We’ve all got those words, phrases, and sentences that we use all the time. I over-use the word “apparently,” and some quick searches through this blog make me realize I apparently also over-use the phrase “all the time.” But behind the words and sentences that we repeat often are the ideas and worldviews that drive us. So this week I thought I’d explain the thoughts and motives behind some of the sentences I use most in my job as someone who writes about college admissions and advises students on their own admissions paths.
You may have already made that decision a while ago. If so, congratulations! But if you're still struggling to choose between two schools, or three schools, or seven schools or however many, then you may be looking for some help.
At this point, I'm assuming that money probably isn't the issue. If you're stuck choosing between a school you can afford and a school you can’t afford, then you're not really struggling to decide...you're just procrastinating. I'm also guessing that if you're still struggling to decide, then a simple "make a list of pros and cons for each school" is something you've already thought of and found unhelpful. Still, if you haven't checked a school's vital stats lately--graduation rate, rate of sophomore return, student-faculty ratio--then go back and look those over.
I'm assuming by this point you've already checked all the major information you might want to know about the schools you're considering, things like "can I afford it?", "what's the graduation rate?", and "what's the student-faculty ratio?". You may also be going back for on-campus visits at some of the schools who have accepted you.
I'd like to throw out a few other things you should research before choosing a school. I seriously doubt any of these factors are going to be The Deciding Factor. However, if you end up just "going with your gut feeling" on April 30, these are some things that may end up affecting your gut feeling.
The odds are pretty good you're going to your "safety" school, and the odds are very high you're not going to your "dream" school. That's very normal; it has a lot more to do with the economics and logistics of admissions than you as a person. Just ask yourself how many times you've heard "my problems all began when I graduated from a university that wasn't my dream school." You're going to be fine.
The deadline for most seniors to accept or decline most admissions offers is coming up soon--May 1. You may have already made that decision a while ago. If so, congratulations! (And thanks for continuing to read my blog!) But if you're still struggling to choose between two schools, or three schools, or seven schools or however many, then you may be looking for some help.
Here are some more exercises to help you make that final decision, ordered from most serious to most arbitrary.
I have students ask me--though maybe in not these exact words--how to go to the right for school for "that competitive edge in the marketplace" if you are really sure of your intended major and career and you're not one of those less-driven, wishy-washy people who will change their mind.
Fine, let's talk about that.