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College Talk Blog

Choosing the best college for you

The Competitiveness Incline

As a college consultant for over a decade, I have been waiting for the promised decline in admission competitiveness due to predicted changes in population patterns. Specifically, the prediction was that admission will become less challenging at more competitive colleges when the predicted decline in teenaged population occurs.

What researchers did not take into account is the college-going rate increase. Once upon a time, a minority of students went to college while most others took other opportunities.

Turtle Syndrome

Don't look now but your senior could be growing an outer shell. It is not unusual for high school seniors to avoid working on college planning and applications much like a frightened turtle withdraws into its shell. 

Seniors can panic when they see college coming at them. Some of them tell me it seems to soon to be working on applications. Others say, they just can't get started. While students make those statements, their dads sometimes say: "Hey, it's just an application, what's the big deal?

Prestige Kills

There are over 5,000 colleges in the United States.  Like other products on the market, consumers are most familiar with the most pricey or otherwise notable institutions. I like to call them the shiney colleges because they distract families from considering other amazing options.

Families who push their children toward the most difficult colleges to enter sometimes kill something precious; the input of their teen. It is easy to get caught up in the prestige of a college as a student and as a parent.

What size college does your kid wear?

Working with a wide variety of types of students, I've noticed that each student seems to have a college size that fits best. Some are comfortable and energized at large universities while others feel lonely and invisible in a large school. Other students are more comfortable and academically successful at moderate or small-size colleges where everyone knows everyone on campus and classes are small enough to get to know instructors. By size, I am not referring to acreage but rather the size of the student body.

Pulling all the pieces together

Getting into college is sort of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, except that not all the pieces are in the box. Students and their families are expected to find them. And to make matters more interesting, students and parents hear great advice from people who have gone through the process, myths about processes and programs from people who know what used to be true and sometimes they just wonder what they don't know that they need to know to make the right choice.

The best way to approach the college process is to write down goals before beginning the process.