There are so many parents who are just sure their teen will get into their competitive dream college. And many of them apply only to those very selective schools – that’s all you’ll see on their college lists.
It could be that your kid has dreamed of attending an Ivy-league school and plans on applying to one or more. Maybe that’s even your dream for your teen. That’s very commendable, and there’s of course a possibility that he’ll be admitted if his numbers stack up, which would be tremendous!
There’s no sugar-coating this, though: Admissions officers won’t give applications a second look if students don’t fall within the range of what’s acceptable for their colleges.
Understand the data
Understanding the data behind who’s admitted at highly selective schools is important to help keep things in perspective. Harvard’s acceptance rate for the class of 2020, for example, was just 5.2%.
That’s 2,037 students admitted out of the 39,041 students who applied.
Odds are low.
I fully realize its message may feel disheartening. My intent, though, is to help parents and teens to open their minds to options they may not be considering.
While it’s an absolutely worthwhile and advisable habit for teens to set high goals, it’s just as important to maintain a grounded view of what’s realistic. I’ve seen students’ hopes dashed and complete let-downs occur due to their extremely high expectations and lack of variety in their college lists.
This isn’t to say that your teenager shouldn’t apply to selective schools, but to simply be aware that schools who have requirements that are higher than what a student demonstrates should be consider a “reach” school, and much more difficult to get into.
And, as I wish all parents and teens remembered, admissions to any college is never a given.
How do you know if your teen can make the cut?
Check out a college search engine like Big Future to see what each college requires of the students it accepts. If your teenager is way out of those bounds, have a real conversation about creating a well-rounded list of safety, range and reach schools.
And when you’re in the early stages of planning for the best possible college list that suits your teen to a tee, check out my 8 Steps to Finding the Best College Fit.
Remember that your student needs to meet colleges where they are – if your teen’s not doing as well academically as what a certain college might expect from students, he wouldn’t thrive there. And think of it this way: wouldn’t your kid likely be miserable there, anyway, with the highly rigorous coursework?
Go forward and help your student to develop that well-rounded list that will increase chances admissions for the best school for him, not simply the most prestigious.