“USA Today” has a piece up by educational company Peterson’s about college admissions myths that we figured we’d share on the pages of our college admissions blog. We’ve always been quite fond of Peterson’s and that’s because in the 1990’s, at the dawn of the Internet age, Peterson’s published an article by Ivy Coach’s Founder, Bev Taylor, that became somewhat of a sensation in the category of college admissions. Indeed if you did an AOL search back then (yes, it was AOL search and not Google), this article would be the first hit if you “AOL’ed” “college” or “university.” To the tune of “All in the Family” (apologies to students for whom this Archie Bunker reference is over your heads), “those were the days!” Anyway, we digress. Whatever, we like to tell stories. Deal with it.
In this particular piece by Peterson’s, one myth they try to tackle head on is that there is one perfect school for everyone. It’s true. That is definitely a myth, unless you really like to think that way. We don’t happen to be believers in love at first sight. We believe that there are lots of great people who can make a good match, that there are lots of folks on this earth who people can fall in love with. Oh wait. We’re supposed to be discussing colleges. Well, we would argue the same holds true for love as it does for colleges. There are lots of great colleges out there. Peterson’s is right. Don’t restrict your list to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton just because those are the schools you think are your favorites. Be open-minded and you shall find love. Sometimes when you least expect it. Maybe you’ll be totally against Duke and then you step foot on the Durham, North Carolina Campus and all you want to do is be a Blue Devil. Stranger things have happened.
We also agree with Peterson’s assessment of depth of involvement in extracurricular pursuits. We have long argued that less is more, that depth of involvement trumps the number of activities students pursue. As Peterson’s eloquently writes, “The vast majority of applicants will actually be overqualified for the school and will also have numerous extracurricular activities and experiences. Therefore, the admissions officers are looking for the activities where you had a leadership role or played a significant role in a major project. It’s better to have fewer activities where you focused and made a difference than more where you were just a participant.”
Ok, our love-fest with Peterson’s is over for this particular day. But, Peterson’s, if we haven’t told you in the past, we do tip our hats to you for helping ignite our business in the 1990’s. We were around before your help but we owe you a debt of gratitude. So thank you to our friends at Peterson’s.