“Chance Me?” : The Con of College Confidential

Sana Hameed, Co-Editor-in-Chief

College Confidential. The name of the popular forum causes tremors of anxiety to race up and down the spines of high-achieving students as if they were Hot Wheels streaking across a fast track.

According to The Washington Post, College Confidential (CC) had more than 40 million unique users in 2016 and upwards of 260 million page views. The site, owned by Roadtrip Nation, has developed a reputation of feeding off the stress-addled minds of students and parents obsessively waiting for acceptances from prestigious universities. CC paints a picture of the ideal candidate for admissions to competitive schools and hence fuels the pathology of inadequacy already common among high school seniors pressured by the prospect of going off to college.

Furthermore, CC’s infamous “chance me” posts involve students basically regurgitating the contents of their Common Application in a condensed form so the site’s notoriously competitive and blunt readership can judge whether or not the person is likely to get in. We, as college hopefuls, skim over the stats, read their responses and consciously or unconsciously compare ourselves to them. We mentally juxtapose our own test scores, volunteer work, grade point averages and backgrounds to those brave enough to summarize their life story into a bulleted list to see if we are even close to worthy of getting into the same schools. In our minds, the admissions process becomes more rigid, more transcendent. Our dream schools seem completely out of our grasp, destined to accept those “more qualified.” In turn, we undermine our own capabilities and accomplishments in favor of acknowledging everything we are not. Wrapped up in the competition, we forget that the students make the school, the school does not make the students.

In essence, CC should be used as a tool to better understand what colleges appeal to you, rather than fixating on whether or not you will present any appeal to the college. No respondent, no matter how well-informed on the college admissions process, can judge one’s capabilities accurately solely off some scraps of information haphazardly thrown together, so the probability premonitions replying to “chance me’s” would remain just that- premonitions. The comments and guesses of perfect strangers on an Internet forum are not factored into admissions decisions so one should not consider them relevant to the process of getting into college as a whole.