Admissions facts that stand the test of time.
1. There are no guarantees. Even if you have a perfect score on the SAT or the ACT along with a 4.0 GPA–you are not guaranteed a place at your first choice institution. Look at this example: 83% of high school valedictorians that applied to Princeton University in 2010 were rejected (see Princeton’s data here). That is a hard fact!
2. Critical and changing unknowns. Schools have their own agenda. Their goal is to populate a community. Remember, this is not just a numbers game. Admissions is a balance of selecting students who fit the academic profile of the school and will bring to campus a rich variety of academic and co-curricular interests. Applicants cannot possibly know what a school is looking for over time. For example, a school might have just decided to increase biology majors or received a grant to increase the number of cellists. As you can see the list can go on and change all the time.
3. Competitive process. Remember all those valedictorians applying to Princeton? Talk about competition. Additionally, more students are applying to more schools (colleges) which increases the competition at all schools. Many of our clients’ parents are surprised to learn how competitive the New York State system (SUNY) of colleges and universities have become. It is not your parents SUNY any more!
4. Costly investment–you know this. The cost of higher education increases every year. This is a big investment in your future. You will spend a lot of time and money on your undergraduate education. It makes sense to spend some time exploring your options and making good choices.
Because there are many critical facts about the college selection process that applicants cannot control, we advise focusing on the things you can control. It makes sense to spend time exploring your academic, professional, and co-curricular interests during your sophomore and junior year of high school. Find out what you want out of your undergraduate education. This effort will help you to focus and engage in the college selection process.
5. The pay off is priceless–if you spend time, effort, and possibly some money now during the exploration phase–you will reap the benefits of this investment when you are completing your applications. This will allow you to focus on the schools to which you will ultimately apply. And once your hear back from schools you will be in a better position to compare your options and make the best decision for you.
Let the exploration begin!