Applying To College

College Essay Writing and Interview Skills

4 College Admissions Myths Debunked

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4 College Admissions Myths

Lately, I’ve been speaking to students and families just starting the college process.

The students and parents always have great questions, but I always hear some rumors floating around. So I thought it would be a good time to debunk:


1.  You should make your college list from U.S. News and World Report and accept admission to the college that ranks the highest.

  • Whoa. When was the last time students were cut out of  the same cookie mold? Uh, never. Use rankings as a guide, but do your homework and apply to schools that are a good fit for you.
  • The same goes with admissions — make the decision that’s right for you.  Go to accepted student days, attend class, eat the food, explore the programs in your intended major, and find out how the schools will meet any special needs if you have them. And don’t forget to talk to alums to see how connected they stayed to the school and how beneficial their learning was to their career. You’ll end up at your top-ranked school. No matter what U.S. News and World Report says.

2. Private colleges are more expensive.

  • This isn’t always the case, especially after you receive your financial aid package.

3. The college admissions process is ultra-competitive.

  • Sure, if you apply to the handful of schools who admit less than 30 percent of students. But that accounts for only about 55 out of 2,000 colleges in the country.
  • The fact is that most colleges actually accept over half of the students who apply, and many admit much more. So before you inhale that entire bottle of anti-anxiety medicine, chances are that you can remove the word “ultra” from “ultra-competitive.”

4. Admissions officers don’t read the essays. 

  • I hear this a lot, and it’s not true. Admissions officers read the essays. What’s more, they often give them to others to read. If a student seems like a possible candidate, the essay will be read out loud to the entire admissions team. If the admissions team needs more feedback, they’ll give it to a team of faculty members to review. That’s a whole lot of eyes on your essay.

related links:
Huffington Post: Ten Least Expensive Private Colleges
CollegeData: Understanding College Selectivity
sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting in Redding, Connecticut. Need help with essay writing, interview skills, and organizing your college search? I work with students everywhere: in-person, over the phone, Skype, and by email. Visit my website for more info. Connect with me on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.


Author: Sharon Epstein

College consultant, teaching students how to write memorable college application essays, grad school and prep school essays, and succeed at job and college interviews.

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