This month, the majority of seniors will hear their admissions news. For freshmen, sophomores and juniors, this is when you'll hear people making bold declarations about how and why students did or didn't get in. It will sound like this:
"He got in because he wrote a great essay."
"He got rejected because he didn't take AP Calculus."
"She got in because of her SAT Verbal score."
"She got rejected because she got a 'C' freshman year."
"He got in because he picked 'forestry' as his major."
"He got rejected because he didn't do full IB."
"She got in because her dad is an alum."
"She got rejected because too many kids from our school applied."
When you hear those statements, remember that most of the people making them have absolutely no idea what they're talking about.
The only people who really know why a student did or did not get in are the admissions officers who read the file and ultimately made the decision. A high school counselor is sometimes privy to that information, too. But most other people didn't see the file. They didn't read the essays. They didn't see the letters of rec, or sit in on the interview, or hear the conversation between the admissions officers who decided.
So don't try to learn about admissions this month. Or, at least don't try to learn about it from the wrong people. Even admissions officers themselves can't always point to one factor that got a student in or kept him out. This is a complicated process, one that sometimes defies explanation to outside observers.
If you learn anything this month, notice that just about all of those kids got in somewhere. And while you're at it, learn from all the college freshmen who come home for spring break just how much they love college, even those who didn't get into their first choice.