Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Q: Does your college choice matter A: Maybe not.

I'm looking forward to the release of the following book by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. In WHERE YOU GO IS NOT WHO YOU'LL BE,  Bruni explains how Americans have turned the college admissions process into a terrifying process of test prep, rankings, and tutors in hopes that they'll get into one of America's most prestigious colleges (mainly those with the perception of ivy growing on picturesque and ornate buildings scattered around campus.) Bruni shows how this is a deeply flawed process often filled with a tremendous amount of anxiety (for parents and their kids.)

As a parent I often wonder about the schools where my children may end up going.  I usually tell them the school doesn't matter - it's what you're willing to put into your education that matters.  Are you going to get involved in college life? Are you going to be a bystander?  Are you going to volunteer in fields that could help your career path?  Are you going to pursue internships?  Are you going to network? All colleges provide those opportunities.  Each year I watch as students pack their schedules with AP courses, spend hundreds of dollars on test prep, lose sleep, build resumes that don't seem humanly possible, join groups and clubs just so it looks good on a resume without ever really investing any of themselves in said endeavor, and then get stressed out as they wait each day by the mailbox for that acceptance letter to what they hope is the missing ingredient on their own personal life success plan.

Bruni was motivated to write this new book because as listened to other parents talk about their children's college application process he was wondering if there was some secret formula he was missing out on.
“I was watching this and comparing it to my own life and the successful people I know,” he said. “I wondered if there was anything in their résumés, a uniform attendance at a few select schools, and I didn’t see it. It wasn’t the case. It was a patchwork of educational pedigrees.”
What a lot college applicants don't realize is that the number of students who get rejected is staggering.  Dealing with rejection is difficult but get this - the elite universities turn away 95% of their applicants - in fact Stanford only accepted 5% of all applicants in the recently completed application season.  Check Richard Perez-Pena's article in The New York Times that sheds light on the cut throat and anxiety filled process of applying to the "elite" institutions of higher learning.  

For more the release of Frank Bruni's book click on the following link from today's Washington Post from writer/reporter Jeffrey J. Selingo.

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