Chance Me: a forum where dreams go to die. Before writing this article, I had never actually visited the College Confidential site. Thank goodness I had not. It is filled with forums where users post their grades, ranks, extracurriculars, scores, etc. for students who have been accepted to the user’s intended college to decide the chances of the user’s acceptance. How outrageous! There is no way for a student to know whether or not an applicant will be accepted. Both the applicant and the student responding to these “Chance Me” forums know this. The only student that could potentially have his mind set at ease by these forums is the one that has top-notch credentials. But, he will not be satisfied until he gets his acceptance letter. If knowing of his outstanding credentials and hearing parents and guidance counselors rave about how great they are, hearing a college student say they are not half bad will not put his mind at ease. And for the kid that is not quite up to par, there is every chance that he will still get into the school, no matter what other students claim. Every part of this forum breeds stress.
All that said, there are some benefits to using College Confidential. You might better understand how to word your activities to sound most appealing on a college application. You might learn more about a college from an attending student’s point of view. You might get some sense of your standing. But, when it comes down to it, these things are superfluous. Let me assure you, researching colleges on this forum will not make or break your application. If anything, it may discourage you from applying to a reach school that, with good letters of recommendation and intriguing essays, you could have been accepted to. If you are hoping to get a sense of the schools that are in your target, reach, and safety ranges, I highly suggest looking on Naviance. This site strips away all of the terrifying hypotheticals, and simply gives facts. While these facts about acceptance rates and GPAs and SAT/ACT scores may still be stressful, I do not believe that it is unnecessary stress. Applying to college is stressful. However, there is no sense in freaking out about numbers and hypotheticals.
My advice? Forget about what other people do or how they score. Simply give each application your best. Reach out to admissions, and show your dedication. Ask about an interview. Submit writing samples, and be creative with your supplements. In applying to college, it is best if you stand out from other applications. Why worry about what everyone else does when it is better for you to be different?
Something else that may help: a little perspective. Having such a wide variety of colleges to choose from, and having the ability to apply to so many are perks of the American system. If you are not accepted to your top school, it wasn’t meant to be. You belong somewhere else. There are certainly other schools out there for you. And other schools will certainly give you an outstanding education, experience, and prepare you well for joining the workforce.
Graphics: Jessica Chang