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The Ivy Coach Daily

August 30, 2022

Misinformed Parents Navigating Admissions

Parents encouraging their children to present well-rounded profiles to elite colleges is the coffee equivalent of drinking, well, Starbucks. It just doesn’t cut it. They can do better and so too can you (photo credit: Bex Walton).

It never ceases to boggle our minds how truly misinformed parents navigating the churning waters of elite college admissions can be. Irrespective of their own educational pedigree, the prestige of their children’s high school, or their children’s academic prowess, most parents simply don’t understand the highly selective college admissions process. And even if they do understand bits and pieces about the process, their children are so often executing a plan to earn admission to these schools that, well, makes little sense.

Allow us to share with our readers an analogy. Most people who drink coffee like to drink good coffee. Yet there’s a Starbucks on virtually every Main Street in America. And why? Because a significant chunk of Americans don’t think too much about it and just drink Starbucks — even though, we would argue, there are much better options. For instance, if you find yourself in New Orleans, Louisiana, it would be better to order a cappuccino from Pond Coffee in the Marigny or at Congregation in Algiers. If you find yourself in East Hampton, New York, there’s Hello Oma. Or if you find yourself in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, there’s NCO.

In elite college admissions, so many parents are like Starbucks coffee-drinkers. They encourage their children to present well-rounded profiles — students who excel in sports, music, community service, and more — even though there’s a better option, one that will optimize their case for admission. That better option, the Pond Coffee in our analogy, is to present a singularly talented profile, to showcase to admissions officers how a student is going to change the world in one super specific and often small way. So don’t be misinformed. Don’t follow the herd.

While you’re here, read ten common college admissions misconceptions. And apologies to Starbucks. Hey, we tell it like it is. And we totally approve drinking Starbucks in airports when our readers have no choice!

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