College Myths Debunked

Published Thursday, May 5, 2011 by Tarang

Myths are powerful words that can often describe a culture or religion. Myths are associated with power and have come to define history; their words carry weight. The most dangerous type of myths are the ones that exist today in the newest definition of a myth. The newest type of myth is a widely held belief that is actually false. One such myth is that The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure you can see from space. This is hardly true; railroad lines are visible from space.

"Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" A movie based on Greek myths.

Such popular myths about college admissions exist as well. ‘Time’ magazine recently (May 5, 2011) debunked some popular myths. Check out the story here: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2069625,00.html

One myth that the article kindly debunks is the one that states that waitlists never move (Myth #4). This is obviously not true, considering that schools take the time to actually create a waitlist. However, students fear that being waitlisted is equivalent to being rejected. This can be disproved easily though just by checking statistics of how many people are accepted off the waitlist. Many schools actually post this data for the public to see: Cornell University accepted 209 students off the waitlist in Fall 2005. That’s a pretty sizable number if you ask me. Don’t let waitlists ruin your self-esteem. Many students start to think that they are not good enough for a certain school (Myth #1 in the article), but this is not true. It is a simple number game. There are more qualified students than spots available. This is true throughout life (like in jobs). It’s best to accept this reality now while you are younger.

Another website with some great myths debunked is: http://pics.collegetrends.org/myths.cfm

One myth from this list that continues to prevail but shouldn’t is “Myth 6: A lot of out-of-class activities will compensate for poor grades.” Let’s have some real-talk: there is no way to compensate for overly poor grades. GPA and SAT/ACT scores are often used by colleges to make their first cut and screen out applicants. If your poor grades screen you out in the first round, then colleges won’t even look at your list of activities. Grades prove to colleges that you can handle the workload. Of course, people do not have perfect grades, but they still get into college. However, a certain competitive GPA is always required. One poor grade or one poor semester can be explained in your personal essays, but colleges do not want to see repetitively low grades.

The admissions process is holistic, but certain things are more important. If a college sees higher grades and only one or two long-term activities for the student, then it considers the student capable and dedicated. Too many activities and lower grades can come across as disorganized and unfocused.

In essence, check out these lists and get the facts for yourself. No one is quite sure where these myths really started. Perhaps it was an innocent conversation gone awry or a misinterpretation of some college gossip. And while some students will rest easy on their favorite admissions myths, the only stories you should rely on are the ones you tell yourself.


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