Run Your Own Race– College Admissions
- The strong student who is a terrible test taker feels bad because her SAT and ACT scores are below those of her classmates.
- The student in the second quarter of his class who feels defeated because he won’t get into the “good colleges”.
- The student with learning issues who thinks she may never get into college because her test scores and class rank are so much lower than those of her friends.
- The parents who lie about which colleges their son got into because they don’t want friends, neighbors, or business associates to know he didn’t get into the schools they were visiting last summer. (YES, parents and students LIE about admissions. Shocking, but very common.)
- Do your best in every class.
- Understand that some people may be smarter or learn things faster; that’s ok. There are things you do better than anyone else. Your goal is to find your strengths.
- Prepare for the SAT / ACT. Set reasonable score goals and work toward them. Don’t expect to get a perfect or near-perfect score.
- Look for colleges where you will excel.
- Don’t worry about where your friends or boy / girl friend will go to college. You will make new friends wherever you go and technology will allow you to keep in touch no mater where you are.
- Stop focusing on “good colleges.” All schools have good and bad points. You can get a good education anywhere if you try.
- Encourage your friends, but don’t compare their results with yours. You are different people with different talents, interests, and abilities.
- Recognize your child’s abilities and limitations. Try to build on strengths and minimize weaknesses.
- Encourage your child to develop interests and talents. They may find opportunities in academic classes, school clubs, or sports, but you may have to help find outlets for skills that don’t fit nicely into the limited opportunities offered at school. You don’t have to spend a fortune; be creative.
- Stop comparing. Do your best to see each child as his or her own person and avoid comparisons with siblings, friends, and neighbors.
- Put down the list of college rankings!
- Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of a college before. Keep in mind that most people have only heard of the schools within driving distance of their homes or those that play televised sports. (Who had heard of Mercer University until they advanced to the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament this spring!)
- Remember every student and every family has struggles. You may not see the problems in other families, but they have them. Most people don’t want to talk about failures, so you may only hear their successes.
- Start talking about the best school for your student and don’t worry about what everyone else will think. (You can always act shocked that your colleague hasn’t heard of this gem of a college your child has found—the one where she will have an average class size of 22!)
This article makes sense. When comparing colleges, how important are Retention Rates and 4 yr graduation rates? As a parent, I care about graduation rates as it my mean students have difficulty getting into classes needed to graduate. However, if students are taking a fifth year to get another major or experience, I don’t see that as a negative. If my student really likes a college whose retention rate and 4 yr grad rate is less than average, what is the best way to find out why the numbers are lower?