Think about it a moment. What is so scary about applying to college? If an offer to attend is not extended the applicant isn’t blacklisted, no fingers are chopped off and no one is sent into exile. You also need to remember that there are literally thousands of colleges out there educating millions of students.
For all the families that have frequented amusement parks, think about it this way. When the kids were young and some of the rides had height, age or weight requirements; what was the feeling as you waited in the long line of a popular ride not knowing if junior or the little princess would meet the requirement? The initial doubt turned into anxiety and you all had elevate heart rates and shortness of breath by the time you were next in line to board the ride. Too many families make college admissions like waiting in line for the big roller-coaster knowing that someone might not meet the requirements to ride. If the child does not meet all the requirements to get on the ride, why put all that time and energy into hoping something will change before you reach the boarding platform?
The big roller-coasters in higher education are called Ivy’s and elite level institutions. Very few people have not heard their names and would burst the buttons on their shirts and blouses with pride if their kids gained admission to one of them. Every year hundreds of thousands of students whose grade point averages don’t reach high enough or whose test scores don’t carry enough weight apply to the big roller-coaster schools hoping that a miracle will happen and the gatekeeper will give them a mischievous wink and invite them in.
What entire families fail to consider is that colleges are not only looking at what the student did in high school and what they anticipate they will do in college; they are considering what kind of future the student will have and how it will affect their ability to financially support programs at the college throughout their lifetime. For these reasons, it behooves them to accept only those students that appear to already be adults in their size and weight (academic history, philanthropic activities and demonstrated leadership) to ensure the best outcome. Just remember that there are a variety or rides at the amusement park – plenty to accommodate kids of all sizes, ages and weights. Don’t pout over the ones you are not ready for, enjoy the ones that accept you just the way you are.