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Early Admissions Offers Are Out; Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

Early admissions are out, which means the rumor mill is in full swing. Here are a few of those rumors, and how to deal with them.

Early admissions offers are out, which means the season for rumors is in full swing. Here are a few tall tales floating around among the country’s high school seniors (and their parents).

  • The kid with a 4.0 and 34 ACT score didn’t get admitted to the top school in her state. Everyone knows they don’t like our school.
  • It is harder to get into the University of Florida than Harvard.
  • The kid with the low SAT test score only got into that great Big 10 school because his mom knew someone at the university.
  • Colleges only want well-rounded students.
  • Only the leaders get into the good schools.

Most of this is nonsense.

Just because you are qualified does not guarantee admission to any school on your dream list. And what do you really know about the kid who had a low SAT test score? Perhaps you know nothing at all; perhaps he got all A’s throughout high school and took challenging classes. What if this boy put together a stellar application that included a package of genuine essays that showed some reflection?

What do you really know about that kid who says she has a 4.0 and 34 ACT and got rejected from your state’s top public university? You might not really know her GPA; she might have exaggerated. Did you see her ACT score, or did someone share the information with you?

Don’t believe everything you hear! Colleges want a well-rounded student body, not well-rounded students. They want leaders and followers. Colleges and universities do not discriminate against certain high schools. It is possible that a student with a super high GPA and test score was caught drinking a beer by police, got suspended or simply turned the application in after the deadline.

Marty O’Connell, the executive director for Colleges That Change Lives, offers great perspective on the rumor mill.

“Things are not always as they appear,” she said last spring during a conference in East Lansing. If she listened to every rumor, O’Connell might believe “no one is getting into college. It’s just not true.”

