Like any rumor that creeps its way through the halls of high school, the facts about college admissions have probably been as distorted as the words in a game of “Telephone” by the time they reach your ears. After all, the gossip about The Plastics holding an open call for new members or Jake Ryan being single turned out not to be so true, so why would the chit chat about undergraduate admissions you heard from that guy named Skeeter in Heater Hall be 100% dependable?
For this reason, we’ve decided to attack the rumors, gossip, hearsay, and overall gross fallacies about college and university admissions with the truth.
Here are seven college admissions myths, busted!
1. There are only one or two perfect schools for me.
A true classic when it comes to college or university admissions myths, the there’s-only-one-school-out-there-for-me-state-of-mind is akin to saying a Bonobo chimpanzee takes one mate for life–it’s just not true! While Bonobo chimps are probably more promiscuous than you will be (or can be) in your college search, you should at least take on a little Bonobo mentality of not settling when it comes to the college you go to.
So maybe your dad and his dad and his dad and your brother and your brother’s fiancée and your sister went to a university that has a particular and special place in the family tree–does it mean it’s right for you?
Schools change over time. The campus culture when your dad went to school might be totally different now. Another school, similar in size and distance from your home could have a program you’re interested in that the other school doesn’t offer.
Cappex alone has nearly 3,000 colleges in our database, so whatever your tie to a specific school is, see what other schools might surprisingly fit you.
2. Private colleges are always more expensive than public/state schools.
This is a widespread myth that probably holds a lot of college-bound students back from researching private schools. While the difference in sticker prices on the two types of institutions may have a wide gap, in many cases, private schools will offer more financial aid and scholarships, making it a comparable, if not cheaper, option.
The moral of debunking this myth? Don’t count out private schools right away for financial reasons.
3. Only the top students receive scholarships.
There’s more to life than earning the top grades in your class–not to say that great marks hurt your college admissions chances–but you shouldn’t count yourself out of college scholarships if your grades aren’t top notch. In fact, if you are accepted into a school and demonstrate financial need (fill out the FAFSA on time!), colleges will make it possible for you to pay for it with grants, scholarships, and loans.
On top of that, there are countless scholarships out there, and they’re not just looking for grades. You can find scholarships that fit you at www.cappex.com/scholarships.
4. It’s too early to look for scholarships before your senior year.
Whoever started this myth wasn’t making good decisions because it’s never too early to start looking for scholarships. There are multiple reasons for this. For one thing, many scholarships are annual, meaning they return every year. If you’re familiar with the recurring scholarships, when you’re actually eligible to apply you’ll be more prepared than even that girl in your class who finishes her homework before it’s assigned because you’ll know what you’ll need to submit way ahead of time.
You might even be able to find scholarships to help pay for college long before you actually apply to college. And these might have less fierce competition since fewer people are thinking about scholarships. The early bird gets the worm, and then the bird can go on to afford its dream college.
5. If I haven’t heard of this school I shouldn’t apply.
As smart as you are, there plenty of super great awesome things you’ve never heard of, like Bonobo chimps or this secret sandwich sauce my grandma makes.. The same thing goes for colleges and universities. A recognizable or popular college name doesn’t inherently mean it’s the perfect fit and an unfamiliar college doesn’t mean it’s a worse school because you haven’t heard of it.
There are so many small colleges out there that it’s impossible to have heard of them all, and one of them might have the perfect program for you. If you want some guidance looking for your college fit, log into Cappex and get some advice from our Virtual Admissions Coach.
6. I won’t get in if my SAT or ACT isn’t high enough.
When you look at the “What Are My Chances?” Calculator for any college you’ll see that almost every college has a range that they tend to accept students from, but there are plenty of exceptions.
You might fall below the average admitted student’s SAT or ACT score, but you have to remember it’s an average. That means both students with scores higher and lower-than-average have been admitted. If you feel like a college is a great fit for you, don’t let your SAT or ACT scores inhibit you from applying to them.
7. The more extra-curricular activities, the better.
If you’re running from student council to key club to yearbook to Spanish club to Honors Society to musical rehearsal to softball practice all in the name of how your college application will look to admission officers, you can take a breath.
Colleges don’t necessarily want to see how overextended you can be; they want to see that you’re committed and passionate about your extra-curricular activities. A bunch of unrelated surface-deep activities don’t have the same impact or say as much about you to admission officers as a couple highly-focused activities do.
Not only should busting this myth save you time from phoning in activities you don’t truly care about, but it will give you more time to spend with your passions.
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