The other day, Lynn Field wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post that had a really great message. She talked about the irony of December holiday celebrations while, at the same time, high school seniors are being subjected to incredible amounts of stress and anxiety due to an increasingly complex and competitive college admissions process. She closed out her article saying, “As educators, parents, psychologists and counselors, we need to encourage teenagers to do their best for themselves — and often this can mean setting their sights on a good-enough school. The fact of the matter is, no matter what school you attend, you can get the education you desire.”
It is this message that I hope a lot of you will take to heart. A great college education is so much more about what you put into it, than it is about where you got to school. If you are fortunate enough to get into a highly selective school, then good for you! I hope you will make the most of the opportunity by networking with faculty, staff and other students. I hope you will work hard in your courses and challenge yourself to be excellent at what you do. I hope you will complete an internship or a co-op, study abroad, volunteer your time or get involved in a club or organization that it is tied to your passions. At the same time, if you go to your state’s flagship public institution, a regional state university or even the local community college, I hope you will still do the same things.
You see, it’s about the collective experiences you have during your time in college. If you choose to just go through the motions and “receive” your education, your experience will leave a lot to be desired. However, if you really buy into the opportunities around you, engage with the people you meet and go and “earn” your education, you will be so much better for it.
As you continue to work through the college admissions process, do your best and forget the rest. Find the school that is the right fit for you and invest 100% of yourself into the experience.
I invite you to post any comments or questions below. You can also email me directly at email@example.com.
Eric Dobler is the president and founder of Dobler College Consulting. Follow him on Twitter.