Updated: Apr 5, 2019
I think it’s time to share a positive story. A story of what the American educational system COULD be, what it SHOULD be, and, sometimes, what it actually is. We’ve been hearing a lot about the bias of our educational system and colleges. We’ve been angry about how colleges started closing doors and engaging in illegal activities. It’s clear that admissions aren’t taking care of us, average families, as they should be. Traditionally, kids like Emmy are squeezed out of elite college admissions, but not this time.
As the director of a college admissions counseling service, College Confident, it’s my mission to make education equitable for all and help colleges see students for how they use their brains and how they demonstrate integrity in everything they do. Hold the hope, America, because today I introduce you to Emmy.
She works hard and is a humble leader with compassion and integrity but those students traditionally have not been treated well by elite college admissions offices. Yet, when that student persists, she can become an outlier in the admissions craziness, and that is Emmy.
Emmy seemed to create a niche colleges were looking for - a smart, humble and honest leader. In a way, I think that is also what all of America is looking for. She is a strong overall student with good grades in her AP courses, an editor of her school magazine who wrote amazing supplemental essays all which demonstrate she has a passion for HONEST writing, and an activist for traditionally marginalized communities.
She is caring and giving, and it shows so much that it seeped into her college application. Her essay demonstrated her heartfelt love and compassion for her sister over herself. Her resume shared a long list of her work in anti-violence education, of her volunteering, of her writing for a magazine and newspaper, where she told stories of others FOR others. Her scores reflected a strong worth ethic: She had a 93 GPA, took 3 college credit courses, and earned 730 (Writing) and 690 (Math) on the SATs.
Did she doubt herself like every other teenager does? Of course. Did she work her butt off in the classroom and outside of it despite it? You bet she did. But her work ethic got her a seat at the table. (Like it SHOULD, as education is MEANT to do.)
Emmy is the golden child of college acceptances. I have never seen anything like her. She is the rare child who has not been rejected from any college she applied to. During a time where acceptance rates are declining this is quite an accomplishment.
Just check out her list of acceptances, along with the acceptance rate at each, and you’ll understand that this is rare:
Colleges & Acceptance Rates
Amherst College – 11% acceptance rate
Soka University of America – 37%
Beloit College – 68%
Dickinson College – 47%
Pomona College – 6.9%
Tulane University – 12%
Scripps College – 28%
Swarthmore – waitlisted – 9%
Hamilton – 16% acceptance rate
St. Lawrence University – 46%
Bryn Mawr – 38%
UCLA – 14%
UCSD – 33%
UCSC – 50%
UBC – 52%
American University – 29%
Emory Oxford College – 19%
Emory University – waitlisted – 15%
Brandeis University – 34%
Emmy is lucky enough to have her choice, and she’s making her decision based on financial commitment. The colleges and universities that gave her the most financial aid are the top contenders at this point. Those “financially friendly colleges” are Pomona College, Tulane University, St Lawrence University, Beloit College, and Bryn Mawr College.
The “top” liberal arts college in the U.S., Amherst College is the most non-financially friendly college of this entire list. With a $78,000 PER YEAR Cost of Attendance, Amherst gave the least amount of aid. So what does that tell the greater America? You can attend top colleges if you can buy yourself a spot in? Actually no. Pomona College gave Emmy considerably more aid and they have a lower acceptance rate than Amherst (aka Pomona is considered more competitive). Tip: Emmy DID apply Early Decision to Pomona but was deferred to the regular decision pool, which kept her working on a lot of her other applications.
It’s not IF you can get in for regular hard working American families anymore, it’s IF you get in and IF you can afford it. The more colleges you apply to, the more chances you have of attending AND affording it as well.
The overall lesson I learned from Emmy, The Golden Child of Acceptances 2019, was just this: be yourself; you are perfect just the way you are. The rest will fall into place.
*American families have a website now where they can share their financial aid packages with others and compare which colleges are the most financially friendly at Compare College Offers.