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Rock Hard Apps: How to Write a Killer College Application Paperback – August 6, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0786868629 ISBN-10: 0786868627 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1 edition (August 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786868627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786868629
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Teens looking forward to college need all the information they can get. Cohen's book, though directed to top students, comes first in the scheme of college planning. The founder of her own counseling service (which she often refers to in her text), Cohen deconstructs, then reconstructs the applications of three real Ivy-League-college-bound kids, working in enough about their backgrounds to give context to the advice she provides on recommendations, the "brag" sheet, essays, etc. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Katherine Cohen, Ph.D. founded Ivywise in 1997. In addition to her Yale and Brown degrees, she has a certificate in college admissions counseling from UCLA. Dr. Cohen lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By dave on August 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
The book has very good points, points I applied to the 10-something drafts of my application. The book reflects the seriousness you should be taking with the application process because, well, think of how much you care about your #1 choice and your last choice to attend. Some of it is a tad obvious, yes. But she focuses your point-of-view to make yourself look good to the only person that matters in this process: the application reader. Most of the book is learning by example; she highlights three students of hers (that paid nearly $30K for her services) and showed them what they did. It mostly works. I wouldnt rave about this book but it does the trick. And I got into the best school on the planet for my major. So I would say by a stack of these types of books, including this one, and assemble your own guidelines from them. It puts your mind in the right places.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
In a way, this book perfectly mirrors the author -- mostly flash with not that much substance. Although Cohen represents herself as "having worked in the admissions office," at Yale, she did so as a VOLUNTEER reader, not as an admissions officer. I wonder why the media have not picked up on her lack of experience compared to other authors. On that experience and her Madonna-esqe publicity sense, she has based a thriving business which by all accounts she runs well. However, that does not make her an experienced admissions officer and it shows in the text. This book will of course give students some case studies to base their own applications on, but ultimately, it won't help all that much besides the many well-published facts it regurgitates about admissions. The style is breezy and readable although the book feels like a plug for her business. The best part of the book is the title.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am rising high school senior, and read this book (along with others) to help me prepare for the college application process.
The book has a tendency to the melodramatic, emphasizing the college process as the supreme effort and focus of life. I take personal issue with some of the statements in the book, such as, "the college application is the most important document of one's life up to that point." (Personally I consider birth certificates and social security cards much more important). However, other points such as the emphasis on considering college while choosing your freshman year courses demonstrate a focus that borders on the obsessive and unhealthy. She makes a point about David Horowitz obtaining a 4 on a chemistry AP, but she decided not to take points off for that. She calls a 4 (which is the equivalent of a B in a college-level seminar) ordinary, and a 5 (a college A), excellent. I find this extreme comparison somewhat difficult to justify.
However, there are some useful aspects to the book, which can basically be summed up as don't blow off your application, it's important too. The most helpful section of the book is on the brag sheet, a rarely correctly done section, but other than that the main advice the book gives is to focus on the applicatiions and that no one is guaranteed a slot.
It should also be pointed out that this book is somewhat outdated now. The recent Supreme Court decision regarding the University of Michigan's affirmative action policy outlaws the points system, which is the total basis for evaluation of this book. Since then, colleges have been required to switch from this system, so this is now outdated in terms of its specific usefulness.
However, it's core idea is good (to focus on your application), and it does have useful information about the brag sheet.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
I honestly was not helped by this book. It focused on the cases of three students which I found no relation to on any level. I have not found anyway to improve myself. I'm glad the author was able to help the kids she talked about in the book. But I'm me and I need help and this definately did not provide anything.
I don't plan to go even apply for an Ivy League school so once again this book hasn't helped in that fact either.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
how I'm supposed to find anything relevant to MY situation in the advice given to three students, all of whose parents can presumably afford the $29,500 fee the author apparently charges the rich and credulous.
Breezy title, breezy advice -- alas, I can't afford to be so breezy about my college applications. I have too much riding on this year to trust the facile assurances contained in this guide.
I wish I could say I was able to glean even one useful nugget of information I could use or pass on to a friend; lamentably not.
Back to my applications and vocabulary building.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cohen (whose credentials as a college admissions counselor are questionable) tries to write a more points-based book on college admissions, and understandably so. Reason #1: Sell more books, make more money, and reason #2: Saying that "every school looks at the application differently" doesn't make students or book buyers feel any better. We want to SEE whether or not we'll get in objectively, not subjectively. Unfortunately, this book's point system is not, of course, going to tell you where you will or won't get in. There are far too many subjective factors that make this book not worthwhile. The one section that was worth it was the section on appeals. There aren't any other examples of appeal letters in any other books I've read, and Cohen is the only one that includes a student appeal letter in her book.
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