Many college applicants try to game the system by being over-achievers. They try to impress the admission officers with perfect SAT and AP scores, perfect class ranking, and a wholesome spotless extracurricular activities. In other word, the applicants look more perfect than real, so perfect that there is no believable life in these perfect metrics.
In their effort to beat the system, they behave rather shortsightedly and forget who they are and what they want to achieve in the long run.
I know someone who didn’t have perfect SAT, without even making to the top 10 class ranking, no collection of admirable AP scores, and who was admitted by some of the top universities. On the other hand, I know many with perfect everything still were denied by the school of their choice.
Make no mistakes. I don’t mean to say that grades are not important, that good performance does not count. They do. Decent grades show that you are a responsible student, that you are smart enough to handle tough courses, and that you dare to take challenges.
But one needs much more than that to tide one up to a higher level. People want to see the character, the potential of the applicants, and the whole person, perfect or imperfect.
The applicants should at least dare to be himself. Not afraid of showing their human side, that is, mentioning moments of weakness and how they have grown and got stronger over time.
Parents need to help their children to develop a goal in life, a strong character, a healthy attitude, and an upbeat approach to life. This seems a less straightforward approach to college application than simply gaming the system. Yet, in the long run, it works better in helping your child than any other way. Knowing what he wants to do with his life will benefit the child during and beyond college campus.
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