Another College Admissions Myth Busted: Success is NOT determined by the school you attend.

Many students and parents believe in this myth–that you are guaranteed success in life if you are admitted to (fill in your highly selective college or university here) or, conversely, that you will not be successful if you are  denied by a short list of certain highly selective institutions.

We want to bust this myth wide open.  Success is based on so many factors (one of which is how you even define success).  The school you attend is just one variable in this equation.  We believe that success in life–in work, family, friends, community and more–is determined by  factors that will evolve and change over the course of your life.

The first hurdle for a student in the college selection process is to explore options and think about the short term future (undergraduate studies) in a concrete manner.  This means focusing on the right professional and academic trajectory for you. Your success in this journey will be based on selecting the right career path, your  internal motivation, enthusiasm,  can-do/positive attitude, and  a little bit of luck as well.

You can improve the odds of selecting well by taking advantage of the many opportunities available to you during your undergraduate years   This might include getting involved in co-curricular activities and work opportunities.  These experiences often guide you toward mentors and experiences which will shape your career decisions.  Summer internships and shadowing experiences offer similar opportunities.

The definition of success will be different for each person and will change and expand as you learn more about yourself.

In the spirit of helping students and families identify the many different definitions of success  regardless of the college or university you attend, we have compiled a list of “highly visible alumni” that you might find interesting.  Admissions 1 is a New York-based consulting practice so this list is  heavy on the SUNY system.  Our list is filled with people who started at state schools and have reached the top of their respective fields:

Name Professional field &/or title Alma Mater
Wolf Blitzer Journalist  

SUNY Buffalo


Eileen Collins Astronaut, first woman to command a space shuttle  

Corning Community College


Renee Fleming Renowned Opera Singer  

SUNY Potsdam


Gregory Maguire Writer, Author of Wicked  

SUNY Albany


Colin Powell Former U.S. Sec. of State  

City College of New York


Al Roker Television Personality  

SUNY Oswego


Jack Welch Former Chairman and 


UMASS Amherst

Quite honestly, this list could go on.  There are innumerable people (maybe not famous but still successful) tackling interesting problems in numerous fields every day.

So, the sky is the limit (well, for everyone except Eileen Collins–the sky does not limit our astronaut alumna!) — not the school you attend.