"It's not personal, it's business"

In a perfect world, every student would have the opportunity to attend college or vocational school for free, every student would get in to the college they apply to, and 31 Flavors Quarterback Crunch would be available year-round.

We are far from achieving any of these dreams.  In fact, it is more likely that Quarterback Crunch will be a year-round flavor before the first two happen. 

The reality is that college is a HUGE business and as a business, their goal is be successful and make money. This means brand names matter, rankings play a huge part in a college’s success and being unattainable by other than a select few is a badge of honor.

As such, elite/in-demand colleges employ tactics and strategies that favor increasing their yield while also having institutional objectives that they need to reach that we know nothing about.  Having little or no idea what’s going on behind the scenes in terms of what type of student the college is looking for combined with acceptance rates that continue to drop each year, culminate in students’ receiving outcomes that feel extremely disappointing and unfair when you’ve worked hard and achieved results that are completely deserving of a positive outcome.

Kinda like what sometimes happens in the business world. 

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been passed over for a promotion you completely deserved, or didn’t get a job you felt you were super qualified for. 

You can probably think of at least several times in your life that things didn’t turn out the way you felt they should.  

But as unfair and frustrating as that was, there was probably a part of you that was more accepting of this, because you knew and understood how the corporate world works sometimes. With colleges, we have different expectations. We believe that not only the people at the colleges but the institutions themselves have the best interests of the students at heart over the university’s goals and the majority of them do.

One positive thing about the admissions scandal is it helped colleges take a hard look at the entire process. The “tide Is turning”, literally and figuratively, based on these reports by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  While the newest report focuses more on behavior, the first report looked at ways colleges can focus more on admission practices that help evaluate students in a more holistic way, such as having more colleges go test-optional. This influenced elite colleges such as The University of Chicago to do so, and it looks like more are starting to follow their lead.

But the tide turns slowly in the world of college admissions, so the best thing we can do in the meantime is to turn OUR tide and the way we view this process.  Because when we change our perception of how we view something, it often helps us change the way we react and respond. 

And that begins with accepting the reality that college is a business.   

For example, if we know and understand that elite/in-demand colleges are ranked and rewarded for having a low admissions rate and a high yield, we understand that they have their pick of qualified applicants.  But what that also means is that there are colleges out there, like businesses, that DO want qualified people and that WILL provide “benefits” and “perks” and ARE more forthcoming with what they’re looking for. 

I was in a meeting last week where an admissions director said that the average national acceptance rate for college was 65%, based on the U.S. Dept of Education Fall 2016 figures. WHAT?  How can that be?  How does the math even work out?  Well, if there are close to 3,000 colleges that means that MOST of them have acceptance rates well over 70-75%.   

Even in states like California or Texas or Florida where the demand for in-state universities is creating acceptance rates that are making it difficult for hard-working students to attend colleges in their home state, there are those colleges that are less in-demand that are great options. 

And, even if you do choose to apply to the most in-demand colleges, it helps to remember that the response is less about how deserving you are and how hard you worked and more about the institutional goals and objectives of the college as well as other business factors that are out of your control.  

To quote the Godfather, “it’s not personal, it’s strictly business”.