Blogs on college admissions are burning up with comments from frustrated parents and students. Many of the most selective colleges received record numbers of applications and thus sent rejection letters to more students than ever before.
Stanford received 38,828 applications (an increase of over 2,000 from the previous year) and accepted only 5.7 percent. So, just 2,210 students received Stanford’s proverbial fat envelope. Seven of the eight Ivy League schools also posted record low acceptance rates.
The news has been crushing to many students who worked hard, took rigorous courses, participated in an exciting variety of extracurricular activities, wrote insightful essays and received strong letters of recommendation.
Angry, confused parents are asking “What more could they have done?” Here are some comments from The New York Times’ “The Choice” Blog:
“REJECTED BY ALL. Oh God, I am so suicidal!”
“Colleges today and especially the Ivies are mainly admitting ‘the specialists’ students, those students with a ‘hook’ (the athlete, the legacy, the minority). The well-rounded, smart kid is an endangered species … especially the female applicants from states like New Jersey!”
“If life is defined at age 18 with college admissions, you need a perspective check and a serious one. I understand the disappointment and bruised ego, but the world is a big interesting place and Ivies don’t have a monopoly on great talent – and talent is developed and cultivated over a long period of time.”
“Younger son avoided the Ivies like poison ivy and is firmly installed at Carleton and happy. It’s what you do with the hand you’re dealt in the long run.”
“My son was triple-whammied with three rejections Thursday from Colgate, Harvard and Hamilton. There are no words to comfort him. I have told him… go to plan B. Still, things were gloomy around here for several days. Bitter, bitter pills… broken dreams are tough at 17…”
“For the people asking ‘what is going on?’ Which is code for ‘how dare you not take my perfect kid!’ What is going on is that there are thousands and thousands of applications for a very limited number of spots, and there are many thousands of kids with credentials just as good as your kid’s.”
And one wise soul wrote compassionately, “Undergraduate admissions is incredibly random and subjective. The playing field is not ‘level.’ So a lot of this is going to come down to luck. A rejection doesn’t define your academic potential or predict your future performance.
“You can’t prevent other people from making what you consider wrong decisions that negatively affect you. But you can control how you will respond. So whether you are admitted, rejected or waitlisted, please remember that the key to your success will always be your actions and behavior – not the school name on your diploma.”
Now that’s good advice.
Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. www.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com.
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