This is not a political post. I’m radically independent. But I know that some parts of this post will touch the third rail of partisan politics. I’m sure no one who is an extremist will be happy with what I write but I also hope it will help those in suburban Connecticut towns gain an understanding of the competitive college landscape they face.
Most of our college counseling clients who come from towns such as Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Essex, East Lyme, Waterford, Stonington and other Southeastern, CT towns are not underrepresented minorities. Similarly, most are not first generation college students. While the former (diversity candidates) always received an admissions bump – at least in the last 30 years – the outreach to ensure that colleges are “among the most diverse” has skyrocketed. In addition, many colleges are making massive efforts to give a boost to first generation college students. These are just facts. And, these facts do not help high school students in Connecticut who are applying to college.
For this reason, Connecticut suburban students usually need to be marketed effectively. This is a long discussion but essentially “depth/passion” related to an activity, demonstrating distinctly positive character, and/or doing something reasonably unusual (unique is too much to ask) are all helpful. The numbers also matter. Grades – yes. But since grade inflation is so rampant, test scores are often needed to give Connecticut suburban students a competitive edge. Again, this is just a reality. Test optional was designed to help the two categories of students noted above. It defies reason why those who are not in these categories would not want to use their test scores if possible.
For those who are seeking competitive colleges, the numbers are daunting. Start the process early.