Back in the day a talented rock band, America, penned a popular song titled Tin Man. In the lyrics they wisely shared that “Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't already have.”
This sentiment is also true with students applying for college admission. While college access no doubt opens a world of opportunities, the offers themselves aren’t handing out prizes, hearts, or brains. Applicants may be admitted, “rolled” to the next cycle or denied, but the people remain the same as they were the day they originally submitted their applications. A friend and colleague on the high school side - Patrick O’Connor, the associate dean of college counseling at the Cranbrook Schools – posted a recent blog titled What Your College Application Decisions Won't Tell You. Patrick eloquently reminds us that a college admission decision doesn’t define or determine a student’s success, happiness, or value as a person. A great read that I highly recommend!
In taking Patrick’s post a step further, I want to discourage families from overanalyzing admission decisions and from comparing offers with friends and neighbors. Colleges have varying enrollment goals, applicant pools, and methods of analysis – trying to figure out why Johnnie got rolled, Susie denied and Giavanna admitted is a fruitless exercise. Admission teams aren’t hiding behind the Wizard’s curtain when making admission decisions but rather are examining academic records and evaluating an applicant’s match with the mission and enrollment goals of their respective institutions. The “secret” for the most part is to work hard, take a challenging curriculum, and perform well. “Well” is relative of course to personal circumstances and to the college where the student is applying, but the good news is most colleges are very transparent in posting their admitted GPA and test score ranges on their websites – many decisions will ultimately fall neatly within these parameters.
At the end of the day, enjoy the Wizard of Oz for what it is – a great movie with sage advice that can be applied to many aspects of your life. When receiving college admission decisions, remain cool, calm and collected... your fate isn’t determined by a wizard behind the curtain.
Todd Rinehart - Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of Admission