Narrowing Down Your College List
A couple weeks ago I was touring several colleges in Ohio with a group of high school counselors and college consultants like myself. We traveled from Cleveland to Columbus visiting John Carroll, Kent State, Ohio State, Otterbein, Ohio University, Marietta and Baldwin Wallace. I also took a quick side trip to Case Western Reserve before flying home.
Ohio has some amazing schools and while most students here in New England focus on the East Coast, there are some incredible values just several hours away in the Buckeye State. Seeing them up close and personal allows me to advise and challenge my students with a more informed and personal opinion.
While I was on the trip, I was talking with some of the other counselors about college lists and how students conduct their research (or don’t) to narrow down their list to the schools which fit them well. In my opinion, a college should fit you three ways: academically, socially and financially. While there is no one perfect fit, striving to find this balance in your colleges helps ensure a student’s experience will be one that helps them develop as both a student and person without having to graduate with excessive student loan debt. There’s a lot of reasons why only half of students graduate in four years if they graduate at all. There’s just as many reasons why the average student graduates with nearly $30,000 in student loan debt.
One of the common denominators for both is lack of research.
Each counselor I talked to agreed that the process is tedious, but so necessary and that students need to do a better job with it. And when you consider the amount of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears that will go into applications, essays, supplements, interviews, auditions, portfolios, showcases, SAT, ACT and AP tests not to mention just doing well in your classes, why wouldn’t you make sure that the schools you apply to are good fits for you?
Why wouldn’t you make sure that each school is one that gets you excited? Where your major is strong and where the support you may need along the way is available? Where faculty help students gain experience in their field so that when they graduate, they have value to offer a business, organization or facility who’s looking to hire? Where the cost is something you and your parents can handle without having to lose sleep at night?
If you’re not doing these things, then you’re doing something wrong. The Common App will launch on August 1st and, with it, the frenzy of the college application season will be underway.
Wouldn’t you like to hit senior year and your college applications feeling confident about your options?
If you want some help and guidance on your college search and application process, contact me today to set up an appointment for a free consultation. If you want to hear more about any of the schools on my travels, I’d be happy to talk to you about them as well.