When I saw the title of this article written by Jessica Yeager, “The College Admissions Advice Kids Have Sworn By For Years Is Wrong” my first thought was, here we go… But I was pleasantly surprised by the insight she displayed in finding a major inconsistency in what school children are told and the reality of college admissions.
Students run themselves ragged trying to balance AP and Dual Credit-laden schedules with their chosen sport, the duties of a club officer and regularly attended volunteer activities. These things are usually supplemented by tutoring peers or reading to grade school children while taking private music lessons, keeping up with Scouting responsibilities and doing whatever chores they are assigned around the house. They have been taught all their lives to be a responsible, musically talented athlete who is an outstanding leader, dedicates time to a worthy cause and takes care of everything expected of them at home.
The truth is that colleges put together their freshman classes each year by targeting students that are outstanding in one, maybe two areas. Can you imagine a college made up of only valedictorians, who were athletic standouts who volunteered regularly and were presidents of a club? The result would be similar to flooding the campus with any other homogeneous group. Most clubs would disappear and the student body would eventually develop a single-minded pursuit that ignored or outright resisted change of any kind.
Colleges seek to bring together students that don’t look or act anything alike. In doing so, they greatly enhance, “the other education”. When students can learn from one another at a comparable rate of the things taught in the classroom, they leave college understanding far more than just details of their major coursework.
So, stop trying to take the edges off your child. The shape of the most attractive college applicants is not round.