Asking for College Admissions Help

We live in a technologically advanced world great for those who prefer DIY or self-service. This extends to everything from home repairs to banking. But would you DIY a surgery or an IRS audit? Probably not, because there is a lot at stake; your life could be ruined if something goes wrong.

I think most people would argue that you would be fine even if you didn’t get into the college you wanted to attend (Frank Bruni wrote a whole book on that subject; buy the book from Amazon through this link at no extra cost to you and help support this blog!). But the disappointment stings, nevertheless. Particularly when the students, or their parents, thought (after the fact) that more could’ve been done to improve their chance.

Surprisingly, many students and parents still follow the good old DIY method when applying to college; professional help never comes into play. That was perfectly fine when many colleges, including the UCs, admitted half or more of their applicants. But that is no longer the case. The level of competition to get into the UCs is rather alarming, even with the purported increase in the number of California students admitted to the system. For Fall 2017, Berkeley admitted just 19.7% of California freshman applicants (18.3% overall), while UCLA admitted just 14.6% of California freshman applicants (16.1% overall). California community college transfer admit rate for Fall 2017 was 27.9% at Berkeley and 28.1% at UCLA.*

Seek help as you go through the admissions process (although you should have sought college preparation help long before that; but it’s not too late to start now). You are not meant to do this alone (the college admissions process, quite literally, takes a whole village of professionals to get through). Talk to your counselor, talk to college admission officers, talk to test prep folks, talk to me.

Limit your enthusiasm for DIY or self-service to something less life-altering (self-serve frozen yogurt is always a good bet). Build a village (whether of free or paid resources) so you have someone to turn to as you go through the admissions process. This is a journey best taken in good company.


* You can find the admit rates cited in this post at University of California – FRESHMAN ADMISSION RATES by Campus and Residency – Fall 2015, 2016 and 2017 and University of California – California Community College Transfer Admission Rates by Campus – Fall 2015, 2016 and 2017.


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