First day of school, first pay cheque, marriage, first child and a lot more are the different milestones in your child’s life. Can you guess what surpasses all these milestones for a child among educated parents?

It is the milestone of Getting Into A Dream College

College Is An InvestmentClearly, admission in a TOP college means everything to parents like you. As a part of this blog, we will take you through:

The Advantages Of Your Child Getting Into A DREAM College

The perks of your child getting into their dream college are many. If your child gets into a top college, today’s society uses statements of validation like:

  • Your CV is secure now
  • You will always have a job
  • You will always be the first to be considered for a promotion
  • You don’t have to be worried about finances anymore

They will even go as far as to say:

  • Marriage proposals will flow in without stopping now
  • Marriage will be easy for you
  • Your social circle will expand now

Getting into a dream college is considered both a profession and a personal victory.

The Rising Competition In Your Child’s Dream College

The number of students passing out of Grade 12 and the number of them scoring above 90% is increasing exponentially.

Inflation in Marks is Unreal

Here’s a preview of the acceptance rates in India and around the world.

College Acceptance Rates

There is a massive disproportion between the number of students scoring above 90% and the acceptance rate in top colleges. This only means that your child is facing a HUGE COMPETITION.

Among the thousands of students applying for admission, many are categorised as ‘non-serious’ by the admissions committee due to various reasons. Now, let’s get deeper into each of the various reasons that makes them non-serious.

Reasons Why Students Don’t Get Into Their Dream Universities

At Univariety, we have worked with 350+ top schools in India & 150,000 students over the last decade. During these 10 years, we have seen, analysed and listed down the key reasons why students don’t make it to their DREAM Universities. 

Parents Need Assistance For College Preparation

Does this sound daunting? Don’t worry, we are going to provide immediate help that most parents need. Against every reason, we are also going to explain what you can do as a parent to make sure your child doesn’t fall under that category. So, keep reading. 

Here are the 5 reasons why students don’t make it to their DREAM college:

1. No Clear Goal

Parents Feel Their Child Lacks Clarity

 

Did you sit down and have a conversation with your child about what he/she wants to do in the future? If you answered with a no, then you must have that conversation right now! If your child does not know where they want to be in the future, they will not know what to do now. 

Without a clear goal in mind, their energy is scattered in different things and at different places. Due to this, they will end up wasting a crucial chunk of time, which they could have otherwise used in their favour.

There are many studies, management books, etc., which prove that Goal Setting is paramount for students to be successful.

Students With Written Goals & Concrete Plans Are 10 Times More Successful Than The Rest!

Source: Harvard MBA Business School Study on Goal Setting

Not just that, many accomplished people in the world swear by the role Goal Setting played in their eventual success.

Micheal Jordan On Goal Setting

So, now you know, how important Goal Setting is for your child.

What Can You Do As a Parent?

Have a conversation with your child about their dreams, aspirations and what they want to do with their life. Don’t judge, just listen first. And then make a list of their dreams and aspirations. 

Once you have a list of aspirations with you, you need to shortlist them along with your child to form a concrete goal. The process of Goal Setting is a scientific one. You need to evaluate all options, match them with your child’s aptitude, access the best possible outcome, analyse the success rate and a lot more.

In short, you should have a tried & tested framework to make sure your child’s goal is achievable and the best option for him/her. 

We Can Help You With It

2. Not Focusing on Non-Academics

Internal assessments, board exams, entrance exams, and a whole lot of other academic tests keep students occupied all the time. Due to this, they pay little or no attention to non-academic activities. 

But, did you know? 

72% of TOP Global Universities Look Beyond Academics While Granting Admissions 


This single statistic should be enough to make you think about what your child should do beyond academics to get into his/her college. Colleges in the US have always followed a holistic admission process, which is a right balance between academics and a strong non-academic profile. 

With increasing academic competition and more & more students scoring above 90% in India, colleges in India are also being forced to go beyond academics to choose candidates. This phenomenon is not just in private colleges, but in a lot of government colleges too. 

Extracurricular activities will help your child distinguish themselves from their competition.

Admission Trivia on Non-Academic Profile

Not just for college admissions, but extracurricular activities have various other benefits too. They increase the concentration levels, improve their interpersonal skills, build leadership skills, etc. 

What Can You Do As a Parent?

As a parent, you can make sure that your child balances his/her time between academics and extracurricular activities. But, it is essential that you don’t push your child to participate in a ton of extracurricular activities. This will spread him/her too thin and they won’t excel in one single activity.

