Overcome the fear of rejection in college admissions

go-for-it1This college counseling session happened years ago before I was more skilled at convincing parents and students to get over the fear of college admissions rejection.

“I don’t think she’ll get in so Olivia is not applying to Brown.” Mrs. Kaplan said about her daughter, a senior at Hopkins in New Haven, CT. Mrs. Kaplan was probably right. I would put the odds at 20% for admission to Brown. Olivia’s SATs were not quite high enough. But she had everything else, top grades and outsize success in a distinctive extracurricular that could lead to the right admissions officer going to bat for her. More importantly, Brown was the school of Olivia’s dreams. She had wanted to apply since she visited during her sophomore year. It was the college that made her put in extra hours of studying to ensure success in school.

I tried to convince the family about giving Brown a shot, particularly because we had already sorted out the core six admissions strategy that essentially guaranteed that Olivia would be admitted somewhere that she liked. But they were too afraid of rejection and I let it go.

Olivia wrote me a nice e-mail after she was admitted to an excellent college. Her friend, Jacqueline, who I had also counseled and whose academic numbers were similar, higher SATs but lower grades than Olivia, had been admitted to Brown. “I’m happy but maybe I should have applied to Brown.”

Take the risk of rejection.  You won’t live with regrets.