From The Chronicle of Higher Education:
For many high-school seniors, it’s decision time: Where will they go to college?
It’s a stressful period, especially for students attending top-tier high schools, where competition over name-recognition colleges and prestige runs rampant. Much preparation and conscious plotting has led to this moment: years of hard work, jampacked extracurricular calendars, SAT prep, and more. Students apply to 10, 15, sometimes even 20 colleges, all strategically selected as they hedge their bets on acceptance.
This is, of course, the college-frenzy story that we are all familiar with: the helicopter parents, the ones who can’t let go, who overschedule their children out of an obsessive desire that they make something of themselves. We think such parents are maybe a little uptight, perhaps a bit too intense. But we need to think again. The college-application process is about more than just a prestigious name on your résumé, or bragging rights, or even a great education. Your very class standing depends on it. Getting into a great college is not just a matter of being smart or being a good student. You have to be good at applying. You have to know how to the play the game. And many students—even the brightest ones—never even have access to the rules because of their social class and where they go to high school.