We burst a lot of bubbles at Ivy Coach. It’s not like we’re frequent bubble gum chewers. It’s that there are a number of folks who reach out to us who have unreasonable expectations about their chances — or their child’s chances — for admission. When the parent of a student with ‘C’ grades and a 21 ACT score reaches out to us to see what we can do to help her daughter gain admission to Harvard, we let her know that there is absolutely nothing we can do. We can’t help her and neither can anyone else. Her daughter is not getting into Harvard. It might be tough for her to hear, but we long ago accepted that some parents and students are going to be upset by what we have to say. It’s part of the nature of college admissions.
Some months ago, we heard from a student who had been receiving brochures from a highly selective college. We’ll henceforth say that it was Yale even though it wasn’t Yale. This student was convinced that Yale so very much wanted her, that she was going to earn admission. We corrected her that Yale did indeed very much want her. They wanted her to apply. But with her SAT score and grades, she did not have any reasonable shot of gaining admission to Yale. We discussed with her how many highly selective colleges send out brochures — those glossy booklets you get in the mailbox — to all sorts of students, even unqualified students. And why? Simply because they want to boost their application numbers and improve their ranking in “US News & World Report.”
It’s sometimes very difficult to hear that a school that you thought loved you is just, well, using you. It’s kind of like dating a bad person in a way, if you think about it in this respect. These schools can be bad dates. So don’t be fooled if a highly selective college sends you brochures. Maybe you can get in. Or maybe you can’t. What we’re saying is that receiving a college brochure is no indication of either.