What are the most accepted or exaggerated myths about the college admissions process?

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What are the most accepted or exaggerated myths about the college admissions process?

James Goecker
Vice President for Enrollment Management Rose Hulman Institute of Technology

testing is everything?!@#$

With over 25 years in higher education, I am still amazed that the myth that the SAT or ACT score is the single most important aspect of an applicant's file is still around. While the tests have a place and purpose in the admission process, it is a very poor substitute for the high school transcript. More can be determined about a young man or woman's aptitude and preparation for higher education from a transcript than will ever be determined by an examination result.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Accepted Myths

You need a nearly perfect SAT or ACT score to get into an elite school. Nonsense! Top colleges are flooded with students having great standardized test scores. Once an applicant shows he or she is in the game, other evaluation factors take over. When choosing between students from the same high school, the best all-around candidate will get the nod over the others. This is not necessarily true. Depending on the particular year and the profile of applicants, a particular candidate may be selected (over others) because of a unique interest, talent or demographic. Colleges are favoring guys over gals to even up the balance. Be careful not to over-generalize. There are so many factors that go into admissions decision, and gender is one of many that may or may not tip the scales. Colleges favor students who can pay tuition rather than obtain financial aid. For the most part, admissions decisions are made separately from financial aid decisions (i.e., need-blind admissions). This is sometimes true with transfers, however, depending on the college.

Joanne Levy-Prewitt

Community college is a great option for many high schooler graduates

Myth: Community college is a consolation prize for students who aren’t academically ready for a four-year college. Truth: Community colleges can help students learn important academic and organizational skills that will prepare them to succeed in upper division courses at four-year colleges. Myth: Community colleges deprive students of the rich social experiences that a four-year college can provide. Truth: Community College students can take advantage of theater, athletics, clubs or student government, in many cases with no prior experience. Myth: Community Colleges are a dead-end. Truth: The best way to ensure a successful transfer to a four-year college is to enter community college with clearly defined goals and a well-crafted transfer plan.

Mary Ann Willis

Ignore sound bites--reality matters

3 Myths: No one gets in college. No one can afford college. College degrees don’t matter. Debunked: Almost 70% of applicants are admitted (NACAC). Affordable options are available. Education Pays (The College Board) explains the benefits of an educated populace.  Those with higher education are: less likely to be dependent on government programs, more likely to be healthy and have  healthier life styles, more likely to have insurance, less likely to be unemployed, more likely to vote and volunteer, going to make more money, on average, over a lifetime than those without a degree. Dream big. Work hard. Your future is in your hands.

Helen Cella

What are the most accepted or exaggerated myths about the college admissions process?

The importance of extra circular activities.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures


I believe that the most accepted "myth" about the admissions process is that one has to go to a "brand name" college. I just read a blog by a student, Benjamin Platt: Success is not spelled H-A-R-V-A-R-D. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/the-college-commandments-_n_1079571.html. I recommend parents and students read it. It is certainly a myth that there are only a few colleges worth going to in the USA. There are over 3,000 colleges in this country! As Platt says in his blog, "Plenty of important people went to Ivy League schools. Plenty of important people did not." Don't buy into the "bumper sticker" mentality. Look for substance, not just a name.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

College admission myth

Students think colleges are looking for well rounded people. Really what they are looking for is a well rounded class. Schools are interested in the student with a "spike", that something extra that makes them stand out. They aren't as excited about someone who knows a little about a lot, as they are about someone who has a real passion for something. Colleges want to create a class with diverse interests, so they need some who are politically active, others who are creatively oriented, some who are leaders and others who are worker bees. It is not possible to create a perfect profile, as the applicant pool is a dynamic entity. One year they may really need tuba players, so that matters; another year they may need divers for the swim team. Just present yourself honestly and the admissions folks will decide if your profile is the best fit for their insitution.

Sandy McMaster
College Admissions Consultant My College Hunt, LLC

Just how important is the college essay?

The college personal statement is one of the most stressful parts of the college admissions process for seniors and their parents. But can an awful essay kill an otherwise great applicant's chances of admission? Likewise, can a truly awe-inspiring essay lift a mediocre student's chances? An admissions director for a selective college once said that the essay is more important than admissions reps will admit, but not as important as students and parents fear. The personal statement is important because it gives the reader a chance to see a part of the applicant that the rest of the stats, test scores, facts and figures alone can't reveal. So students, take advantage of this opportunity to show who you really are!

Geoff Broome
Assistant Director of Admissions Widener University

But it's so hard.

Applying is not all that hard. Too much pressure has been placed on the application process. Step back for a moment and let's dissect it. You fill out our name and address. You complete a resume, which you should have been working on up to this point. You complete a personal statement less than 250 words. You complete an essay most likely under 500 words. No big deal. You write essays in high school that are 5 times the amount of a 500 word essay. I tell students to work on their essay about 10 minutes at a time. Don't stress over it. Work on it, come back to it, revise it, and move on. If you have to fiddle with it too much, then the essay is not authentic. That is the biggest hang up students have about the application process.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

What are the most accepted or exaggerated myths about the college admissions process?

1) It is easy 2) It is hard 3) It is quick 4) You need all A's 5) You have to take hard classes 6) You have to take classes that you can get an A in but not challenge yourself 7) The personal statement does not matter 8) Letters of recommendation are not that important 9) Only geniuses can get into Ivy League Colleges 10) Ivy League colleges are the best 11) Have to have a major when you apply 12) Have to make a lot of Money to pay for college 13) Getting into state schools are easier than private or vice versa