Lessons Learned: College Admissions 2019

We know you don’t believe us.

You’ve come to our presentations, and we’ve met privately at your home.  You’ve heard us say it multiple times:  that Harvard rejects 80% of the valedictorians who apply each year; that Stanford rejects 70% of the applicants with perfect SAT and ACT scores.  That Yale could fill its class three times over with 1500+/4.0 students, they just don’t have the room in their freshman class.  That admission to what most people refer to as “top-tier” schools – meaning in the top 50 nationally-ranked universities and liberal arts colleges – is basically a lottery.

That all nine UCs combined have about 70,000 seats in their freshman class – and 25% of those go to out-of-state residents – for the half a million California high school seniors who graduate each year.

You’ve heard us say that a 4% acceptance rate means that 96% of the applicants get rejection letters.  That “holistic” means students with lower grades and test scores could actually be admitted over your child.

But when you hear us say these things, we know the voice inside your head says, “Yeah, but they’re not talking about my kid.  My kid will be one of the ones who gets in.”

At least, that’s what the voice has been saying, until your best friend’s kid, the one with the perfect ACT score and 4.0, and some pretty awesome volunteer experience, was rejected from 8 colleges, all in the same week, four on the same day.  And your best friend had to watch her daughter cry.  Over and over again.

So the best approach to building your college list, if you’re a sophomore or a junior right now, is to come at it with an open mind.  If you are willing to put in some time and research colleges outside of the names you know, you are more likely to get better decisions than students who do not do this.  And you MUST include colleges on your list that have acceptance rates higher than 30 or 40%, or you are most likely in for some serious disappointment.

Here’s where we come in:  we’re here to help you (and your teenager) love colleges other than the ones you know off the top of your head.  We’re here to help you (and your teenager) believe and unders tand that your child can have an incredible experience, get a fabulous education, build relationships with academics and peers, and land a great job after college – EVEN at a school whose name is not splashed on every bumper sticker in town.

We’ve been saying this for awhile – balance your list, manage your expectations.  Here are a few blog posts from the past year:

We know you don’t believe us.

But it’s true.  Let us know if we can help.


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