How are you making decisions about which colleges might be the right fit for you? It’s my fervent hope that this IS NOT the path you’re following…
The Mad Libs Approach to the College Search
You are choosing colleges to consider based primarily on (name a person)’s experiences or opinions (i.e., your parents, relatives, friends, guidance counselor, boy/girlfriend).
The glossy brochures and awesome website from (name a school) have caught your eye, and appearance is everything.
The tour guide at (name a college) was so cool that you know you want to go to that college.
The look and feel of the campus at (name a university) is just what you dreamed college would be like so you know the departments, classes, professors, and students will be a good match, too.
You are (name a specialty—an athlete, an artist, a thespian) and you love the (coach, team, department) and it’s the only reason that really matters to go to that school.
Your high school is (small, medium, large) and so you want your college experience to be (choose one: completely different or exactly the same).
You are (chose one: really close to your family or can’t wait to leave home) and so (chose one: you want to stay near home or get as far away as possible).
Being able to (chose the appropriate situations: bring a car to campus, ski/surf on weekends, travel to a big city nearby) is critical to your happiness and so you are going to look only at (name those schools) to enable you to be happy about that one aspect of your life.
The antidote to these crazy ways to selecting colleges
Make the time to explore all the possibilities before closing off any. Think through your
- academic and social needs
- proximity to home
- dreams of what you want college to be for you
- hopes about what you want your life beyond college to be.
Make the time/space in your busy schedule to devote a few hours to getting clear about who you are and your ideas about who you want to become, then move forward with researching colleges that are the best matches for you.
“To make your dreams come true you have to wake up.”
Be sure that you are approaching your college search with eyes wide open.