It’s that time of year! The teens I’m coaching are visiting the colleges and universities that top their lists, in some cases for the second time… and they are stirred up! It’s so much fun to listen to their excitement, what they loved/liked/were less than enthused about – they talk about the…
- tour guide
- residence halls
- sports teams/events
So, here’s my thinking->Express Advice (getting to the heart of the matter FAST):
- Get a notebook/Create a file
- Choose the key elements to explore and write about for each campus-so you are comparing apples to apples
- Write down your thoughts about every school you visit-within hours of visiting, so your notes are fresh and full of detail
- Notes need to be general (what was the feel of the campus, would you be comfortable/can you see yourself there, what’s the weather like through the year, etc.)
- Notes need to be specific (what are the reputations of the departments that interest you, what did you learn about the professors/classes/students, are there enough/several great choices of majors/minors/study abroad, if you change your path?)
- What remaining questions do you have? Who can you contact with your questions, the admission office personnel, a professor, coach, student, alumni rep?
- Identify some “sounding boards,” people who will actively listen to your thinking about each of the schools, and offer their opinion only when asked. This is (in large part) your decision… no doubt your parents will weigh in with their thoughts, and that’s an opportunity to think and talk further… Remember, you are the one going to college, you need to feel the decisions are the right ones.
I won’t kid you -> Choosing where to apply to colleges is a big decision! If you’re applying Early Decision, no doubt you have a clear sense of what you want and are ready to pursue it (if not, don’t do ED). If you are choosing Early Action or regular decision… think with your head, feel with your heart, and choose the schools (likelies, possibles and reaches) that are a match for the who you are and who you want to become.