Perfection is the Expectation

The Stigma Behind College Acceptance


What makes a college a “good” college?

For a lot of us students, perfection is the expectation, and anything less is a failure. There is an enormous amount of competition and pressure put on us, whether it be from peers, parents, or even ourselves. It is difficult for us to realize that someone else’s “perfect” may not be ours. We also have to come to the realization that the path we feel ourselves and our parents have paved for us may not be the one we take. 

When asked where this applies, most students have the same response: academics and getting into a “good” college. For me, UNC-Chapel Hill has always felt like the only acceptable option when it comes to college, I know many of my peers can relate. 

College is the milestone we hope to meet after countless hours of hard work, exhaustion, determination, and drive. We load up on AP courses, honors courses, sports, clubs, etc for the enjoyment of course, but with the mindset that these extracurriculars will be our key to acceptance. This can become extremely overwhelming and it’s important to know when to take a step back and acknowledge, celebrate, and reflect on your achievements so far. 

Why has UNC always felt like the “only option” or the only “good” college? What makes a college a “good college?”

We do not explore the full range of options available to us in higher education which can lead us to have false expectations as to where we want to go to college. Another factor is that too many college administrators are reluctant to explore new requirements for admissions and transfers that better align with morals, goals, and overall future success. 

It could be beneficial for colleges to make some changes to their acceptance process such as: re-evaluating transfer credits, awarding academic credit for related work experience, considering other various requirements, more leniency with financial aid, etc. 

This stigma behind college acceptance is unhealthy and gives young people the wrong idea of success. While UNCNC State, and Duke may be our target schools, UNC CharlotteUNC WilmingtonAPP StateWake ForestUNC GreensboroElonWake Tech, and 100s of other colleges may be an even better match. 

Some of the most successful people attended smaller or even community colleges, and pretty much everyone has experienced rejection in some way or form. For example, Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of South California School of Cinema Arts twice before becoming one of the most successful filmmakers of his time, producing “Jaws,” “E.T,” “Jurassic Park” and many more. 

Do not be discouraged if you do not end up going to a school like Duke where the acceptance rate is less than 8% or even UNC with less than 25%. College acceptance does not define you and your accomplishments or future success. Plan for a college that will accommodate your passions and push you to succeed for yourself.