- CBS News Sunday Morning
- The Today Show with Meredith Vieira
The Great College Hustle (Cover Story): Students who are up for this kind of rigor should consider doing several things: First, they should buy a single very useful guidebook: A is for Admission: The Insider’s Guide to Getting Into the Ivy League and Other Top Colleges, in a roundabout way Hernandez teaches upper-middle-class kids a lesson that refined mothers used to inculcate from the cradle onward: If you’ve got it, don’t flaunt it.
On using a college consultant: “It makes the difference between not having a chance and having a chance,” said Michele Hernandez, a former Dartmouth College admissions officer who works with students from as early as the 7th grade.
I Can Get Your Kid into an Ivy
As one of this fast-growing industry’s most visible practitioners, she uses methods that are publicly scorned by rivals but are nonetheless becoming part of the profession’s standard operating procedures…her clients… rave about the personal service: the regular phone calls to their kids… the academic help… the “brand” positioning… the advice about which colleges to consider and where not to bother; the hours she devotes to each application… Hernandez speaks twice as fast as most people, reads as if it were a competitive sport, and is forceful, opinionated and stubborn…Parents value her confidence; kids, mostly, appreciate her enthusiasm.
Bloomberg Markets Magazine
Halfway into the first meeting with college consultant Michele Hernandez, tax attorney David Selznick walked out of the living room of his home in Somers, New York. He says his head was pounding after he’d listened for more than an hour as Hernandez dissected his son Ben’s high school transcript and college admission test scores, nixed his summer camp plans and described how playing up Ben’s strengths could land him a spot in an Ivy League college. “I was sweating, it was so draining,” Selznick, 47, says. “We got four hours of information in an hour.” Advice from Hernandez paid off for the Selznicks when Ben, now 18, got admitted to Dartmouth last December. “At first I thought I could do this by myself,” says Ben, who graduated in June from Somers High School in Westchester County.
What’s the craziest thing about a $16,000 college application boot camp: that it has a wait list, or its secret location
At the application boot camp, students worked on all essays including supplements, completed the Common App, learned interview techniques, created a list of their activities and awards, and developed an admissions strategy to maximize early acceptances.
Harvard report found Asian-Americans faced admissions penalty
Students’ personal qualities are gleaned from alumni interviews, essays, and considerations about which extracurricular activities students participate in while in high school, said Maria Laskaris, a former admissions dean at Dartmouth College who now works as a senior private counselor at Top Tier Admissions, a Concord-based college counseling company.
Brown University Daily Herald
Fishing for Applicants with Shiny Hooks
In a video on the Office of Admission webpage, for a minute and a half — as soft electronic music plays in the background — John Krasinski reveals why “you should look no further than Brown University.
Burlington Free Press
Tips From an Expert: How to Wow Top Colleges
Attention high school students (and your parents): Do not write a college application essay about your community service trip to Africa. No one is interested.
Write an essay that focuses on your intellectual curiosity and passion for scholarship. Discuss something that excites and inspires you in the classroom or laboratory. Describe to the admissions committee your scholarly interest.
This advice comes from Michele Hernandez Bayliss, a college consultant who lives in Weybridge. Bayliss works with students around the country and sometimes beyond, helping to steer their academic trajectory and guide their college application process….
BuzzFeed News via CNBC
Princeton is scrambling to block its admissions records from being released
“Everyone want to see what goes on behind the curtain,” said Mimi Doe, the president of Top Tier Admissions, a college admissions advising company. While it is generally known that top schools give applicants numeric grades and rankings, Doe said, “We haven’t seen the qualitative piece of this — the unspoken quotas. What will probably come out is that, for years, colleges have been — just as they did in the 1940s with Jews — saying, ‘we don’t want this person, because this is a stereotypical Asian applicant.’ These kids are penalized because of their race.”
CBS News Sunday Morning
The Tuition (& Admissions) Blues
At the top end of the scale in college coaching, Michele Hernandez says her objective is simple: to get kids into the school they want.
