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UF Honors College needs to welcome kids, not discourage them

We were thrilled when my daughter got invited to apply to the University of Florida's Honors College. Until I read the college's list of "tips" on how to write the application essays.honors.jpg

To get in, the kids have to list their awards and accomplishments and write two essays (Among the choices: "Are we alone?" and "Who was the better tree-climber: Napoleon or Attila the Hun?")

So we went to the on-line "tips" sheet to see how to approach these super-obscure topics. I found the advice quite off-putting, almost discouraging: "In the past many excellent students were not admitted to the Honors Program simply because they did not take the time to craft good essays. A lot of thought and time goes into choosing the essay prompts, and each applicant's essays are read by two people; we therefore want our effort to be worth it."

Also: "Please do not tell us that you are an AP Scholar with Distinction--at least 2/3 of our applicants can say that."

And "Please keep in mind that we receive approximately 2,000 applications each year for a class of 750, and so we would prefer to consider applicants who are truly interested in the Honors philosophy of engagement."

Sounds like they have gotten lots of applications from kids who qualified because of their test scores but were tired of writing college application essays and just threw something together. Still, a playful invitation might be more effective in getting quality kids than a so-called tips sheet with an uninviting and dispiriting tone.

Photo: Patti Parker Nielsen/Sun Sentinel

Categories: Lois Solomon (211)


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About the authors
Gretchen Day-Bryant has a son in high school and a daughter in middle school. She’s lived to tell about the struggles of juggling little kids and work.
Joy Oglesby has a preschooler...
Cindy Kent Fort Lauderdale mother of three. Her kids span in ages from teenager to 20s.
Rafael Olmeda and his wife welcomed their first son in Feb. 2009, and he's helping raise two teenage stepdaughters.
Lois Solomonlives with her husband and three daughters.
Georgia East is the parent of a five-year-old girl, who came into the world weighing 1 pound, 13 ounces.
Brittany Wallman is the mother of Creed, 15, and Lily, 7, and is married to a journalist, Bob Norman. She covers Broward County government, which is filled with almost as much drama as the Norman household. Almost.
Chris Tiedje is the Social Media Coordinator and the father of a 7-year-old girl, and two boys ages 4 and 3.
Kyara Lomer Camarena has a 2-year-old son, Copelan, and a brand new baby.

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