Dear High School Seniors,
I know you weren't expecting a commencement address. It's still early, and you haven't even gotten to throw up at the prom yet.
But you are at a crossroads. In a matter of days, you will get letters from colleges you applied to. Some will be thick. You will like those. Some will be thin. You won't like those so much.
I am here to say don't fret if that letter is thin. You will survive. You may even prosper.
It seems incredibly hard to get into colleges these days. You wouldn't think so, given what they charge. You can run an airport on their room and board bills.
Yet last year places like
But even worse than the financial burden on your parents is the implied standards they are setting for you kids. Today, excellence isn't enough. Gandhi would be put on a waiting list.
When we were applying to college, you needed good grades, a decent test score, and one teacher willing to forget the time you pulled the fire alarm and write you a recommendation.
Today, you need to cure cancer.
Preferably before your junior year.
The mythical cream of the crop?
As an uncle to 15 nieces and nephews, I have been seeing my share of these applications. I have to say, I don't know how you do it.
First of all, when do you have the time? Your nightly homework is as much as we got the entire ninth grade.
And the application itself? Some universities use the "common app," which permits millions of kids to stuff their credentials into the same essay question.
But let's talk about those questions. They ask you to write about an experience that changed or influenced you. And instead of writing what really comes to mind (a first kiss after soccer practice), you feel compelled to write about saving manatees from extinction off the
Oh, and he scored 36 on his ACT.
I'm not sure such uber-students really exist. But people talk about them. You hear about them getting in to
Never too young for the fast track?
So it was no surprise this past week to read of a
Well, relax. Because here's the thing. When you get older, you realize college doesn't make you, you make college. Many an Ivy Leaguer is now lying on a couch, and many a community college grad is running a profitable company.
Ironically, just as elite universities have become so precious in their selection, they are being debunked as the only way to success. The Internet has changed everything about information flow.
Of course you don't remember. You were 4 years old. But there was truth in those words, more today than ever.
So believe in yourself. You can springboard from any decent school. Open those mailboxes. And if choice No. 1 doesn't come through, just remember, even
What's that? ... Who's
Thank you, and good day
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