“Every year, 90 to 100 percent get into their top college choice,” she said. “Last year, I had seven out of seven kids get into Dartmouth, three out of four got into brown, three out of three got in to Princeton. I spend 50 to 100 hours per each student before they apply, doing applications with them.” Hernandez has admissions experience at Dartmouth. She’s written a best-selling book. And she has a success record she boasts about on her Website. Hernandez charges $40,000 for her services and starts working with kids in eighth grade. The only thing that could go wrong, she says, is college admissions officers finding out that an applicant is using her; but that, she says, has never happened. “I’m pretty good at hiding my tracks,” she said.
Chronicle of Higher Education
Michele Hernandez says colleges regularly play with numbers — for example, counting Asian Americans students among minorities in a way that does not provide black and Hispanic students with a realistic sense of the total. “It’s important,” she says, “for students to visit campuses, see the racial makeup of the student body for themselves, and ask for numbers confirming their observations.”
To get in to an Ivy League, more families turn to expensive private consultants
“One hundred hours of random community service hours is a colossal waste of time,” Doe said. “They should be doing something they are passionate about.” “Colleges don’t want a well-rounded student, they want a well-rounded class.”
“The ironic thing is that colleges don’t want to see a package that is over edited. They want to see raw talent. In the most selective colleges, packaging doesn’t help,” says Michele Hernandez.
Junior Guides: How Two 23-Year-Olds Are Building A College Prep Empire
But here Crimson faces a mature market full of counselors like Top Tier Admissions and test prep companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review. Michele Hernandez, who runs Top Tier, is skeptical that students can learn much from video consultations about admissions. “You can go to Khan Academy and watch videos for free,” she says.
Fox Business News
High-End Admissions Consulting: Worth the Cost?
The college process is long and arduous, and students and their parents are increasingly turning to private admissions consultants in an attempt to outshine the competition and increase acceptance
5 Things You Should Look for On Admitted Students Day
Entering college for the first time can be stressful, scary and most of all— hard. With the flurry of transitioning between the halls of high school to the green campuses of college, it can be difficult to decipher …
The Ivy League Asian Problem
There are two problems with Asian college applicants and Ivy League colleges. The first is that the vast majority of Asian applicants focus on a subset of Harvard/Yale/Princeton (and a disproportionate number on Harvard, the Asian dream for many). The second is that the acceptance rates for Asian students are typically lower…
4 Days that Can Change your Life: How to Defy the Odds and Get into the Ivies and Top Colleges
Twenty years ago, I unsettled the notoriously secretive college admissions process with the publication of my first book, A is for Admission, which caused something of a scandal upon its release. For years, the Ivies and top colleges…
The New College Scorecard: How to Find Gold in the Data Dump
As if college admissions wasn’t confusing enough, now we have yet another ranking system to supposedly make it more transparent.
President Obama’s governmental plan to rate 7,000 U.S. colleges has been replaced by the new College Scorecard and greatly impacts college-going and college-interested students and their families. Tuition shaming, or perhaps more accurately, tuition transparency, is a concept that has gained an increasing amount of public interest in recent years. The College Scorecard does not necessarily score or rank colleges at all, but rather aims to …
Why Highly Selective Colleges Should Kiss the Common App Goodbye
The Common App had its chance, but this year it’s blown it big time; in the process, it’s exposed many of the problems and inequities of the admissions process. It’s time for colleges to draw a line in the sand. Stand up for yourselves — say NO to a common application, and design one that is specific to your college.
Save Our Teenagers: Ditch the SAT Reasoning Test
One of my students, a bright young woman from Westchester County, took a break from her marathon SAT Saturday study session to call me. She was anxious about her practice test scores even after prepping for 30 hours last summer and three hours every Saturday since with her tutor. She’s…
10 Secrets for Top College Admissions
The following 10 college admissions secrets seek to offer insight into the college application and preparation process:
1.) High test scores are not a hook
High test scores alone (SAT/Subject Tests/ACT/AP/TOEFEL) do not guarantee admission to any institution. High test scores can boost the chances that your application…
What Harvard and Princeton Don’t Want You to Know
“Our son is in 8th grade and he will go to Harvard, Stanford or Yale — how can you help us reach our goal.” That’s how the dialogue begins with many Chinese parents I speak with day in and day out as a college consultant.
