Failed to be accepted into top school not the end

If you are like most students you are eagerly waiting for April 1 to roll around, and hoping that you will find a college "acceptance" Email in your inbox. Take heart. Most of you will get admitted to a good college but that does not make the waiting period any easier.

Having been a college consultant for many years I have some important advice for you -- have some fun and go to a movie.

Perhaps you have seen the movie Accepted, which is an amusing story about Bartley Gaines, who is turned down by every college to which he has applied. Rather than admit his failure to his parents, he makes up a fake college, where he has been accepted. His parents fork over the cash for tuition, books and a good time.

Why did I like the movie? Because it makes fun of all the turmoil applicants put themselves through, in their attempt to get accepted to the “right” college. For 12 years you have studied late, joined clubs, played sports and participated in extracurricular activities. You know what it is like to feel the weight of "expectation" on your shoulders.

It is hard for parents to appreciate the pressure that can build up in their children through these activity-packed years. College consultants, SAT tutors, and time-management experts are brought in by parents in an effort to give their teens an “edge” over the competition. I have a client in Southern California who hired Sylvan Learning to teach her son who is in seventh grade better organization skills. A smart move, I might add. What many parents and students need to understand is that not everyone will be accepted to a top school and that this does not mean that you will condemned to a lifetime of failure. Several years ago Time magazine published an article titled, "Who Needs Harvard?" The story chronicled several students who turned down schools in the Ivy League for lesser-known colleges and universities. The reasons for turning them down ranged from larger offers of financial aid in other schools to better access to professors. Some students even hoped the pressure to perform would be less onerous at a "second-tier" school. From my experience, I would guess that many students are simply burned out. They want to go to a college where they can enjoy learning and the college experience. The Time article pointed out that recent studies have shown that students accepted to top colleges, but choosing instead to attend a less "prestigious" school were no worse off when it came to future earnings. Their career incomes remained the same regardless of what school they attended.

Last year I had clients turn down Harvard for IU, Purdue and Washington University, St. Louis. Scholarship money was the top reason for their decisions, followed by not wanting the pressure of competing academically all over again for four more years. The moral of the story is not to consider a failure to get into a top school as a turning point in your life.

Contact the Ivy League Guru, one of the country’s foremost one-on-one college consultants. Make your dream of being admitted into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania a reality.

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