The College Admissions Process is Unfair

Now that those early application deadlines have passed, you have plenty of time to fret over whether or not you'll be admitted to your dream college. Regardless of how well you're handling the anticipatory stress, this article from the New York Times will help put the application process into perspective. Here are the take-home points to remember:

It's not all about you.
Colleges have their own agenda as to who they'll admit to create the perfect incoming class. Don't blame yourself if you are not a good fit with a particular college. You will find that it will all work out in the long run.

Grades and Test Scores are the number one factor.
Especially with larger schools, the process can be extremely data driven, but once you've made the first cut, individual differences among essays, activities, and recommendations become much more important.

Let the real you shine through.
Colleges can tell when essays are over-polished. They would prefer to see who you really are. More and more applications are including video formats that allow for a more authentic glimpse of applicants.

Diversity has an impact.
If your background sets you apart, make sure to share this in your personal story. Colleges will notice.

Money talks.
Colleges do need students who can pay all or part of the tuition, so it's not unlikely that a student could get rejected due to financial reasons alone.

Geography matters.
Colleges want to say that they have students from across the United States, so applying outside your region can benefit you.

Legacy doesn't always help.
Legacy can make the difference between similar applicants, but it will only take you so far if your qualifications are below what's expected for that school.

Community impact goes a long way.
Colleges are paying more attention to community service over a long period of time. While a fancy service trip won't help you (any may even hurt your application), service activities continued throughout high school will have an impact.

Demonstrate interest.
Colleges want to know that you value them and will attend if accepted, so make sure to show your love by visiting, connecting with admissions counselors, and opening emails.

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