Thursday, November 10, 2011

The St. Louis Cardinals and Green Bay Packers- What Seniors Applying to College Can Learn from "Wild Card Teams"

Not long ago a senior came in with a question.

"Mr. Bottomly, what have you heard about Centre College?"

We talked about what I knew about Centre.

She then asked if it was okay if she added Centre to her "My Colleges" on the Common Application.

This student already had a clear #1 and was applying ED 1. She even had a clear #2, with plans to apply ED 2 if she was deferred or denied from her ED 1 school. She also had a nice constellation of schools in her final list that we're well within her wheelhouse, schools like Rhodes, DePauw, Sewanee, SMU.

I told her, "Sometimes the wild card team wins."

She looked at me quizzically. I knew she was an athlete, so my analogy/metaphor would work.

Take the St. Louis Cardinals. Two months ago none of the MLB prognosticators would have given the Cards a chance to make the playoffs, let alone win the World Series.

Or take the Green Bay Packers. It was last January, I know, but remember that they too were a wild card team, and they too beat the odds and won the Super Bowl.

Sometimes the team, or in this case the college, that you least expect to make a "deep run" ends up emerging as the winner.

Many times that college that you hear is "good", maybe from a peer, or surfing College Confidential threads, or in a conversation at an alumni event, can emerge as an excellent college fit for you.

This student obviously might never visit Centre, especially if she gets into one of her ED schools.

But you never know what could happen between now and May 1.

None of us are immune to the vagaries of college admissions, especially the higher up the chain of selectivity you go.

So seniors: don't be afraid to add a "wild card college".

You just never know what might happen.

Just ask the Cards and Packers.