I shouldn't have been accepted at any competitive colleges.

Some might argue that my academic record made me a questionable choice for even non-competitive colleges. But somehow I stumbled upon the techniques in this book and wound up getting accepted to competitive colleges.

Despite getting accepted at competitive colleges, I decided to attend the University of Kansas (KU). (At the time, University of Kansas was not very competitive.) I chose KU because when I went to visit, it felt like the right place for me. All the competitive colleges I visited just didn't seem like a place where I'd be happy. KU was great. I went to lots of parties, made lots of friends, and learned lots of things (both inside and outside of class). I changed so much after a couple of years at KU that my prep-school friends no longer recognized me. I was a changed man, and I have never regretted rejecting the colleges to which I had so dearly wanted to be accepted. KU was the right fit for me, and you should search for the right fit for you, regardless of how "competitive" the college may be.

Colleges Wwant You
Popular media would have you believe that colleges are awash with quality applications and are becoming more competitive than ever. The hype tells you that colleges can have their pick of the litter when it comes to students and unless you're a hotshot with a resume a mile long, you will never get in. There are thousands of colleges that can provide an extremely solid education. They want you; they are looking for you every day. Colleges actively reach out to students and try to entice them to attend. They spend millions of dollars on marketing and hire armies of people to figure out who and where you are. They set up huge scholarship funds to help you pay your way. They hold networking events across the country in an attempt to stimulate referrals. Colleges are after you this very minute. Colleges don't go through this effort just to reject you. They want you to show up ready to learn and ready to participate in all they have to offer.

The colleges that are actively looking for you aren't bottom-feeders. They are great colleges. Even Stanford has admissions counselors who are combing the globe for the right students. Competitive colleges, especially highly competitive colleges, are among the most aggressive marketers. In fact, that's a big part of what makes them competitive. It's not just the quality of educationthat makes them competitive; it's also the quality of their marketing efforts. Better marketing leads to more applications, which leads to competitive admissions. Rest assured, they want you-they really want you! In fact, it's quite strange that so much of college admissions has been built up to seem like a big test. It's as if getting into college is some kind of rite of passage. It isn't. Going to college may be, but getting in doesn't have to be.

As you get closer and closer to applying to college, it gets harder and harder to change your academic and extracurricular record. When you're a senior, you can't say, "Oops! I need to play a freshman sport!" It is for this reason that people freak out so much about essays, recommendations, and the dreaded standardized tests. With application due dates crashing down upon them, they begin to fear that they didn't do all they could do to be good college candidates. You may think that essays, recommendations, and standardized tests can make or break you in the college admissions process. If you think this, then you are reading the right book, because while essays, recommendations, and standardized tests are important, there are much more important things you can do to make the difference.

If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of students hankering for a shot at a competitive college, you are reading the right book. The ideas in this book will dramatically increase your chances of getting into the college of your choice, just like they did for me. No matter where you are in your high school career, if you start these things today, the chance you will get into the competitive college of your choice will improve.

The ideas in this book are pretty straightforward and none of them are really that hard to implement. However, this is not a book of tricks. The ideas are designed to actually transform you into the type of applicant colleges are out there trying to find. Colleges need more unique students who will add diversity and flair to their campuses. The concepts in this book are based on my research and experience as the cofounder of Cappex.com and the founder of College Peas, as well as my real-life experience as a terrible student who managed to stand out and get accepted to many competitive colleges.

If I were the average kid, I would have been thrown to the wolves in college admissions, but I stumbled upon a few things that made the difference. The good news is that my mistakes can become your strategy. Even if you just squeaked by in high school, the ideas I'll show you will give you a second chance at a competitive college. Not all colleges are competitive, so you really don't have to worry that much about getting in, but if you want to get into a competitive college, I can show you how.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
82%
4 star
14%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
4%
See all 28 customer reviews
The book is an excellent read, chock full of great ideas.
A. D. Cohn
Several said they wished they had read it earlier in school.
School Teacher
Thanks Mike for a "can do" approach to college admissions.
Bob R.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Lemaro Thompson on June 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
The book cover is colorful and has illustrations inside and it is not very imposing in terms of size, thus making it more likely that high school students will read it. From the start the author gives proof that he is not a super student as his GPA is below average and his SAT is little above average rounding out to an approximate average student (he also mentions later that he got accepted to Northwestern and the University of Chicago). This is the exact type of student that would be most likely to read this book.

The first section: Understanding Admission -- is short, funny and interesting. In fact it quickly lays out how the admissions process works in terms of how do you decide if you have a good chance of getting into a University? Another interesting point that he makes clear is that colleges are looking to create a diverse body of students, not only those who can perform academically. He then points out that students should make decisions not only based on the rating of a university but based on the university's fit for them. Unfortunately, he does not go into depth to delineate the different types of Universities and what may best fit different types of students.

