The scandal involves a teeny, tiny number of people, and an even tinier number of colleges.
Colleges need students, and admissions folks put in unbelievable hours to make the best possible decisions for both students and their campuses. Not a single person in a single admissions office was accused or even suspected of any wrongdoing.
Admissions offices are essentially victims, tricked by the colleagues they must rely on to provide them with accurate data about students. Hard work, being a good person, and pursuing your authentic interests are still what matter most to colleges, and will help the right colleges know to invite you to their campuses. Keep up your grades, engage and challenge yourself with what interests you both in and outside the classroom, and work as hard as you can to learn more about who you are and what you are curious about.
In other words, continue to be true to yourself and your dreams!
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Where you go to college will certainly shape you, but can never define who you are. All the data and there is plenty shows that your long-term success and happiness are strongly predicted by how deeply you engage on your campus, and not at all by the rejection rate or name recognition of the college you attend.
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I hope this helps demystify the ideas swirling around this scandal. Yes, it is definitely a bad thing and there is work to be done to close the loopholes these criminals and cheaters crawled through, but it is not as scary, dark, depressing, and dangerous as it might seem.
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Virtually all people working in any aspect of admissions chose their careers because they care about kids and believe in the transformative power of the right education for every student, and are working their tails off to help students make their dreams come true. Tweets by CollegiateEdge.
Lesson 2: Doubting your kids doesn't help
Legacy status certainly helps, but big-name colleges reject plenty of these applicants. And some colleges, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are taking a closer look at what applicants have done to help others, be they neighbors or family members. Showing up to tutor someone at the library each week might be even more impressive, and rewarding.
Open those emails. Connect with admissions officers. Let them know when you visit campus. Grades and test scores still carry the most weight.
Express your authentic self. But money does matter. Geography is partly destiny. Do real good.
Colleges want to be your first choice. What Colleges Want in an Applicant Everything.