Note the possessive pronoun that…
Tiger Kids With Heart: What the Ivies Want
Educationally, it’s self-defeating to focus solely on the name recognition of a school rather than the quality of a specific department or the “fit” with a student’s needs and abilities. Plus, it’s a particularly Tiger parent thing to value prestige over personal fit; I advocate finding the right fit.
Harvard Hampers Admissions at All Top Colleges
College acceptances, which went out at the end of last month, broke records for the 10th year in a row: Harvard admitted only 6.9%, Stanford 7.2%, Princeton 8.2%, Brown 9.3%, MIT 10.1%, Dartmouth, 11.5%, University of Pennsylvania 14.22%, Duke 14.8%. Those lucky admittees will be deciding where to go; the…
Applying to College Amid the Harvard Admissions Lawsuit
Companies like Top Tier Admissions say can help Asian and Asian American students remove stereotypes from their applications to break through and appear distinctive.
London Times Educational Supplement
$36K for one little word: yes
…the admissions process in the US is becoming more cut-throat. Michele Hernandez knows this more than most. The American admissions consultant runs “college application boot camps” and boasts and acceptance rate among clients of 90-100 per cent eight years running at institutions at which only 8 to 15 percent of applicants are accepted. Hernandez touts the “inside knowledge” she gained from four years as an assistant admissions director at Ivy League Dartmouth College…Clients can count on discretion. “I work behind the scenes so that no one except you and your family will be aware that anyone assisted you in the application process”…but demand outstrips supply. She says she had to turn down scores of students last month.
The real reasons colleges told students they’re OK with gun-control protests
While supporting students interested in raising their voice is “the right thing to do,” colleges also have their own incentives for making the public statements, said Mimi Doe, the founder of Top Tier Admissions, a college admissions consulting firm.
How colleges aggressively use big data to target potential students
Many high school seniors and their families will spend the next few months pulling out whatever stops they can to impress their top choice colleges. But what most may not realize is that colleges can get desperate too.
SAT snafu could leave many college applications incomplete
As if applying to college wasn’t stressful enough already.
Teens who took pains to get their early-decision applications to colleges by Nov. 1 may be disappointed to find that their colleges didn’t receive their SAT scores by the deadline.
What a college scandal costs in terms of applicants and donations
Mimi Doe, the founder of Top Tier Admissions, a college admissions counseling company, said she’s seen this dynamic play out on the ground for 15 years. “Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, MIT — the scandal can’t be harsh enough to bring down the applications because it is such a gold platinum brand that international applicants aren’t going to be swayed by that,” she said. “Those premier brands, nothing will really get in their way.”
Sorry, that college acceptance letter may just be a computer glitch
The process more often than not goes off without a hitch. Despite the opportunity for error, students can generally trust the communications they receive from colleges, said Mimi Doe, the co-founder of Top Tier Admissions, a college counseling company. “As a student, it’s tragic,” she said. But “if we look at the statistics, chances are it’s not going to happen to you.”
Minnesota Public Radio
The hyper-competitive world of college admissions
Competitive and stressful are the two words most students and parents use to describe the college application process. But does it always have to be that way? Michele Hernandez: Author of “Acing the College Application.” She’s president, Hernandez College Consulting LLC.
Ten Ways for Parents to Help Teachers by Mimi Doe
Many teachers have written to me over the years, frustrated with how unprepared their students are—and they don’t mean academically. Chris, a kindergarten teacher, wrote what many teachers have expressed, “I would love it if you could write a 10 tips for parents to help us teachers do our increasingly demanding job. Many parents of children I teach have left the job of spiritual, character, and social/emotional education to me. I can’t do it all in addition to teaching academic skills. I’m getting burned out and pretty soon won’t have the energy left to nourish one child let alone 25.” So here goes—my 10 tips…
National Public Radio – Here and Now
Michele featured on National Public Radio on Here and Now
Bloomberg-backed Group to Help Poorer Students Graduate From College
“African-American and Latino students who are out of the traditional college admissions pipeline may not know it, but it can be cheaper to go to Harvard, Yale or Princeton than a regional or local college,” said Michele Hernandez, co-founder and co-president of Top Tier Admissions.
