We all have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to the Internet.
You can learn, shop, talk to and share with people from around the world. It’s made getting information faster and easier than ever before. Unfortunately, it’s also made the spread of misinformation waaaaaaaay faster and easier, too.
There’s a TON of stuff online promising the super-secret, never-fails tips to get into college…and most of it is absolute garbage.
Don’t believe everything you read
Unless you’re talking to someone who has gone through the admissions process themselves AND has an inside perspective into the process, you really can’t believe everything that you read.
Furthermore, the circumstances around college admissions changes yearly, evolving with trends and technology in veeeeeeery exciting ways. Take the new (and evolving) four-year college application and admissions process, for example.
The college application process is ever-changing
Wasting time and energy on the myths that you find all over the Web can be harmful to your student’s process. So, let’s avoid that by digging in and busting three of the biggest myths out there…
College Admissions Myth 1: The Most Important Part Of Your College Application Is Your Test Scores
When it comes to college admissions myths, this is one of the whoppers. This couldn’t be much farther from the truth if it tried to be. It’s so tempting to put a ton of faith in concrete numbers because, well, it gives us a sense of ranking. You’d think that you get that 2400 on the SAT and you’re a sure thing to get into an Ivy, right? WRONG. Over time, the value of standardized test scores has actually been going down, and some schools don’t even ask for them! And it’s not like the adcoms are going to choose between you and another candidate by of your test scores.
Does this mean that standardized test scores don’t matter? Of course not. If you’re looking at the Ivy League, you should feel good about an SAT of 2100+, and don’t worry about a point here or there. Now, if your scores are VERY low, you neeeeeeed to retake if you’re going to give yourself a chance at the good schools. But the idea that the scores are the MOST important part of your app? That’s crazy.
College Admissions Myth 2: Applying To Only One Or Two Ivy League Schools Increases A Student’s Odds Of Getting In
I have be honest, here. This one makes the LEAST amount of sense to me. Think of it like a lottery. Would you ever think your chances of winning were better if you bought FEWER tickets? C’mon, now. That said, there’s actually a historical reason for this myth.
There was a time when the top schools would communicate with one another about who was applying, but that time is looooooong gone. Now people think that if you apply to fewer schools, your applications will automatically be stronger or “more meaningful.” The best advice here is to apply as to many schools as you can, as long as you are able to create STRONG applications to each one.
If you find yourself rushing to fill out applications and feel like the essays aren’t your best efforts, reconsider what you’re trying to accomplish. The main takeaway here is that you will NOT hurt your chances by applying to many schools, as long as your applications are good. If you can write 20 AWESOME applications, do it!
College Admissions Myth 3: Only Apply To Schools That “Fit” You The Best.
We hear this waaaaaaaaaaay too much for our liking: “I need to make sure that every school I apply to is a PERFECT fit for me.” Forget that noise. We stand firmly on the belief that you apply to the best schools and go to the best one you get into. Why? Well, let’s break it down…
First of all, what’s “fit,” anyway? Is it liking the campus? Is it enjoying the weather? Is it class size? With all of those different factors, how can you even KNOW you’ll “fit” somewhere unless you GO?
The important thing about college is going somewhere where you’ll grow in intelligence, wisdom, skills, and maturity. That said, the better the school, the better chance you’ll have of growing. Furthermore, “fit” doesn’t really apply to the best schools because you’re getting a first-rate, world-class education AND the name recognition and reputation you’ll need in the future. With tools like that, what can “fit” really matter?
One notable exception here – if you get into two equally elite schools, THAT’S the time to consider fit. Visit the campuses, talk to students and faculty, etc. Other than that, don’t get too preoccupied with the idea of “fit.”