University Of Michigan Essay College Confidential

College Confidential, founded in 2001, used to be a sober place for students to get expert advice about college. Over time it has grown into something much wilder: a vast forum of worriers, show-offs, trolls, and anyone else with something to say about higher education.

In this chaos, there's one group that tries to keep everyone in line, all while enjoying the spectacle.

They are the parents — mostly moms — of College Confidential, many of whom have kept reading and commenting long after their kids left home. , and they embody the best and worst the site has to offer.

Tough love

Bea Wade has been a College Confidential mom for the past seven years, and she continues to check the site nearly every day.

A former high school speech pathologist, she discovered the site in 2008 when her daughter was applying for college. She felt compelled to try to help students because "the [high school] guidance counselors were really swamped."

Going by the username auntbea, Wade doesn't mince words.

"Lose the 'I'm better than the rest of the students.' You're not," she told one student who asked about his chances for getting into UC Berkeley. "For every student who thinks he is the best, there is always someone better. Your arrogance stands out like a sore thumb, work on it because it will be picked up immediately in your college essays."

"Your tests are killing your chances. Any way to get those up?" she told another Berkeley hopeful.

Wade says it's what some students need.

"It's kind of tough being realistic to these 17-year-olds but you kind of have to be," she told Tech Insider.

Wade also provides valuable information to dozens of students every year, serving as a virtual guidance counselor with years of acquired knowledge but no professional training. Earlier this year, she helped a student chose between UC Davis and the University of Wisconsin. Her daughter attends Davis, so she was able to provide detailed information about Northern California weather and the procedure for changing majors. The student chose Wisconsin, and she thanked Wade for her advice.

"Thank you so much for your answers!!! They are quite helpful to me because I used to think Davis is always warm and you introduced me to the real Davis weather. Thank you!" the student replied.

Always signed on

Anne Hinkle — username BrownParent — tells us she "always has a [College Confidential] tab open," even though her daughter graduated from high school in 2005 and then from Brown in 2009.

Hinkle still logs into the site "pretty much every day," she admits, saying she helps students decide how to frame their essays and even edits some of those essays through private messages on College Confidential.

Hinkle is proud that she and other mothers have helped students sort through admissions jargon and financial aid complications. When an applicant's parents filed for divorce in the midst of his application process, he turned to College Confidential for help. Hinkle helped him sort through the tricky details of determining a custodial parent and updating financial aid forms.

Hinkle confided she has "certainly been guilty of the snark and piling on that sometimes happens."

"Please do not pile on another letter. You already overdid it," she told one cocky Harvard applicant, who was talking about adding letters from his mom and a teacher to his application. " This is good advice! But she needles the student: "Have you not heard 'the thicker the file the thicker the student?'"

"Stop this craziness. Calm down and stop making everything complicated," she told a student accepted to University of Rochester who was worried about paying $3,000 out of pocket. Hinkle suggested that student get a work study job, and she offered a few links to where he can find one.

An incredible constellation of bright individuals

One of the most devoted moms on the site is Jym626, who has authored more than 40,000 posts since creating her account in 2004. She declined to share her real name with Tech Insider.

Jym626 told us College Confidential is "an incredible constellation of bright individuals." And it's clear that she has treated the site like a social network from the early days.

Back in 2005, she got in a discussion in the "parent cafe" over words with ambiguous meanings. After several commenters complimented her observations, she nominated herself for a writing award in a new category: "How about clever witticisms??? mindbenders? mental calisthenics? anything to keep from doing the laundry?"

"Not facing that tomorrow is my s's last day of classes -- his freshman year is already over!!!" she added. "I just can't accept that. Rather think about other things."

Jym626 also does her part to police the online community. In 2010, when a student at Rice University impersonated a Rice admissions official and told another user that a certain post jeopardized her chances of admissions, Jym626 sprung into action.

"With a little further checking, it appears that you are perhaps an incoming Rice freshman," she wrote. "I might just continue to read through your past posts, figure out info about your identity and report you to the Rice Admissions office. How would you like that?"

Moms gone wild

Not everyone likes what has happened to College Confidential, which was bought by education services company Hobsons in 2008.

"When I look at it today, I think, My God, what a monster," cofounder David Hawsey told the Chronicle of Higher Education last year. "There's all this 'mine is bigger than yours' stuff. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of very good comments on the message boards, but they got way, way out of control."

"It's college bitchfest," Hawsey told Tech Insider recently.

Yet many people like the site for what it is. There are, of course, the College Confidential moms and dads, but there are also readers around the world. The site has around 2 million monthly unique users, up more than 200% over a year.

