In the US, the college admissions process has become an obsession: where a young person gets into school—or doesn't—has become a hurtful determinant of one's value. It's "seen as the conclusive measure of a young person’s worth, an uncontestable harbinger of the accomplishments or disappointments to come," writes Frank Bruni in the New York Times. "This is the great, brutal culling." But in fact, he writes, this is total "madness." What applicants and their families need to realize is that acceptances and rejections are the product of a "flawed" system, and beyond that, the name of your college doesn't define your life or your success.
Bruni speaks to several grads who took a hit when they weren't accepted to the colleges they'd set their hearts on, only to go on to find joy and success in the so-called lesser institutions they did attend, along with the recognition that "rejection was fleeting—and survivable." As for "big name" colleges, Bruni scans the alma maters of the CEOs of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies and finds a diverse array of schools, only one of which is an Ivy. More families should heed the words of parents who wrote a touching letter to their son before his admissions results arrived: "Your worth as a person, a student and our son is not diminished or influenced in the least by what these colleges have decided." Click for Bruni's full column, which is excerpted from his book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. (Read more college stories.)