If you’re a high school senior applying to college (or the parent of a high school senior applying to college), we strongly encourage you against offering quotes on college admissions to press outlets. That’s right. If a reporter should call or email you and ask for your take on, say, the Cornell Early Decision process, just hang up or don’t reply. It’s that simple. And if your private college counselor should put you in touch with a press outlet to offer a quote, well, get a new private college counselor…and do so stat. Why does it matter, you ask?
Because it behooves you to keep your cards close to your vest in elite college admissions. As an example, in a recent piece in The Cornell Daily Sun by Ally Fertig entitled “Prospective Cornellians Reflect on Early Decision Application Cycle,” she writes, “Helen Sidon, who applied early decision to the hotel school, described a more remote experience. ‘The virtual tour was a good opportunity to see campus and hear a couple different perspectives from students, which helped me to better understand the environment at Cornell,’ Sidon said.” The student’s quote is innocuous, of course, but what happens if she doesn’t get into Cornell in the Early Decision round? If that’s the case, we wouldn’t want any school in the Regular Decision round to think she applied elsewhere — like Cornell — Early. We’d rather they think she was a procrastinator who didn’t apply anywhere Early or wasn’t ready to commit to an institution. But now the student runs the risk that an admissions officer will find this piece on a Google search and know she applied Early to Cornell. Suddenly, the admissions officer’s school is second fiddle.
The lesson to be learned? No quotes. No talking to reporters. No opining about the elite college admissions process. That goes for students. That goes for their parents. That goes for their dogs. Keep those cards close to the vest…always. Besides, why tell students at your high school — as you’re doing when you talk about where you applied Early to the press — where you made a binding commitment? Why open yourself up to potential sabotage? How exactly does that serve you? It doesn’t!
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