Choosing the College For You

Tran After months of waiting and waiting for a response from colleges, you couldn’t wait for this month to arrive when the admissions decisions come out.  But now you realize that you have another daunting task ahead of you.  The tables have now turned and you’re the ones making the admissions decision and determining who will get in, if you will (hopefully this means a bit more sympathy for us and the hard decisions we’ve had to make).

Some of you will know immediately where you’ll go.  Others of you may at least know where you will not go.  But many of you, I’m guessing, are completely overwhelmed with the decision ahead.  I mean this is where you’ll be spending the next four years of your life, and sure, transferring is always an option but who wants to go through the admissions cycle again?  If you thought it was hard this time around, believe me when I tell you that it’s even harder the second time around, i.e. fewer spaces available, even less money for financial aid, etc.  So this is it.

Though it is somewhat a huge commitment you’re making, it’s not as scary as it seems.  Let me try to put some perspective on it.  I equate this decision to marriage.  We all have our vision of what the ideal partner is but all know in the back of our minds, that we all seldom end up with someone who matches every criteria on that list of credentials that we want.  Marriage isn’t about finding a perfect match (even those who say they have the perfect partner will admit that there are less than perfect days).  Likewise, finding the college for you isn’t about finding the perfect fit but about finding the best fit.  You can’t have it all unfortunately so it’s about figuring out what matters most to you, what you absolutely can’t do without.  So for example, if size is the most important thing to you, then narrow down your school options by that.  If location is the most important criteria for you, then narrow down the list that way and so forth.  Prioritize your criteria and start narrowing down your options in rounds.  So if size is the most important thing, cross off schools that don’t fit the bill in the first round.  If location is the next most important thing, then cross off other schools that don’t fit the bill.  Hopefully that’ll give you a smaller list of schools for you to take a closer look into and decide.

But remember that at the end of the day, you’ll be happy and successful wherever you go.  It’s all a matter of what you do while you’re there.  People who go to highly selective schools don’t automatically end up being successful.  They have to work hard to become successful.  Likewise, students who attend less selective schools don’t end up less successful either.  So don’t let that be a deciding factor for you.  Happy deciding and good luck!

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment

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