Having spent three years in a college admissions office, I know this is the time of year in which some students find out whether they were accepted to the college(s) of their dreams. I am particularly annoyed by the New York Times’s “The Choice” blog, which is clearly aimed toward students with academic credentials suitable for Ivy League institutions. My annoyance rises because this blog focuses its attention on such a small number of institutions which are academically out of reach of nearly all students and perceived to be financially out of reach of almost everyone (although this is not the case).
The Choice annually follows a small group of students who apply to many of these highly selective institutions, and are shocked when they receive a rejection letter. While I am glad that the blog now includes more students from geographically and economically varied backgrounds, most of the bloggers’ stories are still sufficient to cause angst to many well-prepared students. Take for example Leobardo Espinoza, Jr., from Topeka, Kansas. His most recent post was full of angst about getting rejected by Washington University in St. Louis, one of the most selective colleges in the Midwest. Thankfully, he eventually realized that he was already accepted by American, Amherst, and Bowdoin, as well as Kansas and Wichita State. But I am concerned that many readers will get the wrong impression about his post.
I am glad that the blog is finally featuring students who apply to at least a few local options. If students have a choice, I strongly recommend avoiding as much debt as possible along the road to a bachelor’s degree by staying in-state or attending private colleges with generous financial aid options. Yes, getting rejected by one prestigious college stings and it makes for great reading among the NYT’s elite readership. But it’s not the end of the world, and I think that Mr. Espinoza has realized that in spite of the title of the article.