The lengths families went to make it seem like they earned admission to colleges like Stanford, Yale, and USC is shocking, but not the fact that people but their way in. It is the worst kept secret in the college admissions world that it is pay to play, and this is part of the reason it is such an uphill battle for doing it the old fashioned way.
At the most selective schools, anywhere from 2/3 to 3/4 of the spots are spoken for even before a school begins to accept applications. In a class of 1,500, 1/3 are claimed by recruited athletes and 1/3+ are claimed by legacy families. This means that 50,000 people are competing for the 500 remaining spots, which makes it a 1% acceptance rate for “normal” applicants. But it gets worse, these 500 spots must be evenly dispersed across the country, the world, and all different backgrounds—they all cannot come from the same over qualified community. The numbers are tough.
These figures are not meant to discourage students from applying to selective colleges. Rather, I want us to have a healthy mindset about the odds and what this process rewards: hard work, creativity, and a willingness to look outside the box to find paths that ensure our kids develop into healthy, happy, and financially independent adults. Let's recognize the challenge we face and find ways to stand out and build interesting stories to develop a niche. Learning how to navigate a competitive process by building a story is a life skill that will propel your kids to do amazing things well beyond college and that is the most important part of this process.
We will continue to encourage your child to his/her best and provide any support that we can for your kids to build their brand and ensure that they have the best odds to earn admission to a college that is a great fit. We are excited to see what we can accomplish together!