College Admissions: The Grand Scheme of Things (Literally)

By Sam Behar

I bet when you were younger you imagined yourself at some frat party singing “I Love College” by Asher Roth with some sketchy drink in your hand. But before all that, you have to actually get into school. One of the most confusing things for most people now, not just high school students, is the concept of college admissions. This past year has been a big one for college admissions with lots to catch up on. Here is the rundown as to why that is.

The class of 2022 has gone through some major confusion and controversy with admissions. According to collegevine, the class of 2022 has broken the record for number of applicants. NYU got the most applicants over any private school with 75,000 but only accepted almost 15,000. Acceptance rates seem so low nowadays is because there are so many more people applying to schools. This is due to more motivation to continue on to higher education, the help of financial aid, and more college awareness overall. As colleges get more competitive, people are more willing to do the most to get into a prestigious school.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the college admissions scandal involving top schools and some very well known celebrities (if you haven’t, you must be living under a rock.) Colleges love to see well rounded students with great scores, stellar grades, extracurriculars, volunteer experience, sports, etc. A group of wealthy people decided to do whatever they could for their children to get into schools like UCLA, Stanford, and USC. 

I’m sure this is probably ringing a bell and if it isn’t, the names Lori Laughlin and Olivia Jade might help. They are one of the most well known names in this scandal because the actress posed pictures of her daughters on a rowing machine to showcase that “her daughters were on the rowing team.” Rich businessmen threw around a ton of money (something like $400,000) to coaches and “charities” at this time. As for the rest of the people who got caught in the allegations, they paid test proctors to help during standard tests, hired people to take tests, and so on. 

Why am I even bring this up? This changes the college admissions game even more.

While applying for college, I made sure I was the most well rounded I could be. I played sports, got good grades, had jobs, did extracurriculars, the whole 9 yards. It is definitely encouraged to keep doing all those things for people that apply to college in the future, but the way things went this year, me and everyone else are super confused. When my friends and I started to get our acceptances (and rejections) we couldn’t find a pattern as to why the results were the way they were. When everything was said and done we realized that there is no rhyme or reason anymore as to how people get into the schools they get into. It’s almost random, like these college admissions people sit at a table and pick names out of a hat.

With that being said, it doesn’t mean you should slack off (or pay coaches to let you on the team) but still try your hardest in school and do everything you can that interests you. Don’t do anything that isn’t “you” because you might regret spending time on something that doesn’t mean anything to you while you could have been doing something super cool and makes you happy.

Here are some tips for when you apply to college:

  1. Take both the SAT and the ACT to see which you like better and/or score better on. 
  2. Ask at least a month in advance for recommendation letters. Teachers will get so many people asking for them at once and if you wait until the last minute you could get a generic letter or not get a letter at all!
  3. Stay organized! Create a folder for your essays, recommendation letters, and other documents you need to save.
  4. Try to take AP classes during high school, colleges love to see that you challenged yourself during your 4 years.
  5. If you have to do an interview, dress professionally, speak articulately, and send thank you emails or notes after the interview regardless of how you think it went. (

Remember, it’s not about where or what you learn, it’s what you do with it.

Leave a comment