“Everybody is doing it”

"Everybody's doing it" is rarely a good reason to do things, especially in high school.  And the way you prepare for college is no exception. 

If everybody else has tutors in four subjects and a year-long program to prepare for the SAT, it's easy to feel that you should do the same thing.

If everybody else is talking about "doing some community service for college apps," you might start to feel like you should find an easy, non-committal community service project where you can accrue some hours.

If everybody else is stressed, sleepless and waiting for an admission to a highly selective college to make the last three years of academic boot camp worth it, you might take on that same attitude.

If other parents talk incessantly about their connections at an Ivy League school who are "very influential" (those reportedly influential connections almost never are, by the way), you might feel like you're failing your own kid by not knowing the right people. 

If everybody else wants to go to the same 25 colleges, it's understandable why you'd start to believe that those must be the only 25 colleges worth attending.

But like virtually any action motivated by peer-pressure and the fact that "Everybody's doing it,"

1) Just because everybody is doing it doesn't make it a good idea.

2) You're almost always better off ignoring what everybody else is doing and instead making your own informed decisions.