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College Admissions Is Not A Popularity Contest

Definition of collegeLast week Allen Grove, the college admissions writer for, listed the ten colleges whose profiles received the most reader interest during 2012. I happen to really like what Allen does with his college admissions writing. I feel a lot of it is very informative and easy to digest, but I bring this piece to your attention for the simple fact that college admissions is not a popularity contest.

Here’s the list of the top ten colleges which received the most reader interest:

  1. Harvard University
  2. UCLA
  3. UC Berkeley
  4. Cornell University
  5. UNC Chapel Hill
  6. University of Michigan
  7. New York University
  8. Stanford University
  9. Brown University
  10. Columbia University

It’s obvious these are some of the most elite schools in the country and there’s no wonder they are in the top ten. However, what you also need to recognize is that the average admission rate for these schools is 20% with Harvard being the most selective of the group at 6% and Michigan being the least selective at 41%.

Think about that. Columbia, Harvard Brown, and Stanford all reject 90% or more of their applicants. UC Berkeley and Cornell reject 80% or more. UCLA, rejects 75% while UNC Chapel Hill and New York University come in at 70%. Not only are these schools the most popular (at least in this context) but they are also the most exclusive.

While some people would have you believe that you need to attend one of these schools to have a great college experience, you can have a great experience at just about any college. You just need to be willing to make the most of the opportunities available to you.

This is true wherever you go.

Admission to a school is not the prize. If you get in and then spend four years doing nothing but going to class, it will have been for nothing. You need to invest yourself in the classroom. Network with faculty and other students. Get involved in clubs, organizations and other extracurricular activities that have meaning for you. Gain professional experience by interning or working on a co-op. It’s about creating the life you want to have and surrounding yourself with people and experiences that make you better.

This can happen at one of these schools, but it can also happen at a liberal arts college, a state university or even your local community college. Wherever it happens, it happens because of you, not because of the name of the school.

If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact me today for a free 60-minute consultation.

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