Five Myths About College Admissions

  • College Advising
  • The Teenage Years
Five Myths About College Admissions
Katie Gomulkiewicz '13, Dean of College and Academic Advising

Recently, I was thrilled to present as a speaker for our Tools for Success seminar series on Five Myths About College Admissions. My goal was to partner with parents and students as they navigate high school and the subsequent college process by debunking five of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of college admissions.

Keep reading for a quick synopsis of the presentation.

Myth 1: Grades Are Everything

report card grades

A perfect GPA is not necessary to get into college nor does a lower GPA mean a student is unable to get a great college education. What colleges want to see is that students have challenged themselves academically. At Bear Creek this might mean exploring different electives, digging deep into an academic passion with AP classes, or completing more than the minimum graduation requirements. Remember, the idea of “challenge” is highly individualized to a student.

Myth 2: A Student Needs to be Involved in Every Activity

Student activities

Colleges want to understand a student’s passions and how they will impact the campus community. High school students should think critically about the activities, leadership, and service opportunities that matter to them and continue investing deeply in those throughout the next few years. This will not only be fulfilling but also help colleges understand what a student intends to pursue outside of the classroom if they enroll.

Myth 3: College Ranking Is Everything

College Reputation

The key to a student’s success not just in the college application process, but also in higher education matriculation, is to find a school that meets their particular goals for the future. There are so many factors to consider: size, location, cost, religious affiliation, specialized programs, etc. 

Myth 4: A Student Should Apply to Twenty Colleges

Apply to 20 colleges

Applying to dozens of colleges is not necessary and often indicates that a student has not done the hard research upfront to narrow in on a best-fit list of schools. It is not only time consuming but also expensive to apply to that many colleges. At Bear Creek, I will work with all students to help them craft a thoughtful and strategic best-fit colleges list for their future goals. Additionally, students should remember that colleges are assessing fit as well, so a targeted approach is wiser than a scattershot.

Myth 5: There Is a Perfect College

College Reputation

I firmly believe that there are no perfect colleges and have seen how this myth can cause students and parents to worry that they are making the right choice. There are certainly better fits and less strong fits for a student, but no school will be perfect and that is okay. It is also important to remember that students have the profound ability to shape their college experiences, no matter the schools they attend.

Although this hits the highlights, if it piques your interest, I invite you to watch the recording which goes into more depth about each of the five myths as well as gives context for how they arose.

About the Author

Katie Gomulkiewicz

Katie Gomulkiewicz is the Dean of College and Academic Advising at The Bear Creek School. Katie graduated from Bear Creek in 2013 and returned as the Assistant Director of Admissions for Middle School and Upper School in 2017. In 2022, Katie completed her master’s thesis, “An Exploration of Standardized Psychosocial Measures Within the College Admissions Process,” and began her new role as the Dean of College and Academic Advising.

When not working, Katie enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and boxing at a local gym. She also spends time with her dogs, Jean Louise (Scout) and Oscar Wilde, walking, playing fetch, and training for scent detection competitions. Katie holds a B.S. in Psychology and English from Davidson College and M.P.S. in Higher Education Administration from Georgetown University.