Early Admissions Are Out, Don't Believe Everything You Hear

by Kim Lifton

Early admissions offers are out, which means the season for rumors is in full swing. Here are a few tall tales floating around among the country’s high school seniors (and their parents).

  • The kid with a 4.0 and 34 ACT score didn’t get admitted to the top school in her state. Everyone knows they don’t like our school.
  • It is harder to get into the University of Florida than Harvard.
  • The kid with the low SAT test score only got into that great Big 10 school because his mom knew someone at the university.
  • Colleges only want well-rounded students.
  • Only the leaders get into the good schools.

Most of this is nonsense.

Just because you are qualified does not guarantee admission to any school on your dream list. And what do you really know about the kid who had a low SAT test score?  Perhaps you know nothing at all; perhaps he got all A’s throughout high school and took challenging classes. What if this boy put together a stellar application that included a package of genuine essays that showed some reflection?

What do you really know about that kid who says she has a 4.0 and 34 ACT and got rejected from your state’s top public university? You might not really know her GPA; she might have exaggerated. Did you see her ACT score, or did someone share the information with you?

Don’t believe everything you hear! Colleges want a well-rounded student body, not well-rounded students. They want leaders and followers. Colleges and universities do not discriminate against certain high schools. It is possible that a student with a super high GPA and test score was caught drinking a beer by police, got suspended or simply turned the application in after the deadline.

Marty O’Connell, the executive director for Colleges That Change Lives, offers great perspective on the rumor mill. “Things are not always as they appear,” she said last spring during a conference in East Lansing. If she listened to every rumor, O’Connell might believe “no one is getting into college. It’s just not true.”

Kim Lifton is president of Wow Writing Workshop. You can read our blogs and get useful tips about the college essay, scholarships and the college admissions process by signing up for Wow’s weekly newsletter; Wow is also on Facebook and Twitter.