It is important for students and parents to keep college admissions into perspective. And I know of no better perspective than that of New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. One of his previous articles, "How To Survive The College Admissions Madness," offered a handful of anecdotes and insights. A fuller, and highly recommended, treatment of the topic can be found in his bestselling book, Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be. A good place to start is the authors's personal website, which features a summary of his argument:
Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. That belief is wrong. It's cruel. And in WHERE YOU GO IS NOT WHO YOU'LL BE, Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes.
Here is a link to a YouTube video of Frank Bruni discussing college admissions.