The Jet Set: Wealthy Touring Colleges in Private Planes
On a late August morning, in the dusky haze of the San Fernando Valley, a former Los Angeles politician boards a Gulfstream G200 jet with his teenage son. Inside the 175-square-foot, overwhelmingly beige cabin, complimentary varsity swag is neatly arranged on a few of the leather lounge chairs, cheerily setting the tone for what’s to come: a privately chartered trip to some of the nation’s finest liberal arts colleges, including Johns Hopkins, Colby College and Dartmouth.
New York Times
Taking the College Tour by Private Jet
Mimi Doe, a co-founder of Top Tier Admissions, which teams up with Magellan, said its objective was to streamline the college admissions process for the private jet clients, the same way it does for families who pay for its individual services, like its $16,000 four-day college application boot camp.
College Admissions Is Not a Personality Contest. Or Is It?
Colleges take it as a sign that their criteria work so long as their retention rates are good. But even subtle differences in criteria may reveal something about a college’s values, or at least those of its admissions dean. Maria Laskaris, the admissions dean at Dartmouth College from 2007 to 2015, said she directed her staff to consider “empathy” rather than “kindness.” “It’s a broader term,” she said. “And it speaks to what you want students to learn from each other.”
A College Application Guide for Gap Year Students
Delay freshman year, not your application. Students interested in a year off should still apply to college their senior year of high school, advises Michele Hernández, co-president of Top Tier Admissions and a former admissions officer at Dartmouth. It ensures that you’ll have access to your school’s resources and won’t be bogged down with applications and standardized testing during a year that may include travel abroad. “You’d be surprised how quickly your high school forgets you,” Dr. Hernández said. “It’s really hard to go back and ask for teacher recommendations and the other materials you might need after a year has passed.”
In College Admissions, Athletes Are the Problem
Like it or not, 40 percent of the class at most top colleges are reserved for “hooked” kids — the largest group is generally recruited athletes (up to 20 percent), the rest are legacies, underrepresented minorities, development cases (donors) and V.I.P.’s (famous people’s kids). It’s hard for me to say legacy preferences are not fair because the truth is that the process isn’t fair and legacies take up a relatively minor percentage…
Naked Confessions of the College-Bound: Oversharing in Admissions Essays
The Yale applicant had terrific test scores. She had fantastic grades. As one of Yale’s admissions officers, Michael Motto, leafed through her application, he found himself more and more impressed. Then he got to her essay…
The Electronic Lowdown on Colleges
LET me say from the outset that my college-bound daughter has never won an Olympic medal for speed skating. And even if she had, she could cross Harvard off her list. Across America this is how parents of high school juniors are thinking.
Transferring Colleges: How to Transfer to Another College or University
“The statistics around transferring are pretty shockingly high. It’s getting higher every year because admissions is getting more difficult, so kids are not getting into their first choice school and then thinking they can fix things once they start college,” said Mimi Doe, Co-founder of Top Tier Admissions.
What to Look for When Visiting College Campuses –And How to Get the Most Out Of It
When making a decision on the college you attend, you’re going to want to visit the school first. While there are lots of things you can learn about a college online, you have to see it in person to make your final decisions between a handful of schools. We talked to Mimi Doe, Co-founder of Top Tier Admissions to get an expert’s view of the process…
If you want to get into an elite college, you might consider moving to one of these states
An unqualified student is not going to get in, no matter where they live,” said Michele Hernandez, co-founder and co-president of Top Tier Admissions consulting firm. “There are other factors that count more than geographic diversity…
What Activities Help You Get Into Elite Colleges?
Success in being admitted to elite colleges isn’t contingent upon one single factor. Elite colleges are looking for well-rounded students who are ready to make positive contributions…
Michele Hernandez puts it even more succinctly, “That essay is not going to surprise me unless the child dies on the trip.”
