Understanding the “Getting In” Process

Getting into college has become so competitive in the last few years. More and more kids are applying to college than ever before, overwhelming the admissions office and forcing them to accept a mere 30%, 20%, 5% of applicants.
If attending college is your goal, it seems like childhood ends the moment you graduate from junior high school. Nowadays you better have a master plan on how to get into college and you better start the first day of freshman year. No pressure.
Don’t let the insanity of college admissions get to you, not yet at least. The first step of getting into college is understanding the “getting in” process. This will help you take a deep breath and relax a little bit. It will also help you to put a sane plan together to reach sane goals.
It’s Beyond Your Control
You can take this as good news or bad news. It’s good news because you can sigh in relief and understand that when you apply for a specific college. You can work to do absolutely everything perfectly and still not get in, or you can choose your own path during high school and get into your dream college. This lack of control actually frees you up to live your life for the four years of high school as you choose. Not bad right?
If you are a control freak, realizing that the college admission process is beyond your control can be interpreted as bad news for you. Now might be the time to learn to let go and realize most things in life are beyond your control anyway and learn how to manage that.
Why It’s Beyond Your Control
When applying for college you simply do not know what the admissions office is looking for in a student that year. It could be that in the particular year you are applying, the school is concentrating on diversity, legacy applicants (not fair but true), or athletic recruiting. So you may be stunned when your college of choice rejects your perfect SAT score and perfect 4.0 GPA in favor of the slacker kid who spent her entire time playing water polo and average a 2.0 GPA.
However this might be a good thing. It means you don’t necessarily have to give up on the idea of college if you aren’t that kid that can pull perfect grades. You still have a shot at college if you are smart and use your time in high school to position yourself as something your school of choice desperately wants.

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