As a typical, angsty teenager hoping to get into a competitive school next year I spend a lot of my down time on College Confidential, an online counseling company that offers forums on topics like admission chances, standardized testing and school life. Yet, while the website claims to offer “counseling,” the website serves more like a gauge for the college admission stress level. The anonymous masses on College Confidential certainly did not invent the anxiety that comes with applying to college, but like a megaphone they amplify it 24 hours a day.
What started out as a wonderful idea- a website offering free advice and guidance to high schoolers around the world- has turned into a website where in moderated discussions strangers belittle each other, put into question the intelligence of individuals and judge each other based on the schools they get accepted into.
A home of rampant bragging, after five minutes of reading, College Confidential will leave you feeling completely insufficient. After all, on College Confidential you will find someone who not only has 20 APs, a 4.0 GPA, a 2600 on the SAT, but who has also ended world hunger over summer break.
Despite my objections to College Confidential, there is a lot of value to the site. Apart from the discussion forums the rest of the site offers a lot of advice for the college search. Sections like “Ask the Dean,” where professionals in the field are responding to frequently asked questions, are a great resource to understanding the long and complicated college process. There is also a substantial collection of helpful articles on subjects like paying for college and student life.
So my advice to you is to stray away from the College Discussion Forums. But if you absolutely cannot resist the temptation of scrolling through them, wear your thickest skin as chances are only about 1% of the people posting on the website are telling the truth. Do not listen to the posts that discourage you from applying to certain schools. And if you will be going to what is classified as a “crap school” on College Confidential, be proud because you have risen above hooked masses that only live for name and rank.
Make your own decisions and speak with the real college guru- your guidance counselor. You’ll be amazed by how helpful they can be.
If you ever feel like you are being made feel small, ridiculed or cyber-bullied, Teen Link is ready to help. You can call (866) 833- 6546 any day from 6-10 pm or chat through www.866teenlink.org