One of the express objectives of our admissions blog is to debunk misconceptions about the highly selective college admissions process — misconceptions perpetuated by school counselors, by private college counselors, by the press, and, heck, by the local grocer. So when we come across one such misconception being touted, we consider it our task to correct the record. Today, we happened to read an editorial in “The Santa Fe New Mexican” in which a private college counselor makes an outlandish statement. So what did this private college counselor say, you ask?
The Suggestion that Every College Applicant Faces Rejection
In a piece published today entitled “How to help your child during college-acceptance season” by Elizabeth Heubeck, she writes, “Nancy Federspiel, an educational consultant in Bolton, Massachusetts, tells her clients that getting into a top-tier school is a bonus, but to plan on not getting in. ‘No matter how good your student is, they’re going to get rejected,’ Federspiel says. Ummm, we’ve got data from over a quarter of a century to suggest this is patently false. Not every applicant is going to get rejected. In fact, it’s a rare exception when one of our students at Ivy Coach doesn’t earn admission to their top choice college.
Why That Suggestion, While Well-Intentioned, is False
We understand the sentiment that this private college counselor is trying to express. We understand she’s trying to downplay expectations so that every child feels happy at the end of the highly stressful college admissions process. But college applicants weren’t born yesterday. They don’t need to be told falsehoods, like the suggestion that every applicant is going to get rejected. Really? What about all of our students who earn admission to their respective Early Decision schools? How can this counselor justify suggesting that every student is going to get rejected in the process when thousands of students earn admission via Early Decision annually? Many of these applicants didn’t apply to any other schools…and they earned admission to their first choice school.
We get that it’s important to set realistic expectations so students can cope with rejection because many students do face rejection. But our students at Ivy Coach often earn admission to schools that many would argue are unrealistic and our students at Ivy Coach — overwhelmingly — tend not to face rejection. High school students, in our experience, would much prefer to be told like it is. They don’t need to be told fairy tales.