Wednesday, May 13

Getting Accepted to Every College

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When I saw the article about a local Jacksonville student getting accepted to all the Ivy League colleges, I assumed he was a very good student who lacked some direction or guidance. Heck, I applied to at least two colleges back in the day, just to have a back up. And I probably should have made it a third, since I did end up going to a local commuter college rather than one where I could play football and be a big man on campus. So I kind of understand applying to several universities, just in case something doesn't work out. If your goal is to attend an Ivy League school, and it really doesn't matter which one, then I guess applying to all of them is a good idea. Then it's just a bonus if you get accepted to all of them, and you can spend a little more time deciding. I am sure there are plenty of stories of students who have applied to every Ivy League college and not gotten into ANY of them. Sure, no one really wants Cornell when you could have Harvard, Princeton, or Yale, but it's probably an OK backup plan.

I was surprised by another college admission article from my hometown of Milwaukee. I probably should have read the whole thing, but my free allotment of Journal Sentinel articles had run out, so the headlines had to suffice. A set of twin girls from the city had been accepted to a combined 37 colleges and been awarded $1 million in scholarships. That sounds pretty good on the surface, but (like Jacksonville's Ivy League dude) it really means they will each be attending ONE college and accepting enough scholarship money to pay for that single college. Like the rest of us.

And that's kind of where it all ends for high school seniors, anyhow. I was some kind of genius at my high school, but no one really cared about that when I was sitting in a lecture hall. In fact, I didn't even care anymore: college didn't provide me with motivation to work towards greatness. I could become the faceless freshman in the crowd, get my A- or B+ without really working at it, and get my diploma without knowing what I wanted to do with it. The current batch of high school seniors could easily do the same, though I would advise against it, since that kind of laissez faire attitude in college kind of led me to falling into professions rather than grabbing the bull by the horns. 

Getting a choice of colleges to attend and lots of scholarship money is a great way to begin your college years. It's much better than working full time and taking out student loans to buy new electronic devices. But it's also very likely that the three people I mentioned in this article will not be any more successful than thousands of their peers who never even applied to Ivy League schools and never got a single penny in scholarship money. And they might never catch up to students whose daddies are setting them up with millions of dollars in real estate or the family company. That said, I am always hopeful our nation's brightest will also become its best, so I hope all the kids coming out of high school who got accepted to all those fancy colleges (and not-so-fancy colleges) use their time to learn something worthwhile in order to help better mankind. Or make millions of dollars. Or get to attend some raging parties (maybe the kids at Cornell are at least good at that).

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