At least some of those students are thankful for that parental guidance.

Richard Ruiz started visiting College Confidential when he was a sophomore in high school. When he was deciding which school he wanted attend, the site's army of parents rushed to his aid.

"I was definitely impressed by their depth of knowledge regarding admissions, college life, and especially life after college," Ruiz, now a freshman at Duke University, told Tech Insider by email. "A lot of what the parents (moms) say contain years of wisdom beyond college."

Perhaps the most important mother on the site is Sally Rubenstone, who was hired by College Confidential about eight months after the site was founded. With 16 years of experience as an admissions officer for Smith College behind her, she was one of the advisers behind the paid services that Hobsons ended up slashing.

While Hawsey left after the acquisition, Rubenstone stuck around. She remains a paid employee, writing a column called "Ask the Dean" and handling media relations and "miscellaneous other projects," she said.

Rubenstone believes that College Confidential does more good than it does harm. While the information shared there isn't always completely accurate, she says students who visit College Confidential need to "bring a little bit of their own common sense and intuition to the process."

"You have to take what you find on the Internet with a block," she pauses, "with a grain of salt."

The college application season can be a nerve-racking time for high school seniors, especially those vying for a coveted spot in a selective school like the University of Michigan.

There’s the essays. There’s the letters of rec. There’s the deadlines.

And there’s the waiting. UGH, THE WAITING! It can be excruciating!

So what if you could apply to U-M and know for certain that you’d receive a decision by the time you hit winter break?

If you got in, great! You could ring in the new year as a proud member of #Victors2022.

If you didn’t, that’s a bummer for sure, but you’d have plenty of time to look into other amazing college opportunities.

That’s the beauty of the University of Michigan’s Early Action admissions. As long as you submit your application and all corresponding materials by the Nov. 1 deadline, the university guarantees you will receive a decision by Dec. 24.

It’s a great option if Michigan is one of your top-choice schools. And if you’re reading this blog, that probably means you.

The application is now open, by the way. You can submit either the Common App or the Coalition App.

What to know about the Early Action option

Before you dive in, though, there are a few important aspects of the process that you should understand.

  1. Applying EA may be more convenient for you, but it doesn’t offer any special privileges, such as giving your application a higher priority or more lenient review. In other words, it doesn't make it easier or harder to gain admission to U-M.
  2. If you’re applying to the School of Music, Theatre & Dance or the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, there is no Early Action option because of the audition/interview and portfolio processes. The deadline to apply to SMTD is Dec. 1, while Taubman’s deadline is Feb. 1.
  3. Test scores from the October ACT with writing or SAT with Essay tests will not arrive in time for Early Action. However, if you’ve previously taken the test and are taking it again in October, you can send in your previous scores to complete the application and forward the new scores to U-M once they are available.

For more information on applying Early Action, visit the admissions website and check out the Ask a Question feature or the Early Action Applicants section (found at the bottom of the page).

Decided to apply EA? Here's what comes next

So now that you’re convinced that applying Early Action is the route to take, there are a few next steps to consider in addition to begging your calc teacher for that glowing letter of praise.

  1. Complete your financial aid forms – At the University of Michigan, you can hit all of your bases by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (commonly known as FAFSA and commonly mispronounced by decent, well-meaning people as FAS-FA...) and the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE. The former makes you eligible for federal aid, while the latter determines whether you’re qualified for university grants. Both can be completed starting Oct. 1.
  2. Attend U-M events – The admissions office runs a number of targeted events for prospective students – especially in-state students – throughout the fall.  For more information, keep a close eye on your email inbox and…
  3. Follow the Office of Undergraduate Admissions on social media – Check out the office’s social media content on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to learn more about life as a U-M student and stay informed about key deadlines and upcoming events. Also, use the hashtag #Victors2022 to connect with other applicants and, later on, admitted students.
  4. Use caution when browsing the forums – Online college forums like College Confidential can be great resources for connecting with current and prospective students, but they are notoriously rife with false information. Whether it’s a “chance me” thread or rumors about the exact date decisions will be released, you will encounter people who claim to have “insider information” that goes beyond what is released by the admissions office. Don’t buy it, and don’t waste your time. Just look to threads from past years to find mountains of misinformation.
  5. Have patience – This is a tough one. We get it. You’re on the verge of making one of the most important decisions of your life. It’s only natural to want as much information as possible, as soon as possible. That’s why applying Early Action is great. You absolutely WILL get a decision by Dec. 24. That’s a guarantee that can help – at least a little – to put your mind at ease.

Why not get this process started today? You can apply now using the Common App or the Coalition App.

Good luck, and Go Blue!

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