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Time For a Reality Check

Parents, teachers, and college counselors are not in the job of crushing students’ dreams. But, we may be doing students a disservice if we encourage them to apply to schools to which they simply won’t be accepted. A student whose GPA is 4.2, who got 2350 on the SAT, and who organized building playgrounds for underprivileged kids while placing second in a national piano competition should be able to get into any school. Yet, she may get rejected anyway. Scary, right?

There are highly selective schools in this country with acceptance rates in the single digits. Kids who get accepted and kids who get rejected can look very, very similar.

Websites like feature scattergrams such as the one shown above. These charts graph the SAT and GPA for students both accepted and rejected. In this example (from the Ivy League) the students who are accepted (the green dots) and rejected (the red dots) look eerily similar.

Should a student with a GPA under 3.5 and SAT score under 2000 apply to this school? No one can make that decision except for the student and family. But if a student is clear on the school's history, and sees the statistics, perhaps she will focus her energy on a school that’s the right fit for her, rather than a school whose name we all know.

What do you think?

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