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Monday, November 9, 2015
Can You Spin Your Way Into College?
Hard work is the key to success, right? I mean, you go to school, study hard, do well on your tests, and you get into a good college. Then you pave the pavement, get a good starter job, and spend your career climbing the ladder. You make no excuses, and carry a strong moral compass. Victory is yours.
Or is it?
When it comes to giving advice about college admissions, most counselors tow this line. Be yourself in your admission essay. Engage in meaningful extracurriculars. Don't let your parents fill out your application. And while I want all of this to be true, I can't help but wonder if it really is.
In real life, hard work matters. So do things like, say, money. If you're batting from a higher socioeconomic class from the start, you're already a rung up from students without your advantages. In the professional world, attitude matters. I see it in my field all the time. The smartest people and the most charismatic people aren't always one and the same. And trust me, you can balance a lot on the back of charisma.
So when applying to college, how important is sincerity, really? So, your parents paid for your volunteer tourism trip to Guatemala-is it going to carry less weight on your application? Let's say mom hired your college counselor and filled out most of your applications. It may not be the best way to foster your independence, but will it help or hinder your chances of getting into college?
I hate to write this, but putting the right spin on your college application might just be the push every student needs. Certainly, personality isn't going to carry you if your grades and scores are weighing you down-but it could get you pretty far. Is that such a bad thing?
There are at least half a dozen question marks in this short entry; my skepticism about this approach is thinly veiled. Still, as the process has become more competitive, it's not difficult to see how students' collective approach to admissions has calcified into something much more calculated than the counseling advice that promises to help them.
Or perhaps hard work will get them there in the end.
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