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College Application Secrets Colleges Insider Tips

Do Your Research

When researching colleges, find out which majors at each school
are undersubscribed. We were working with a young woman who
gained admission to Brown, not because her scores were
stellar—because they weren’t—but because she had a proven track
record as a scholar of African culture and history. Brown had
recently poured money into its Africana Studies department, but
there were few students majoring in the subject. This student’s
interest in African studies made her an ideal candidate—not just
because she was quirky, but because she filled a slot that was
empty.

In order to find out about schools’ departmental enrollment, you
can always email the department administrator at a particular
college if you can’t find the stats you want on their website
and say, “I am a Classics scholar and am researching various
college departments. Can you let me know how many students are
currently majoring in Classics?” We aren’t suggesting that you
“pretend” you are interested in a subject just because it
happens to be undersubscribed at your favorite college. If you
haven’t studied linguistics, speak only one language, and have
no outside of school language activities or awards then it would
be foolish to try to portray yourself as a future Linguistics
major. On the other hand, math, for instance, is not often a
popular major at liberal arts colleges. So, if you have genuine
interests in both math and government, focus on math.

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