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The Object Is Not Getting In, But Getting Out

For parents and students alike, the college admissions process often brings to the surface deep-seated existential anxiety. The fear sounds something like this: What will happen if I/my child doesn't get into... elite college? ...the college everyone in our family has gone to? ...a well-known college? If you have experienced such rumblings, we would like to humbly suggest that you're asking the wrong question. If you're playing the long game, the focus should be on graduating and graduating with career and life skills--getting out of college, not getting in. Today's students must be far more active in designing their college experience than we were. Each student's college journey will be what he makes of it so, in the end, what really matters is that your student find a school where he can feel content, experience success, and be willing to risk trying new things. Throughout the college search and application process, encourage him to look beyond familiar names and "good" schools that may not be a good fit for him. Help him find and apply to schools that meet his unique academic, social, and emotional needs and preferences. Let him know that you are not invested in his getting into a particular school, but rather having a tranformative experience at a college that's right for him.

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