A sampling of recent questions and comments from parents of high school seniors:
Have you ever seen it THIS bad?
Our guidance counselor said [name of high school] is having the worst year EVER with colleges and doesn't know why! It's so unfair!
[So and so] had lower grades and SATs than my daughter but he got in and she didn't!
Here's the thing...
I hear these comments EVERY year!
Sure, when you look at raw stats, out of context like the number of applications colleges receive, you might get a lump in your throat, pit in your stomach and experience flop sweat.
But most of these symptoms are treatable and even preventable, at least when you consult with Dr. Lockwood, Fake MD.*
Here are a few of my diagnostic thoughts (not intended as medical advice. Consult a health professional if you experience swelling, nausea or persistent diarrhea from this letter):
One reason for the increase in applications is NOT because there are more kids applying to college. It's because there are more applications PER APPLICANT, thanks in large to test-optional policies and the continued growth of the Common Application (which allows a student to apply to 20 plus colleges with only a few clicks of the mouse and a parent's credit card)
Your kids are NOT competing with their fellow high school students in their district or school-- their actual competition is with applicants from all over THE WORLD. (Your kids are compared against others in their high school, but there's no "quota." Even if other parents and guidance counselors think otherwise.)
Some high schools DO have a "feeder" type of pipeline into Ivies and similar schools -- mostly private high schools -- but merely attending a feeder high school does not guarantee admission anywhere.
The dirty little secret about college admissions is that it is based on so much MORE than grades, scores and whether a candidate "deserves" to get in. Colleges have their own, frequently conflicting institutional goals, such as admitting a certain number of parents who can pay "full boat," attracting students from underrepresented minority backgrounds and so forth.
But being in one of these special categories does not guarantee admission anywhere either. If your guidance counselor relies upon Naviance or similar software to help you with a college list, watch out:
Naviance ignores the factors listed in the previous bullet point, as well as another 15-20 factors that admissions officers consider.
Bottom line: this process is not "fair." But the better question is, who ever promised it would be? And if you can name the source, should you have believed them? The best defense is a good offense.
Learn the rules of the game, then do everything possible to play to win. That includes an honest assessment of your child's strengths and weaknesses, plus a STRATEGY to optimize the "raw material" that will ultimately go on a college application. And be judged by a third party who has different criterial than most guidance counselors, parents and kids have ever dreamed of.
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https://www.lockwoodtestprep.com/try - Andy Lockwood
* I may start calling myself "Doc Lock" this year to capitalize on all the Marvel movie stuff.
Plus, if Dr. Jill Biden can use that title, I think my juris doctorate (law degree) gives me at least as much street cred. Let's see you pass the NY and Florida bars, Jill!.