Sunday New York Times
Michele Hernandez sent a shock wave through college admissions offices across the country a few months ago. Unlike most counselors, Ms. Hernandez deals exclusively with Ivy-bound clients. She was assistant director of admissions at Dartmouth from 1992-1997 and used that experienced to write a book, A is for Admission. “Ironically you want to look unpackaged and raw — someone like me can be behind the scenes and make someone look raw without over-packaging them.”…
College Sports Are Affirmative Action for Rich White Students
As Harvard’s admission policies go through the ringer, college sports has largely evaded scrutiny, even among the plaintiffs accusing the school of discrimination. “People are complaining about minority students,” says Hernandez, “but athletes are taking up almost a fifth of the class [at Harvard], and they’re lowering the academic standards quite a bit.”
The Berkshire Eagle
Williams College among schools in investigation into early decision practices
Maria Laskaris, former dean of admissions and financial aid at Dartmouth College, said that at one time, sharing lists of students admitted through early decision was a common practice to try to ensure that students were only using the program for their top-choice schools.
Tips for First-Generation College Applicants
If you’re among those who are applying to college as a first-generation student (meaning your parents never attended college) and you’re hesitant to talk about your parents’ educational attainment, you’re not alone. Thirty percent of entering freshmen…
Regular decision application numbers set record high
“I think the recruitment effort, the extensive travel effort of the admissions department … paid off,” Doe said. “I think that it outweighed the bad press surrounding the [recent sexual harassment lawsuit].”
College receives 22,005 total applications for Class of 2022
“The new normal is, ‘I’m applying to college. I need to be ready by November 1st,’” Doe said, explaining why many colleges like Dartmouth are now filling up about half of their incoming classes with early decision applicants.
Early decision students to comprise 47 percent of class
The 555 students accepted early decision for the Dartmouth Class of 2021 are expected to form around 47 percent of the incoming class, the highest level of the past 17 years of classes…
AACE files civil rights complaint
The Asian American Coalition for Education, a group consisting of more than 130 Asian American organizations, announced the filing of civil rights violation complaints against Dartmouth College, Yale University and Brown University…
I Can Teach You, But I’ll Have to Charge
With preparation books for every standardized test imaginable, application fees that stop you from adding that one last safety school to your list and pricey volumes with oddly specific titles . . .
The Globe and Mail
Canadian universities see rise in U.S. applicants
Increasingly, students in the United States are also applying earlier, hoping to improve their chances of getting into their first-choice universities. For example, Harvard’s average acceptance rate is 5 per cent but rises to 14 per cent for those students who apply by November, said Mimi Doe, the president and co-founder of Top Tier Admissions
The New York Post
The book tries to debunk the myths,” said Michele Hernandez. “It tries to explain the process, exactly what goes on and how it works. The book is about everything that happens — the good, bad and the ugly.
The Oregonian’s “Monday Profile” on Michele Hernandez.
The Business of College
Former Dartmouth College Admissions Officer and current admissions consultant, Dr. Michele Hernandez states that there is a method behind college …
The Telegraph (UK)
New private jet service for ultra-rich prospective students has noses out of joint
The college tour is something of a tradition for American families. Parents drive their teenagers from campus to campus hoping to find the ideal academic institution. But for the ultra-rich, there is an alternative to spending hours on the American highways…
The Worcester Telegram
ACT essay scores causing uproar
Many students are in an uproar over a change to the ACT that has yielded what they call inexplicably low scores on the essay section of the nation’s most widely used college admission test…
Who Needs Harvard?
So how do private consultants fit into all this? As many as 1 in 5 applicants to private four-year colleges get some kind of independent coaching, which can range in price from $469 for Kaplan’s three-hour consultation by webcam to $36,000 for four years of hand holding offered by superconsultant Michele Hernandez… “Some of them are very helpful and are helping students learn how to tell us about themselves,” says Lee Stetson, dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania…
USA Today Cover Story
As college admissions deans deliver their final batch of thick or thin envelopes this month to high school seniors, admissions counselors are gearing up for what is perhaps their most unpleasant task each year: the “Why R” calls from parents. “Why R as in, why was my child rejected?” says Michele Hernandez, a college counselor who dreaded those calls when she worked in admissions at Dartmouth College.
Dr. Hernandez featured as a go-to consultant in the article Pointers for the college-bound.
