April brings the coveted acceptance letters that many students have been chasing throughout high school. For many it also brings heartache in the form of a skinny envelope or distant email that usually begins with something along the lines of “We regret to inform…”.
The anguish is well documented in the news—especially in California, where many of the University of California campuses boast some of the most competitive application processes in the country.
As the number of applicants to highly selective colleges skyrockets, the statistics speak for themselves: five percent acceptance rates that result in the overwhelming majority of students with perfect grades and test scores being rejected from their top choice colleges.
Yes, great grades and test scores do not earn students a spot at their dream schools, whether it is Stanford or UCLA. Students must do something to stand out of the warehouses of applications that are submitted to coveted colleges each year.
While the competition may seem daunting, there is a silver lining to it. Students are no longer expected to be well rounded in everything as colleges have enough applicants to construct a well-rounded class with specialists with different passions and skills. Your child can focus on what she truly cares about and avoid the temptation of being involved in too many activities that do not matter in this process.
Students can show their ability to make a difference in their community, write essays that demonstrate the perspective they will bring with them to college, and dedicate themselves to pursuing what matters most to them… whichever means they choose to express their passion, following their own path will enable them to stand out and increase their odds of admission.
Following others into routine activities will likely lead your child to blend in with the tens of thousands of other high-achieving applicants and make it much more difficult to get in.
As we approach the summer, treat it as an opportunity for your child to explore her passions and do something that demonstrates her ability to pursue them.
To read the latest article from San Jose’s The Mercury News highlighting how the college admissions process is changing, click here.