Pay more attention to safety schools

Things I say all the time

Things I say all the time

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.

The college you're going to has what you want

The college you're going to has what you want

Everything may have gone exactly as you hoped, and you’re getting ready to go to your dream school. If so, congratulations! But there’s a really good chance it didn’t work that way, and you’re not going to a 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. If you find an unhappy or unproductive adult and ask them what caused their problems, I guarantee they won’t say “I didn’t get into Stanford and my life has been miserable since that day. I only got a normal college degree, and my life is a waste.” It just doesn’t work that way. You’re going to be fine.

Where you're going has what you want

Where you're going has what you want

The odds are high that you're going to a "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 some sad person say "my problems all began when I graduated from a university that wasn't my dream school." You're going to be fine.

But there's a way to make sure you're going to be better than fine, but great. And that's to remind yourself that whatever it is you were looking for is available where you're going.

When you strip away the names and specifics but instead focus on the qualities that you were looking for, you can almost certainly find those qualities at the school you're going to attend.