I would rather a student tell me about the handful of clubs and activities they have been involved with and excelled in, rather than an exhaustive list of clubs that they feigned interest in, kind-of-sort-of-one-day. This leaves students with little time to flourish in any one organisation, or worse, they  suffer academically due to over-involvement. – Kaitlyn Botelho, Lasell University Associate Director of Admission

Choosing the right extracurricular activity that aligns with your child’s dream career and college is a science that makes all the difference. It needs deep analysis and expert insights, among other factors. A well rounded personality is what colleges are looking for in an applying candidate and having a non-academic profile aligned to what your dream college looks for will provide a disproportionate advantage. This is possible with the right guidance, exposure, and roadmap.

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3. Getting Influenced By Everyone

Your child getting influenced by everyone in choosing college subjects is a side effect of Reason 1 (No Clear Goal). When your child does not have a goal in mind, every suggestion will seem attractive. If the best friend is joining Law, your child wants to do the same. If they watch a film where the protagonist is an Architect, then your child wants to do the same. A classic case of FOMO kicks in and they want to do everything without being sure of anything.

You as a parent might dream of IIT for your child in Grade 9 without having a conversation with him/her. But, by the time you child is in Grade 11 or 12, what he/she wants to do will be completely different. 

Getting influenced by so many factors & making last minute decisions will:

  • Not give you & your child time to research about the subject & scope
  • Not give you & your child the chance to understand if he/she has the aptitude for it
  • Not give your child chance to perform their very best & might result in settling for an average college

Over 2,400 students have dropped out from the 23 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in the last two years.

Source: www.theprint.com 

This is the result of acting on a last minute decision without understanding one’s own interest and aptitude.

According to statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics, a whopping 80% of students in the US change their majors at least once while in college. 


This is a result of choosing a subject based on peer influence and not one’s own personal interests and goals. 

What Can You Do As a Parent?

Parents sometimes underestimate the amount of good one counselling session can do, to help your child understand their own capabilities. Hence, you can set up a career counselling session for your child early on, so that they get influenced by an expert who will advise them only after understanding his/her interests, potential and aptitude.

4. Being the ‘AND’ Student

Entrance tests, college requirements, etc can seem deceiving similar sometimes. Due to this, students think they can juggle 2-3 things at once, as they are not very different from each other. 

That is exactly where they go wrong. They end up not being able to do justice to both the tests happening around the same time. Your child who could have easily cracked one specific test & gotten into a dream college, will end up settling with an average college because he/she was an ‘AND’ student. 

Here’s a most common example of what happens in India:

Student ConfusionWhat Can You Do As a Parent?

You have to sit down with your child and tell them that they cannot focus on multiple tests or subjects at the same time. They will have to set a clear goal early on and focus on one thing at a time.

This is what will give them the best possible result. Balance can be great in many things, but balancing between different subjects or tests is not a good way to approach college admissions.

5. Not Having Backup Options

If your child has his/her expectations set on one college and it is their ultimate dream college, then you should definitely talk to them now. Yes, you heard that right. With such low acceptance rates, it is always better to have backup college options, in case your child doesn’t make it to his/her dream college.

This will:

  • Reduce the stress your child will feel
  • Make sure your child has something to fall back on
  • Not make your child waste a previous year of their life

Surprisingly, 

Roughly a quarter million first-time, full-time students who entered four-year institutions in the fall of 2015 were accepted by their first-choice institution but opted to go elsewhere. – Kevin Eagan, managing director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA

In other words, close to 17% of first-time freshmen were accepted at their top school and chose to attend somewhere else.

Shocking, isn’t it? But many factors will play a role in making a decision like this. Some of them include scholarship grants, career opportunities, course flexibility, etc.

Average College Applications

So it is crucial to have backup college options.

What Can You Do As a Parent?

You can have a conversation with your child about having a couple of backup college options. These backup college options should be picked in a way that they don’t require separate preparation. 

All you need to do is be aware of the application process, criteria and last dates. 

There is a certain amount of expertise that’s needed to choose the right backup college, plan and execute multiple application processes at the same time and keep track of them. Our Go The Extra Mile (GEM) service can help you with the same. As a part of the service, an expert counsellor will handhold your child through the pre-application, application and post-application process.

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Conclusion – What Will You Do Now? 

The five simple mistakes discussed can cost your child’s admission in his/her dream college. To make sure that your child doesn’t make these mistakes, you should communicate with them constantly. 

Making your child talk to an expert counsellor, helping them set a goal early on and reassuring them that they are on the right path can make a huge difference. Ensure that your children do not fall under any of the above mentioned categories and take them closer to their dream university. Now that you have a clear understanding of what you can do as a parent to help your child, what are you going to do next? 

Sneha Mashetty
Content Manager at

Sneha Mashetty is a former journalist who covered state politics. With a degree in Journalism & Masters in Electronic Media, she combines her research techniques, versatility in writing for the web, and love for education at Univariety. She has written extensively for International schools, Ed-Tech products, emerging learning technologies for half a decade. An avid reader, a travel lover & a movie buff who loves to have meaningful conversations

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