The second section: Understanding the gatekeeper is not interesting or as humorous as the previous section as it seems disengaged from the Mike Moyers' life and story, in which the previous section was connected. But this section does shed much light on how others can help students gain admittance into college. He also gives an insiders view of the price and cost of each scholarship that colleges extend to students.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Customer on March 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Clearly, this author has "stuffed the ballot box" in the reviews department - just as he advises students do when applying to college! There are a couple of decent nuggets in this book, such as thinking about what makes a student unique and interesting to a college admissions department, but certainly nothing that would fill more than even a small brochure (and yes, I read the ENTIRE book), or that is novel advice in any form. It's really all about Mike Moyer, Mike Moyer, Mike Moyer...

After reading multiple books on this subject, I would recommend "Admission Matters" by Sally Springer as a good primer for most students and parents.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Pedini on January 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
My wife and I must have read at least 50 college admission books between us, and this is the first one with practical advice we can put to work for our daughter. I highly recommend this book if your goal is to empower your child through a daunting and sometimes nonsensical process.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eliza G on June 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are definitely 4 great tips and they're given in the book description above. I'll share them here as well,in case you missed them:

1. The Secret of NTAs (non-teenage activities): Unusual activities that make you stand out
2. Breaking the Zone: Take advantage of where you're from and who you are
3. Striking the Nerve: Decode what colleges believe in, then match those values
4. Your Application Team: Getting references, teachers, and counselors to boost your odd

As to the "And much more" I'm afraid that would be where he continually tries to drive you to his website so you can supposedly glean more in-depth information. Okay, so I bit and checked out his site. I don't object to self-promotion under the guise of providing helpful content. But if you're going to do that, then provide the helpful content! The site is poorly organized for finding information referenced in the book. You have to use the search box. When I typed in the book-suggested keywords more often than not nothing came up.

Hey Mike, it would be way more useful for you to have articles available on the site, or even a blog. Ditch the search box; it's not workin' for ya.

UPDATE: Mike has reached out to say that he's in the process of filling his website with more useful content and articles. Taking that into account, I'm upgrading from 3 to 4 stars.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Doug Chatham on October 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Getting into colleges has become incredibly competitive. My daughter has great grades and is involved in many after school activities. We are finding out that there are tens of thousands of 4.0's and student leaders. I never thought I would have to script a strategic marketing plan for my own daughter in order to get college admissions to consider her. This book has improved our chances of "going IVY" by giving us a closer look at the admission process through their eyes. After reading this book we are changing our approach to the entire admission process.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Whether you are a freshman or a senior in high school, this book is an eye-opener for you! Mike Moyer tells you the way to dramatically increase your chances of getting into the college of your choice. In How to Make Colleges Want You, he provides fresh approaches to getting your college application out of the maybe or no stacks, to the yes we want you stack. The book also contains references to Mike's website: [...] where additional information and additions to the chapters are contained.

Mike tells you what he did to get accepted to the college of his choice by describing his unusual activity of raising homing pigeons while in high school. He took a homing pigeon to his first interview with the admissions counselor and sent a message to himself from the counselor! This NTA (non-teenage activity) got him recognized as special.

Getting into a competitive college requires a lot more than grades or regular school activities; it is a question of planning. Moyer makes suggestions to accomplish the goal of getting into a prestigious college with his inside secrets. A few are, attending a community college for a year or two to obtain better grades, transfer in to fill one of the vacancies left by someone who has moved on, and start in mid-year instead of competing with the freshman entry class.

Consider there are 43,000 high schools and an equal number of valedictorians who apply to highly competitive colleges. Their applications are your competition for admission to these colleges and even with good grades, you still are not in their strata. The techniques in this book are designed to raise your chances for admission by 10 to 20 per cent. When you apply Mike's ideas during your high school years, the odds are even better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Mike Moyer is an entrepreneur who has started a number of companies including Bananagraphics, a product development and merchandising company, Moondog, an outdoor clothing manufacturing company; Vicarious Communication, Inc, a marketing technology company for the medical industry; Cappex.com, a site that helps students find the right college; College Peas, LLC which provides publications and consulting on college admissions; and Trade Show Samurai, LLC a company that teaches trade show exhibitors how to capture lots and lots of leads.

In addition to his experience as an entrepreneur he has held a number of senior-level marketing positions with companies that sell everything from vacuum cleaners to financial data services to motor home chassis to luxury wine.He has taught entrepreneurship at both Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Mike is the also the author of Slicing Pie, How to Make Colleges Want You, College Peas and Trade Show Samurai . He has an MS in integrated marketing from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He lives in Lake Forest, Illinois with his wife, two kids and the Lizard of Oz.

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How to Make Colleges Want You: Insider Secrets for Tipping the Admissions Odds in Your Favor
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