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Academic Tip of the Month – College Admissions

College Admissions is NOT like how it is in the movies.

5 thoughts as I watched “To All the Boys, Always & Forever”

If you’re like me, you have probably taken in your fill of Netflix during this pandemic. I will shamelessly admit, one of my favorite movies to watch has been the “To All The Boys” series of movies on Netflix. Of course, I love seeing an Asian-American actress in the lead role (something I rarely saw growing up) and second, I have always been a sucker for a sweet, funny coming of age high school movie.

In this third chapter of this movie series, the main character is in her senior year which has a large focus on whether or not she will be admitted to her top choice school, Stanford University. I couldn’t help myself; from start to finish, I COULD NOT stop myself from being utterly annoyed at all of the inaccuracies of the college process in this movie, so, without further ado, here are a few thoughts I had:

  • Peter Kavinsky (the titular love interest of Lara Condor’s character, Lara Jean Covey) has been admitted/recruited to play for Stanford University’s men’s lacrosse team creating the main problem (will Lara Jean get in or not to join him at Stanford?). The problem? Stanford doesn't have an NCAA Men’s Lacrosse team! (They have a men’s club team). They would not have been able to recruit him or help him get accepted early (as it is presented in the movie). ARGH #1

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  • Lara Jean is accepted to her “safety” schools, Cal Berkeley and NYU. She proceeds to Google Map the distance from Berkeley to Stanford and claims that they can see each other all the time because those two campuses are only “an hour away.” Clearly she has not driven in Bay Area traffic because there is no way you would count on being just an hour’s drive away. ARGH #2

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  • Part II of the “safety school” comment - Cal Berkeley and NYU should NEVER be anyone’s “safe” school! Both schools are exceptionally selective and I was bummed that this couldn’t have been more realistic and had her have some actual “safe” schools on her list (acceptance rates over 50%) and still be happy about it. The fact that she has to “convince” herself to be excited about either campus is absurd. ARGH #3

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  • On their school trip to New York, somehow Lara Jean and her friends are invited to a NYU party by a student tour guide. I don’t know about you, but my red flags went up right away. If you were at a college party on a rooftop deck, wouldn’t you notice the random 3 high schools kids lurking around? Also, the conversations about NYU are almost solely focused on the city and almost nothing about the amazing English Literature program that LJ supposedly is aiming to major in. ARGH #4

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  • This last part, which I think the movie actually did do quite well, even if it did create my last ARGH moment. There’s the scene where LJ is waiting to find out about Stanford. She is picturing all of the Instagram worthy videos she has seen of other students getting into their “dream college”, screaming and jumping for joy and she wants nothing more than that moment. When she doesn’t get in, she is depressed and deflated. All of her hard work - “for nothing.” This scene is gut-wrenching because I KNOW that is how many students view this process - that it all boils down to that moment. However, the college process cannot be like this. It must be a process and a path. Not just the end result.

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Bottom line, the college process is NOTHING as it is presented by Hollywood. Now, if you want some REAL Netflix-binge worthy Netflix content, check out the recent documentary on the Varsity Blues Scandal.

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