almost all of it is money-driven, insecurity-fueled foolishness, a bogus nexus of lies, fears and greed, but more on that later.
Quite honestly, I don't know when it started that 15 year olds should be looking at colleges and deciding what it is they want to do the rest of their lives. Or worse, that they would spend thousands of dollars on consultants to help them to get to where they think they need to be. I can say that I wouldn't place all of the blame on all college admissions standards. I put the blame on over-burdened guidance counselors and more importantly, overzealous parents. I would modify his final statement to read:
The opportunity for 95% of the student body is this: reject the idea of being almost good enough to get in to Harvard and embrace the idea of being extraordinary somewhere else.
I said this during my job interview for my current position when I was asked about leaving my current job "How are you going to make the adjustment from presenting the school you graduated from to another school?" My response? ... There is an opportunity out there for everyone. For some kids it is Harvard and Yale, others it is Hartford and New Haven ... while for others the opportunity is the National Guard or the Coast Guard (or the family business, or traveling the world, or starting a software company, or, or, or ...).
Don't lay the blame on the Admissions Counselors ... All I do is read the essays and letters.