Three Reasons to Not Stress Over the College Admissions Process

It’s easy to get caught up in the madness of the college application process. With so much paperwork to fill out, so many deadlines to meet and so much pressure to get accepted into the college of your choice, even the most laid back student can get stressed out. We try to maintain an even keel at The College A Team, but sometimes, even we get caught up in the frenzy, because a lot is riding on our students’ application essays.

But what is there really to be stressed about? What is “riding” on your College Selection Process? It is important to work diligently toward your goals and to try to get into a college that is the right fit for you, but sometimes you have to take a step back, take a deep breath and let your scattered brain relax for a minute. There is no reason to worry so much about the things you can’t control. No matter what happens over the next few months of the college admissions season, you are going to be just fine.

If you still feel stressed by the college admission process, consider the three bits of wisdom below. They may change your perspective on the whole process and put your mind at ease, at least until the next deadline you have to meet rolls around.

You are the customer. You call the shots: Colleges have a strange business model. Their admissions officers spend the fall visiting high schools, trying to convince students to apply to their college. Then they spend the winter rejecting a good portion of those same students they recruited. Can you think of another business that makes you apply to spend $150,000 at their store?

The truth is, colleges need students more than students need colleges. They have a staff to pay and a campus to maintain. They have a reputation to uphold and donors to keep happy. They need you for the contributions you can make to the campus community, the tuition money you will pay and future donations you will make to the endowment. If they reject you, then they don’t deserve your business.

Admissions officers want to admit you: You may have a vision in your head of what a typical admissions officer is like: pretentious, judgmental, someone who casts down judgment from on high, like a sadistic Roman emperor. They’re nothing like that. In fact, admissions officers can be some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. They are regular people who entered the field because they like students and want to help their school build a great class. There is no reason to be intimidated by them.

Admissions officers read every application thoroughly and look for reasons to admit applicants, not reasons to reject them. They will read your admissions essay twice and consider how it complements the rest of your application. They’re not there to put you down. They’re there to give your application a fair shake.

Your second-choice college is probably as good of a fit as your first choice: You will be disappointed if you get rejected from your first-choice school, but your second and third-choice schools are probably as good of a fit for you, if not a better one. You won’t have the same exact student experience, but you will have most of the same opportunities available to you. That’s because the most important part of your education is you. Your education is 20 percent what your school offers and 80 percent what you make of it.

It’s also not worth getting into your “reach” school if you are going to struggle with the academic workload. The most important part of college is growing as a person and graduating with a degree. Failing out is an expensive mistake – if only for the tuition money. At the College A Team, we would rather see a student graduate with honors from a mid-level, Tier 1 liberal arts school than struggle for four years at an Ivy League school. Forget the school that rejected you and go ahead and be an important part of a school that did want you. Four years from now, you’ll be happy you did.


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