Sort the myths and learn the facts – Daily Tribune


After more than a year of online learning, students return to school in person. It will be exciting for them to see their classmates and share news on the latest fashion, movies and music. And high school kids will talk about college. Unfortunately, some students can circulate incorrect information about college admissions, causing confusion and stress.

Here are four myths some students believe in and the facts you should know about applying to college now.

Myth: “Optional test” means “free test”

Fact: In the midst of COVID-19 last year, the SAT and ACT were frequently canceled due to infections and an increase in the number of cases. This has led colleges to adjust their standardized testing requirements, making test scores an optional part of the application. Most colleges have maintained voluntary testing policies for this year, which means colleges can still consider test results, without requiring them.

Some students, such as those who will be the first in their families to attend college, or those who are members of an under-represented minority on college campuses, often face significant hurdles in passing the ACT and the SAT. In the case of these students, admissions officers can forgive the lack of test results. Policies vary from school to school.

On the flip side, there are schools that are actually blind tested which means a college will not accept SAT and ACT scores. This group of schools includes the entire University of California system. However, the vast majority of schools still offer optional tests and not blind tests.

Myth: Information about other students who are “in” can be useful

Reality: There are many stories about other students entering college, such as “Last year only inheritances entered University of Michigan” or “My neighbor entered Harvard without submitting grades.” “

These anecdotes are out of context and possibly false. For example, the claim that the University of Michigan only admits inheritance is totally false.

Parents and teens chat, hear selective information about a classmate or neighbor. If you’ve ever played on the phone, you’ll realize how misleading such information can be.

You may not know all of the factors that led to a student’s admission. Perhaps the student in question was the first person in their family to attend college, making the student a priority for a school seeking to democratize higher education. Perhaps they won a national competition or a prestigious award. Watch out for anecdotes.

Myth: The more activity on your CV, the better

Reality: Colleges are looking for students who excel in two or three areas, not students who are involved in most extracurricular activities. Rather than focusing on quantity, focus on quality.

Real passion shows up on the pages of a college application if you are dedicated to achieving outstanding leadership and achievement in a sport or club. Winning a state-level award or being elected student body president is better than joining 10 clubs. As a college student, you need to follow your passion and dedicate yourself to a few major commitments.

And if you’re working after school and don’t have time to join multiple clubs, don’t worry! Pulling shifts in your family restaurant or coding for a business can be impressive on college applications, showcasing work ethic and responsibility.

Myth: Don’t worry about college before high school

Reality: This is bad advice and a recipe for severe stress. Many students and families wait until the fall of their final year to begin planning for college. However, students should start thinking earlier about what classes they will be taking and what extracurricular activities they will get involved in earlier. So when the last year comes, they signed up for courses that are difficult for them and they got managerial positions in the clubs. Also, researching and visiting colleges takes time, so it’s best to start before the final year.

This year, when you start school, like to share your news with your friends, but avoid bad advice for entering college. You can always find correct answers to your questions on college websites. There are no tricks or secrets.

Barbara Connolly, JD, is the Founder and Director of Birmingham-based College Choice Counseling and a Certified Educational Planner. She can be reached at [email protected] His new book, “College Admission Success: Enter university under any circumstances, can be purchased on Amazon. Recent sound TEDx Lecture, “How College Obsession Can Be a Force for Good”, can be viewed on YouTube.


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