Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Surviving the College Application Process

Tomorrow is the big day. August 1st is the day that the Common Application comes out and the next application cycle truly begins. For many students, this is an extremely stressful time. Much of this stress, however, is overreaction. 

Part of the problem is that so many students get caught up in the megalomania of college search and create a romantic image of their dream school. It is important for students applying to remember that a plan B is indispensable, and sometimes even a better option. Students can fall in love with their perception of a school, even though it may not be the truth about that school. That is why admissions offices look over applications to see if students are a good fit for the school's community.

But the real problem exists in that students so often forget what it means to be a fit for a school. These schools aren't rejecting students to be malicious, they are rejecting students because they only have so much room in their dorms and classes and need to make sure their class is made of up of students who can handle the rigor at that institution, and will take advantage of the opportunities there.

When a school rejects a student, what that student really needs to know is that it isn't because they weren't good enough, but because they weren't a match for the community at that school. There is something the admissions office saw that the student did not, that made them incompatible with the school. They may be a good fit for a different, even more prestigious, school. They just weren't a match for the school that rejected them. 

These are the things I will have to remember as I begin applying to colleges this fall, and the things that I hope other students applying now and in the future will remember, so they aren't so hard on themselves if any particular college does regret to inform them about an admissions decision.