This time of year, thousands of college applicants await e-notices and auspiciously sized envelopes from schools, under terrible pressure from their parents, friends, teachers, and fretful inner-monologues. To this anxious lot, I offer some advice, which comes not only from a bit of experience, but also a bit of empirical research: just chill out, okay?
Many parents and students think there is a world of difference between the lifelong outcomes of (a) an A-minus student who gets into, say, Princeton, and (b) an A-minus student who applies to Princeton but “only” gets into some less selective school, like Penn State or the University of Wisconsin. They assume that a decision made by faceless adjudicators in Ivy League cloisters will mark the difference between success and failure in life.
There are two important things to say about this stress. First, to put the anxiety into context, the kids applying to these schools are already doing quite well. Seventy percent of 29-year-olds don’t have a bachelor’s degree, and the majority of BAs are earned at non-selective schools that accept a majority of their applicants. Many of the people applying to selective colleges have already won life’s lottery.
But if that doesn’t ease the nerves of the 40,000 people waiting on Stanford or Penn, here is a more counter-intuitive—and even heartening—conclusion from economics. For most of these applicants, it simply doesn’t really matter if they don’t get into their top choice, according to a paper by Stacy Dale, a mathematician at Mathematica Policy Research, and Alan Krueger, an economist at Princeton University.
These researchers tracked two groups of students—one that attended college in the 1970s and another in the early 1990s. They wanted know: Did students attending the most elite colleges earn more in their 30s, 40s, and 50s than students with similar SAT scores, who were rejected from those elite colleges? The short answer was no. Or, in the author's language, the difference between the students who went to super-selective schools and the students with similar SAT scores who were rejected from those schools and went to less selective institutions was "indistinguishable from zero.”.............
(Excerpt from The Atlantic)
This blog is meant to share information, resources and tools. Some are original works by staff at NTHS and others are republications of useful posts. These republications, the authors and any comments do not represent North Tahoe High School, it's staff or TTUSD (or it's opinions/beliefs).