Panel of Experts

Karl Schellscheidt

SAT Prep Expert

  • BSE, Princeton University '90
  • M.A., Secondary Education Seton Hall University '93
  • J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School '00

Fred Hargadon

Dean of Admission

  • Swarthmore College
    (1964-1969)
  • Stanford University
    (1969-1984)
  • Princeton University
    (1988-2003)

Don Betterton

Financial Aid Expert

  • Director of Financial Aid, Princeton University (1973-2006)
  • Certified College Planner
  • Principal, Betterton College Planning

Seamus Malin

Admission Expert

  • Harvard University
    Dir. of Financial Aid
    (1966-1977)
    Asst. Dean of Admission
    (1977-1987)
    International Office Director
    (1987-2002)

Admissions Advice to High School Students: Part 3 of 7

Fred Hargadon

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comCollege McRankings

Don’t think of admission to a particular college or particular colleges as a trophy or prize to be won. You need to find a college that is a good fit for you, i.e., one that promises to challenge you, make you stretch, and allow you to grow, not one where you’ll have to study twenty-four hours a day just to keep up. Keep in mind that most college students are very happy with the colleges they attend regardless of whether those schools had originally been their “first choices.”

Avoid thinking of colleges in terms of “McRankings,” the sort of thing one finds in magazines or other guidebooks. It is absolute nonsense to think that colleges can be precisely ranked 1, 2, 3, etc. Such rankings are very misleading. Indeed, many of the most outstanding faculty at institutions that happen to be highly ranked are not themselves products of those same institutions. In other words, in the long run it is not the college you go to, but rather what you do once you are there, that counts.

Finally, make sure to remember that it is you who is applying to college, and not your parents. Since being successful at any college requires a good deal of independent initiative and personal responsibility on the part of students, colleges naturally look for those qualities in their dealings with students and when reviewing their applications.

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