Put your confidence in the right place

Most students who feel confident about their chances of admission to a highly selective college are putting their confidence in the wrong place.

32,022 kids applied to Stanford last fall.  2,340 got admitted—a 7.3% admit rate. 

Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown, Duke—all of them have similarly discouraging stats.

So whenever a student tells us that he only wants to apply to “prestigious” colleges, it’s time to confront some brutal facts.  The math doesn’t lie—the odds of admission are not good.  And they don’t improve by simply applying to as many prestigious schools as possible.  Lottery logic doesn’t work here.   

But high achieving students have every right to be confident—you just need to place that confidence someplace else. 

If you’ve taken AP everything, gotten A’s, scored high on the SATs, been successful in your activities and somehow found a way to sleep, breathe and have fun during high school, Stanford doesn't get to decide whether or not you're going to be successful in life.  You should have supreme confidence in yourself, your work ethic, and your likelihood of being successful no matter where you go to college.  You should even have a little swagger.  The people who graduate from schools like Stanford and go on to do great things started down that path to success long before they picked their colleges.

The hardest working and most successful students know that they don’t need to go to prestigious colleges to be successful.  They know they’re going to learn, have fun and keep excelling wherever they go.

So be realistic about your chances of admission.  But be confident in yourself.  You're going places with or without an offer of admission from a prestigious college.