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College Talk Blog

College Choice

Reading and College Plans

Sometimes a student demonstrates a disconnect between what he does  (or does not do) and where he says he wants to attend college. When that happens, have a conversation with him about the divide to see whether what he does (or does not do) needs to change or whether college plans need to be adjusted.

My favorite example is the student who designs a college list of the most challenging colleges for both admission and rigor of academic program and says "I don't like to read." The disconnect is that the student is setting a goal to get into the most academically challenging colleges while confessing that he does not enjoy using the most basic skill that it will take to succeed at those colleges.

The Right College

What is the right college for me?

This is NOT the question most students ask. Instead they ask how do I get in to a particular college? The particular college is often a highly-selective popular school. By and large, students are not looking for the best college for themselves. Rather, they are looking for the validation of acceptance from a prestigous institution. They are thinking about a destination rather than what is best for them.

Parents are often more interested in the best college for the student for many very good reasons.

Ready to leave the nest? Well, sort of

I've noticed a pattern with a significant number of teens with whom I work. The college consideration process starts with the consideration of colleges that are all over the place. As application time draws nearer, the list evolves to closer to home colleges. This is not a cost phenomenon. Many out of state colleges offer lower prices and tuition discounts so it's not about money.

Talking with teens about their evolving college plans, I often hear them say they want to be somewhat close to home and family. It seems that parents aren't the only ones dreading teens leaving home. Teens can be apprehensive about the idea as well.

Leave High School Behind

One of the reasons cited by students regarding why they do NOT want to apply to a specific college is "too many people from my school apply there". While choosing colleges less likely to be chosen by your friends is a good strategy, you should not rule out a popular college if that college is a great match for you because:
  • you are not likely to see very much of your old high school friends at college unless it is a really small school
  • college is an educational do-over, so what happened in high school is no longer relevant

What if they choose the wrong college?

High school seniors worry about college choice as their choice of a college is something they cannot change...ever. 

The truth is that a little over a third of college students transfer at some point in their college years.

Lighten up seniors! You've got choices. And if your choice does not work out, no worries, you can transfer.