Understand What’s a Good SAT Score for College Admissions
“It kind of depends on your background,” says Michele Hernandez, co-founder and co-president of Top Tier Admissions, which helps prospective college students around the globe with test preparation. Admissions teams, she says, “factor a socioeconomic kind of calculation in their head.”
6 Tips From College Admissions Pros on Standing Out
For many of them, there’s a certain sameness to the applications they read, so when prospective students carve out their own opportunities, colleges notice, says Maria Laskaris, former dean of admissions and financial aid at Dartmouth College and now a senior private counselor at Top Tier Admissions, a company focused on helping applicants navigate the admissions process. “We tell students to push beyond what the school offers,” Laskaris says.
How to Write a College Essay
When reviewing a first essay draft, students should make sure their writing is showing, not telling, Doe says. This means students should aim to show their readers examples that prove they embody certain traits or beliefs, as opposed to just stating that they do.
Transferring Colleges: 10 Frequently Asked Questions
There are plenty of legitimate reasons to transfer, says Mimi Doe, co-founder of Top Tier Admissions advising firm. But don’t transfer out for the wrong reasons, Doe says. If you’re homesick, frustrated by a long-distance relationship or just trying to get admitted to an Ivy League school, really consider whether making the change is necessary.
What’s a Good SAT Score
“It kind of depends on your background,” says Michele Hernandez Bayliss, co-founder and co-president of Top Tier Admissions, which helps prospective college students around the globe with test preparation. Admissions teams, she says, “factor a socioeconomic kind of calculation in their head.” The SAT score expectations might be higher, for example, for a privileged white high schooler than a teen from inner-city Harlem, says Bayliss, who previously worked on the admissions team at Dartmouth College.
3 Ways to Make Your College Application a Winner
Getting a jump on your college prep is a key way to grab the advantage in a field that’s more competitive than ever. The average number of applications per college went up 60 percent between 2002 and 2011, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.
A Former Admissions Officer Assesses ‘Admission’
In “Admission” Tina Fey plays an Princeton admissions officer whose world is shaken by the revelation one of the prospective applicants may be her son. To be sure, there’s plenty of comedy, romance and maternal stirrings. But, loosely based on a book of the same title by an “outside reader” at the Princeton admissions office, “Admission” offers a view—albeit it fictionalized—into the crazed world of top-tier college entrance offices…
Can Facebook Posts Lead to College Rejections?
‘Tis the season. Colleges have sent out their admissions decisions, with prospective students eagerly sorting through acceptances and rejections. This week’s question from Derrick L. in New York, N.Y. tackles the question of whether an applicant’s social media activity…
Wall Street Journal
Why More U.S. Students are Going Abroad for College
As the cost of college in the U.S. soars to record levels, American students in growing numbers are enrolling in schools abroad, where tuition fees are substantially lower—and in some cases nonexistent.
‘Read Me!’: Students race to craft forceful college essays as deadlines near
“The equity problem is serious,” Hernández said. “College consultants are not the problem. It starts way lower down” — at kindergarten or earlier, she added.
Misguided Colleges Skewer Score Choice
College admissions consultants, serving nervous young clients and their parents, seem to favor Score Choice. Michele Hernandez, of Hernandez College Consulting, said it “is a great help to students in terms of easing stress, letting younger students take a practice test in ninth and 10th grade and providing a risk-free attempt at taking this crazy test that won’t go on your record.” Mark Greenstein of Ivy Bound said, “The SAT requirement would not favor the rich if those who are supposed to be looking out for the non-rich did their jobs better.”…
Yale Alumni Magazine
New Directions in Admissions (Cover Story): The very difficulty of getting into a good college is making potential students more knowledgeable about the admissions maze and how to negotiate it. “Students now have to be better detectives,” says admissions consultant Michele Hernandez, a former Dartmouth admissions officer and author of a how-to-guide for students called A is for Admission. “They have access to a lot more information, and they’re making much finer distinctions among colleges.”
Your Teen Magazine for Parents
10 Must-Do College Visit Tips to Get The Most Out of Your Campus Tour
Go beyond the tour. “Try to get a sense of what it’s like to make a home on campus. Check out facilities that are important to you— the library, music, sports, dorms,” recommends Dr. Michele Hernandez.