Why Friends May Not Talk to You About Their CAP
A recent conversation with a client introduced me to this topic.
See, we were talking about how having peers & friends with kids navigating the college applications process could make our own easier. After all, everyone’s going through the same experience so there’s an automatic support group.
Wow, was I wrong.
My client, a mother of twin boys, said “People, even friends, don’t tell you what their kids are doing. In fact, when my twins were in 9th grade, I asked a fellow hockey mom which universities her then-senior son was applying to. The mom – in a very nice way- said that it’s actually not polite, offensive even, to ask.”
I was baffled!
Really? Why wouldn’t peers & friends share that info?
Turns out: Competition.
Your friends want great things for your kids, just not at the potential expense of their own kid’s future.
See, most people have a scarcity mindset. They believe that there are limited experiences, resources, and wealth in the world, and that if someone were to get a bigger piece of the pie, there would be less for everyone else.
It’s a dangerous headspace to be in.
According to a 2013 study conducted by Harvard economics professor Sendhil Mullainathan and Princeton psychology professor Eldar Shafir, the anxiety caused by the scarcity mindset can lead to a decline in cognitive ability. That is, we don’t always make the best decisions in this mindset.
What more, we end up with tunnel vision. We become so focused on 1-2 opportunities that we don’t even take a moment to consider the other options; ones that could end up being better for us.
You’re probably wondering, “Ok, but isn’t that how college admissions works? There are a limited number of seats available, so it’s not like everyone who applies will get in.”
That’s 100% true. You’re right.
However, before we unleash our competitive sides, and decimate everyone, it’s important to consider: what exactly are we competing for? What’s the prize?
Because get this: Approximately 40%-60% of college grads don’t use their Bachelor’s degrees, and even that is a conservative estimate. For most people, it’s not their major but the possession of a 4-year degree that determines their potential earnings. The exception, of course, is in the STEM fields.
The next question is: does attending a top-notch university guarantee career stability & success?
That was the question I was asking in my junior year of high school when the recession hit in 2008.
….And this is the image and article I found.
An MIT educated banker with over 10 years of experience was not guaranteed job security during the recession. Fortunately, his persistence paid off and he later did find a job.
But shouldn’t an Ivy League education bring some guarantees? Some job security?
It was then that I learned one of the most important lessons of all: It doesn’t really matter which university you go to – sure, some universities DEFINITELY have better resources than others – but ultimately, what matters is what you do once you get there.
What do you do outside the classroom? It’s already a given that you’ll attend your classes, after all, you paid for them. So, what else did you do?
What jobs/ internship opportunities did you seek out?
Medical mission trips?
Did you make good friends and build a network of mentors, supervisors, etc who genuinely care about you and vice versa?
Those are what build your resume, your skills, and your careers.
If you are a persistent and proactive student, you will make opportunities for yourself.
And no, I am not saying that we shouldn’t be applying to competitive universities. If that’s what you want, then sure, not only should you do it, but I’ll show you how to go about conducting your research and reaching out to universities.
No. I’m simply saying that while this whole process feels anxiety-inducing and drives competition, it’s okay to help friends out too.
The process is already messy as it is due to the lack of information & misinformation floating around, so having your support system there to, well, support you – and you them- will take a HUGE weight off everyone’s shoulders.
There are plenty of opportunities for everyone.
So, instead of feeding into the scarcity mindset, let’s work on developing an abundant one.
Also, if you’re interested in learning more about whether or not college is worth it – including projected salary info AND where universities put your money- I recommend watching Patriot Act w/Hasan Minhaj’s Is College Still Worth It.
With all of that said, if you’ve had to navigate a crazy or awkward social situation with regards to the college apps process, please share!
I’ve LOVE to hear about it =)
Until next time,