As an educational consultant focusing on helping students prepare for and apply to leading US universities, I am routinely asked about which high school academic curriculum their children should enroll in, whether they should take the ACT or the SAT, and how they can make the most of their summer experiences.
While many parents focus on helping their children succeed and ‘get ahead’ of their peers, they often overlook one of the most important questions—how can we prepare our children to fail?
The anticipation of failure—and the ability to overcome it effectively—is not only a necessary part of undergoing the university admissions process but also critical to the personal development of young people.
For many UAE students, getting rejected by their dream university will be the first time they encounter failure.
Many will measure their self-worth by whether or not their top choice university decides to welcome them into their incoming freshman class and, for quite a few, this will be the first time their ego takes a blow.
Much has been written about millennials’ sense of entitlement, which can manifest itself in its most extreme forms during the perceived arms race of US university admissions.
While all parents undoubtedly want the best for their children, they must create the proper infrastructure for them to succeed.
In addition to ensuring that students pursue their extracurricular passions and study well for exams, we must teach them that success can only be achieved through failure; it’s simply part of the process.
High school students that do not secure acceptance to their top choice universities can always reapply as transfer or graduate students.
More importantly, however, they should focus on researching and applying to a set of universities based on qualitative factors and the philosophy of ‘fit.’
No matter how talented and qualified students are, they are likely to face rejection on some level—this is something not only to be expected but embraced.