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How to Use College Confidential

Updated on July 9, 2014
College Confidential can be extremely useful to high school and college students and even parents if used correctly.
College Confidential can be extremely useful to high school and college students and even parents if used correctly.

College Confidential, henceforth referred to as CC, has long been home to chance threads, overachieving individuals, and the rest of us. The basic premise of most CC threads is "chancing" in which students post their grades, test scores, and extracurriculars. Members of CC respond back to the thread, giving chances as to that student's admission into different colleges. Considering the high-profile, high-stakes game of CC, it's no wonder why most of the chance threads discuss admissions into HYPM, the common way of referring to the top-notch schools: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and MIT.

But amongst all the chance threads is, unfortunately, a lot of drivel. Most posts are repetitive at best and do not really shed light onto the admissions process. One CC poster went so far as to say that chance threads were created by ignorant, over-achieving students and then answered by ignorant, over-achieving students. That CC poster was right in that if you don't know how to use CC correctly, then it becomes little more than a bragging ground to boost the self-esteem of certain students and lower the confidence of others. But fear not, here's how to use CC for the best:

College can be a confusing and frightening time for any high school student, regardless of academic or extracurricular achievement.
College can be a confusing and frightening time for any high school student, regardless of academic or extracurricular achievement.

1. Use CC chance threads for ideas.

This first suggestion comes with a personal anecdote attached to it. One day, I was skimming through the CC chance threads, when I happened upon one particular thread that seemed ordinary, until I reached these words: "Robotics club, president".

I was intrigued. One of my personal goals has been to independently learn basic coding. I realized that the Robotics club could be the means to achieving my goal. Admittedly, it wasn't quite the independent self-study I was dreaming of, but the club was something I did outside of school, and it did teach me basic programming skills.

Had I not ventured on CC, I would never have realized that learning code did not necessarily entail buying a huge stack of self-study books, which was my original plan of attack. This brings me to my main point: reading posts in CC can give you ideas on how to achieve your own goals or improve your own applications. Granted, there will be plenty of unachievable extracurricular boasting out there (started 3 nonprofits and 1 business that reaps $7,000 revenue annually!). Rather than become discouraged at these ideas, though, simply remember your main focus while on CC: using the posts of others to achieve your own goals. In other words, if that extracurricular doesn't align with your goals, then just discard the idea and move on.

How do you use college confidential?

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2. Use the discussion forums to talk to people you might not normally talk to.

On CC, you will be exposed to a variety of different people who may have radically different interests from you; you may be interested in a career in the humanities, while another person could be a Future Scientist of America. Though you might share completely different interests, it's not impossible to learn from each other. For example, one person might be planning to apply to University of Florida--and guess what, you were going to too! Being on the CC discussion forums actually demystifies much of the college application process because you're in touch with people who are going through exactly the same steps you are. At the very least, you'll learn to apply and improve your communication skills through a digital medium.

Create a network of CC posters.
Create a network of CC posters.

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