Within my friend group, I am known as the College Confidential master. Ask me a question about any college and I can find the answer in minutes. My skills come from hours of late night anxiety exacerbated by the online forums, because that’s just kind of person I am.
If you’ve never had the lovely experience of browsing College Confidential, please don’t start now. According to their website, it is the “world’s largest college forum.” Prospective students and parents can participate in forums for each specific college about admissions, life while at the college, and general college information. There are also articles and college profiles written by reputable people, but in my experience these are accessed less often than the forums.
And the “chance me’s” … oh, glorious “chance me’s.” These are entire threads dedicated to people posting their test scores, GPA, classes, extracurricular activities, etc. and other people will respond telling them whether or whether not they can expect to get into schools. It can be hard not to find yourself constantly comparing yourself to these people, obsessing over that extra one ACT point. Admitted and rejected students will post their stats in forums where applicants can see how they measure up.
“It definitely lowers my confidence, because if they have lower stats and they get deferred or rejected, I feel like I’m definitely going to get deferred or rejected,” Karina Han (‘19) said.
Other than stats, applicants and students will post theories about hints that you may or may not have gotten in, tips for your application, Q and As, and general gossip about the college. It can be a good way to get information, although very little of it is confirmed 100% to be true.
“I think it gives you a sense of the student population at the school you’re applying to but it’s very easy to get caught up in it and thinking you’re not going to make it,” Isabel Dashtizad (‘19) said. Before being accepted to Washington University in St. Louis, she checked College Confidential compulsively.
Depending on the thread, the environment can be either collaborative or cutthroat. In my experience, everyone is willing to answer questions and share information, but when it comes down to it you’re in direct competition with these people and you want to win.
“You get your decision back, and you got in and they didn’t, and you’re like ‘Ha!’ That sounds really rude, but that’s just how it is,” Karina said.
The atmosphere lends itself to constant refreshing and stressing, building on the already stressful college application process. It is good to have a source of information and the ability to have any question answered quickly, but there are obvious drawbacks when you’re up at 2 A.M. scrolling. If you think you can keep your addiction in check, it might be worth using College Confidential, but if not, I wouldn’t recommend it.