College Pete

FSU’s Snub, and College Admissions

FSU’s Snub, and College Admissions

My longtime readers as well as those who know me well understand my passion for sports, including college sports. After all, every year I write about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament with a focus on University Generosity Bracketology. But today I want to briefly comment about football, specifically the College Football Playoff, and relate it to college admissions.

Across the great State of Florida (and beyond), folks who don the garnet and gold are quite a bit peeved that their beloved FSU Seminoles were snubbed by the College Football Playoff Committee. After all, the Seminoles just completed an undefeated season and an ACC Championship on Saturday night, only to learn Sunday that their #4 ranking and erstwhile playoff qualification was removed, replaced, substituted and eliminated by the likes of Texas and Alabama, two teams with one loss each.

Personally, I thought FSU deserved a chance to compete for the National Championship. But this column isn’t about football, it doesn’t matter what I think, and many people (or football teams) don’t get what they often deserve, even if they put forth maximum effort.

In this way, the College Football Playoff is much like college admissions. Sports personality Colin Cowherd made a similar point on his show yesterday (focus on 3:37-4:36).

The process of applying to college today is not necessarily a feel-good exercise. It can seem unfair… and there can be disappointment. You/your child could have superb grades, test scores, academic rigor, terrific essays and recommendations…and still not get admitted to her dream school. This sometimes happens, even if you feel you/your child “deserves” a spot. Consider that 72-91% of applicants to any given college/university will meet the academic qualifications of that university. There are a limited number of seats in every freshman class, just as there is a limited number of spots (4) in the College Football Playoff. Sometimes great candidates don’t get admitted, regardless of what we think is deserving.

I often tell my own children, and my students, that we often don’t have total control over what happens to us, but we do have complete control over our reaction to what happens. In our program, we strive for multiple good options for our students to choose among. This is an achievable end!

Yes, there may be other students with better grades or scores, or fewer available spots, and the admissions committee (or the College Football Playoff Committee) simply prefers another candidate who is more qualified in their view… at a school or two on your list. We cannot control that. But we can control how we construct a list to ensure you/your child will have multiple, good alternatives.

We can control how we respond if we do face an obstacle. In sports, admissions and life, when things don’t go as we wished, we can complain, pitch a fit and protest, scream to our neighbors or our counselor or on sports radio or on social media… or we can focus with full determination on the opportunities we do have. In FSU’s case, they can turn their attention to proving the committee wrong by winning the bowl game to which they were assigned (the Orange Bowl game vs. Georgia). That’s something within their control. Indeed, it pains me when I see great students denied from their first choice school. After commiserating and sharing in their grief, the only option is to move on and create the next opportunity.

In the competitive world of college admissions, as Mick Jagger says, you can’t always get what you want. But what you can do is give yourself the best chance to compete. By doing that, if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need – which is a an opportunity to succeed at a campus that values your talents and accomplishments, and where you can thrive to be the best version of yourself.

If you want to give your child the best chance to compete, then give us a call. Let’s maximize your child’s admission chances and scholarship/aid opportunity – and let’s focus on what we can control.

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