Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

College Admissions: Who is Good Enough?

I have to say that I am very concerned about the stress that high school seniors are experiencing this very minute about getting in to college. As parents and professionals, we are giving a lot of lip service to connecting with youth, making time for play and family, involving teens in the community, not overscheduling our children, reducing the amount of stress teens experience related to academic success and accomplishment, however, the college admission staff do not seem to be listening.

I spent a portion of yesterday trying to comfort a senior from a private boys school with seven AP classes, who was rejected by an ivy league school (who shall remain nameless) in spite of having a GPA above 4, SATs scores of all 700 and above, AP exam scores of 5, more than 1,100 hours of community service, is the recipient of five grants, the founder of a community service project, has done research with faculty at that university, has been a varsity tennis player, peer tutor, elected into student government multiple times, editor of the school paper, and on the yearbook staff.

Not only was this teen not accepted, he was not even deferred - and the FAQ attached to the letter suggested that the decision was based on a lack of academic promise. Can someone tell me that if that preparation was not enough - what would have helped this kid get into college as an early admission? There were 3,500 other students who were rejected yesterday by this same university and got the same message - in spite of the drive, the work, and the success, you are not good enough!

To all of you high school seniors with outstanding grades, community service records, athletic and musical accomplishments, and parents that have nurtured and supported your goals - my blessing and heart-felt sorrow that you do not feel honored and successful! May you each find an institution where you will grow and develop into people who help stop this crazy inflation of what success means! You are wonderful and what truly matters is your belief in yourself! Do not let anyone make you feel "less than" another person. You will succeed! Manage your stress and good luck.

To all of the professionals involved in college admissions - please be kind and remember there are 16 - 18 year old hearts and dreams attached to those applications.

Photo credit: cam b.

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.