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Posted on Jul 25, 2013 - 09:00 AM | College Prep | Comments (0)

As any student serious about their education knows, they’re under tremendous stress to be the best. We hear stories about near nervous breakdowns, lost youth, and depression all the time. But colleges are partly behind this myth of exceptionalism because it makes them look better and allows them to charge more tuition.
Let’s look at the pressure students are under:
  1. Perfect SAT and ACT test scores. Okay, colleges know very few students will get a perfect score, but they’re pushing students very hard to get a 2100 on the SAT or a 30 on the ACT.
  2. Extracurricular Activity has never been higher. More than 50% of all high-school students participate in some sort of extracurricular activity at school, and this doesn’t even count all those hours they log building a better college application through community activities, church groups, athletic leagues, volunteering and more. It can be exhausting.
  3. Students Need to Stand Out. They need A’s in all AP and Honors classes if they want to beat out the hundreds of thousands of students they’re competing against.
It’s an almost impossible standard, which is why students who get perfect SAT scores, or who simultaneously get into Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Duke make the news. But they are standards largely steeped in myth.
The Myth of the PerfectCollege Student
  • SAT scores above 1700. While students with perfect scores are likely to do well, the average college graduate has a score slightly above 1700. While you should shoot for the best score possible, including that elusive 2400, if you’re going to college make sure it’s above 1700.
  • Too many extracurricular activities don’t help. Colleges have caught on to students who join 7 activities but only actively participate in one or two. They’d rather see you president of the Student Council than a member of six clubs and the French Club treasurer.
  • You’re not competing against hundreds of thousands of students. You’re competing against students applying to the same colleges you are. You don’t need to be better than everyone, but you do need to find colleges where your grades and accomplishments make you competitive. Your competitive streak – and the success that comes with it – will make you even more successful later in life.
In one famous study, students who were accepted to Harvard but chose to go to another school did just as well in life as students who ultimately went to Harvard.  Being ambitious and talented enough to get in, rather than attending, was the key.
RSC’s plan helps students recognize these and many other college admissions myths, and then help students find the right college for them. Students should definitely work toward the absolute highest standard, but if it turns out they want something else, they should have a plan for that, too. RSC helps our students apply to and get accepted into the colleges they want. This way, their success is more likely than if they fail and give up the fight.
After all, what’s the point of trying to impress Harvard if you have no real intention of going there? Our counselors have had students go to nearly every single Ivy League school, but the students did it because it was the right choice for them. RSC will do the same for you. We’ll help you find the right colleges for you. The ones that can help you succeed.


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