Kim Lifton is president of Wow Writing Workshop, which developed the first self-guided online tutorial for college application essay, Wow Online – College Essay, and also offers private consulting and essay review services.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rhonda Hendrickson January 19, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Having a high school senior, I enjoy your blog. Something I have been wondering is it seems like every time I turn around someone tells me that their nephew, granddaughter, neighbor or you name it, got a "full ride scholarship" to some college. I hear this from my mother in Florida, who tells me that she hears this from all her friends. I can't believe that ALL these colleges are paying for kids to attend. I think that people must be confusing full rides with loans and scholarships of other sorts. Full rides are not commonplace. I know that many out of state schools will pay the difference so it is equal to in state tuition costs. But full rides? Can't be. If it is, then where do I sign up? :)
It is a rumor. Most students do not get full rides.
J Arch February 10, 2013 at 07:49 PM
"Full ride" scholarships are almost non-existent. Most of them that occur are for elite athletes, particularly for football and basketball.. Very few are awarded for academics. If a student gets 100% of their tuition covered, it is most likely need-based in the form of grants. The elite private schools (the Ivies, Georgetown, Northwestern, Stanford and the like) commit to meeting 100% of "demonstrated need," which means if you can get into one of those schools and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on your FAFSA is less than the $60K per year it takes to go to one of these schools, the institution will make up the difference in the form of a grant from their endowment fund without the use of loans. And in many of those cases if your family income is below a certain amount ($60K comes to mind), they guarantee that they will pay the student's entire bill for 4 years. But these are grant programs, not scholarships. And you have to be able to get into one of these places where the acceptance rate hovers around 5%. That being said, always consider applying to the private schools in addition to the state schools as even though their listed cost is 2-3 times higher, many students qualify for grants from the private institution to offset at least some of that gap. The resulting difference in cost can sometimes become negligible if the student can get accepted into the private school. J. Wagner
And thanks for reading our blog!
GP For Life February 11, 2013 at 08:34 PM
"The kid with a 4.0 and 34 ACT score didn’t get admitted to the top school in her state." I am going to guess that kid was white... Pro Tip #1: The amount of due diligence most admission offices do is zero outside of transcripts and standardized test scores. Pro Tip #2: $700 in Starbucks gift cards spread over Junior and Senior year will pay huge dividends when it comes to getting a letter of recommendation or ending up on the right side of a grading curve. Pro Tip #3: Pelle Grants are free money. Take your UTMA/UGMA and stash it in a safe deposit box. Pro Tip #4: Learn to build something or start a business, unless you're going to a top-tier school. The ROI on state school education is so negative right now, it's absurd. You won't be able to pay the juice on your student loans with your McJobs and you'll die poor and in debt. In short, you have to be extremely bullish on the economy right now to make a leveraged, 4-year play like college. I am GP For Life and I didn't create the economy the youth of today is stuck with, but I am sorry regardless.
Debra L. Van Buren February 11, 2013 at 11:02 PM
The ROI on state school education may be negative right now, yet it is by no means absurd! Obtaining an education has inherent benefits that cannot be merely measured by a pay check. Besides, today's society requires highly educated and/or trained individuals to compete in the global economy. Too much emphasis is placed on one's immediate return on investment. What ever happenned to delayed gratification? Or better more, why not try budgeting your money more effectively, and/or living below your means for a while, to accumulate enough savings to enter the college or university of your choice. Student loans are certainly not the only option to obtaining a good education. They never were meant for everyone. You need not make a leveraged, 4-year play. As a seasoned former student and graduate, I know better. You need not die poor and in debt. Cash is still king! Try using it, and you won't find yourself in a rut.
Obviously, GP for Life is upset about something.
Pale Rider February 12, 2013 at 08:32 PM
""The kid with a 4.0 and 34 ACT score didn’t get admitted to the top school in her state." I am going to guess that kid was white..." I think it's great when European-American kids get screwed for the sake of "diversity" when it comes to college admissions. It gets them ready for the real world after college, especially if they plan on staying in Wayne County, MI. Keep voting for the candidate on the left, youngsters....It also explains why so many Arab-Americans claim to be of some other race than "white" and why they refer to European-Americans as "white" in order to draw a distinction between themselves and "white" people. Am I somehow racist for noticing this or for drawing this inference?
GP For Life February 12, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Debra, the very concept of delayed gratification is precisely what investment is. Investment takes place when an individual or firm forgoes current consumption for the purchase of goods or services to be used in the future to create wealth. In order for this to make any sort of sense, the present value of the incremental cash flows must be greater than the sum of cash outlays for the good or service, in this case a college education. If they don’t, writ large, you end up destroying economic value and making our nation worse off through the ignorant deployment of capital, not only fiscal but intellectual, as well. Thus, I reject your claim that people are focusing too narrowly on the short-term ROI. The very nature of a four-year investment of money and time does not lend itself to a short-term analysis. However, even in the long term and at the margin, a college education is still needs to add a significant amount of cash flow to get to a break-even ROI. If you add debt service costs, the hurdle becomes even harder to clear. I agree with you that college isn’t for everyone, the problem is, everyone thinks it’s for them. Couple this with the current economic condition of our country, which can’t support all the workers who want to work right now, let alone all the newly-minted college graduates and you have a real problem. Plus, the world needs ditch diggers too. Kim, I am not upset, but the kids after me will be...
Debra L. Van Buren February 13, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Delayed gratification refers to a long term analysis. You are missing my point 100%. Over time, the cost of obtaining a college education is a mere pittance compared to the actual ROI. Educating oneself does not necessarily have to be a cash cow, either. Moreover, education must remain a highly prioritized societal goal of our youth, in an effort to improve the economic condition of our country. Sure, we need ditch diggers, too, yet don't equate unemployment in our country with intelligence. Many college graduates are working today in fields other than their choice. The long term benefits of a college education always has, and probably always will, lend itself to a ROI that far exceeds the drop-out rate. I believe the economy is on the road to recovery, and those working in jobs below their capacity will be afforded new opportunities in the future. Economic value is enhanced, not destroyed, through the wise, NOT ignorant deployment of capital utilized by individuals to obtain an education. Newly-minted college graduates will no doubt overcome the challenges and hurdles they face in today's society, and their ROI will not be disputable. Think outside the box.
mucopurulent March 04, 2013 at 07:59 PM
My kids got full tuition and even a nice chunk towards room and board. Be aware that scholarships that go beyond tuition and books is taxable income, there are worse problems to have. GPAs were 3.9/>4.0, ACT 34/35, with 8 and 12 AP classes. No TV or game consoles at our house.

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