Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Sep 1, 2010

Your Excellent Academic Records are Only a Reference

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:52 am

Last Sunday I took my daughter and a neighboring girl to skating. From their conversation I learned of two Chinese children who were excellent academically but were rejected by their dream places — MIT and Harvard. They are excellent at least in the eyes of their parents.

On Monday evening, the mother of this girl talked to me over the phone on how to get into a good college. Why were these children rejected, with their extraordinary academic achievements and plenty of extracurriculum activities? The following is what I shared with her. I would suggest parents read my postings under College for further ideas.

(1) Keep in mind one’s perfect SAT score plus a bunch of excellent AP results are only a referencce for the admission officers. They guarantee nothing, especially if the child is an Asian American and there are too many of this kind.

(2) Admission officers evaluate the whole person, qualities like responsibilities, independence, maturity, commitment, leadership, dream and ideals. From this grand schema, academic behavior is only a small part of the story.

(3) The children may have devoted a large chunk of time to extracurrilum activities, but what admission officers look for is they do it because they have passion for it, not because they feel obligated or they just want to impress the admission officers.

(4) In the end, this is what I want to tell both my neighbor and all parents — there is no one sure way to reach the top, no guarantee whatsoever, with so many uncertainties that are beyond our control. If a child is excellent, he/she will shine no matter where.

Finally, it is always nice to know that all roads lead to Rome. Just remember it is the child’s own journey and make sure the child enjoys his journey to his goal. As my son put it, life is too short to live other people’s dream.

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