The college admissions process has become an American Rite of Passage, albeit a stressful and confusing one. At a certain point as a parent, it seems to be the ever present topic of conversation whether on the sidelines at a soccer game, waiting in the car pool line, or even catching up at family parties. Many of us, as parents, see our children getting into the “right” college as the culmination of the past 17 years of raising that child. Everyone has a strong opinion, a scary story, a conspiracy theory — most of them categorically wrong. There are massive but unreliable resources online. Frankly, it is almost impossible to avoid making mistakes, and some of them can be major.
I remember my days in the admissions offices at the University of Pennsylvania and Boston University. I read more than 1,000 applications each year and made final decisions (mostly “no’s”) on most of them. So often when reviewing an application I’d sigh to myself and even say out loud, “You could have done this better…”