May 3, 2021

By Leanne Soulard

Have you seen the admissions statistics at Ivy League and other highly selective schools this year? Students applied to more of both simply because many schools temporarily waived standardized testing requirements through 2023 due to the pandemic. (As in, “I wasn’t going to apply to X because my SAT scores are low but why not?”)  An unintended consequence is that these schools have become even more competitive, with some now reporting acceptance rates lower than five percent. Even more shocking is that some students who might typically have been admitted in previous years were not. They are now faced with having to put together a Plan B when they should be making their deposit at the school they’ll attend in the fall. It’s heartbreaking. And preventable.

At College Edge, we do not believe that “Why not?” is a good reason to apply to any school. There’s just too much at stake and we are guided by our firm belief that helping students find their ideal college matches is best achieved through self-discovery, intention, and their individual college and career goals. We make sure our students have a strong, well-articulated “Why here?” for every school on their list that extends beyond GPA and test scores because college is a complete experience that includes more than just intellectual growth. In fact, some might argue that the social and emotional growth that students experience alongside their college peers is the more important part of the journey. But you need to be planted in the right soil in order to grow.

There is one other question I always ask students to answer when they show me their final college list: Will you find “your people” at each of these schools? A simple yes will not suffice. I enjoy hearing students make the connection between what’s important to them and how that manifests itself at the handful of schools that make the final cut. I have learned that when we encourage students to take their time with this process and to consider who, and not what, they would like to become there is no room for a “Why not?” school on the list. That isn’t to say that students won’t have their reach schools, but they will be the right reach schools for them.

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