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Buying a college education-because that’s what you are doing, purchasing what the college has to offer-is like buying clothes, a song on itunes, or a book on Amazon.com.  You know great stores and designers, musicians and authors you love-over the years you have figured out what’s right for you.

Now, the question is, which colleges are right for  you?  It’s your job to discover which environments will provide you with the best education and social life… because if you don’t do your homework and find the right matches, the colleges will do that work for you by rejecting your application.  That’s a scenario to be avoided for a few reasons:  because it will upset you, and you will realize that  your effort was a waste of time and money.

Going to college is not about making a vanity choice.  It’s a huge investment, and the colleges you choose need to be places where you feel both comfortable and challenged.  Maybe your list of colleges will include an Ivy or a Big 10 school or maybe schools that are not on everyone’s lips… I’d suggest looking at a wide variety of possibilities.  It is your work to uncover the answer because it’s your future.

Information you need to know in today’s NY TimesFull Disclosure for Student Borrowers

 

Here’s a list of questions I have been answering for the past few days…Those very questions you don’t know to ask when you are beginning you college search…

About the college search

  • How can I get my college search and selection done faster and better – and have some fun?
  • Does my guidance counselor really know me and have the time to work with me effectively?
  • When should I start really looking at colleges?
  • What are the parts of the search and selection process?
  • How important is it to plan?  Do I really need to treat this like a long term project, can’t I just complete the paperwork (that the guidance counselor gives me)?

About the right matches for you

  • What do I need to know best?
  • How do I learn best?
  • What type of programming/curriculum do different colleges offer?
  • Which scholarships are a good match for me?

About using resources during your search (people, websites, books)

  • Who should I be connecting with throughout this journey?
  • How much should I listen to others?
  • Should I listen to the media?
  • What’s the difference between a guidance counselor, a college advisor, and a coach?

About the admissions process

  • How can I guard against making bad choices?
  • Why can’t I wait until I am accepted to visit colleges?
  • I was wondering if interviewing really makes a difference to my application
  • What do I do if I’m rejected from everywhere I’ve applied?
  •  If I’m a good writer, won’t just one draft and a revision be sufficient for a great essay?
  • Do I need to prepare any information for the teachers that I am going to ask for letters of recommendation?

About your last year at home and thinking ahead to college

  • How do I want to spend my senior year in high school?  What can I do to make sure that happens?
  • How do I manage myself/time at college – workload, time management, social life, etc.?
 I’ll be sharing answers over the next few weeks.  If you have a question you want answered, write to me!

 

It’s an exciting-and anxiety provoking-time for many seniors.  Making that final choice about where to go to college is often exhilarating and torturous… It’s so much fun to imagine the future and yet making that final decision is often fraught with nerves and second guesses.

Take heart!  Between your work to discover the colleges that are the right fit for you, and the admissions office staffs’ work to do exactly the same-find students who are the right match for what they have to offer-you’re on solid ground!  I would venture to say that if you are choosing between two or three finalists-in the contest of which lucky school gets to be your home for the next four years-you are probably a match for all of them!

My advice:  Choose with your head and your heart.  Pick the place that feels both comfortable and a stretch-you can see yourself there and you know that you will be challenged.

 

 

Good luck!

 
 
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