When talking about the competitive nature of choosing a college, what is usually discussed is how competitive it is for students. There are far more students applying for colleges than spots available at the best schools in the country, and colleges are known to build their reputation off of how many students they reject each year.
But it should be remembered that schools have to compete for your affections as well. There is north of four thousand four year and two year colleges in the United States alone. Sure, the best schools in the country are only going to accept less than ten percent of the students that apply each year, but if you can become a top student that qualifies to a lot of schools, the tables are turned. Those thousands of colleges all want great, qualified students who are going to excel in their school, and succeed after graduation. That’s how they can become or remain one of the most renowned colleges in the country.
This is important to remember because it can assure you that you are valuable. You are not putting a burden on a college when you apply there. They want you to be great and to qualify. Applying for colleges can be discouraging and emotionally challenging because you are expected to look at yourself from an outside perspective and judge how much value you offer as a student and, essentially, as a person.
Instead of getting down on yourself, remember that without you, colleges can not continue to run. And when you are looking for the college that not only you want, but wants you back, remember these do’s and don’t’ for the college selection process.
It’s likely that you have a few colleges you are inclined to check out by default. The university in the biggest city near your hometown, your parent’s alma mater, or the most popular college in your state. Obviously, there are reasons these schools are appealing, and they should be considered. But don’t limit your search either. Picking a college is an incredibly important decision for the course of your life, so weigh as many options as you can in order to find the right one.
Applying for college is too important a part of your life to wait until the last minute to do it. If you put everything you must do off, you will end up only having time to fill out a few applications to a few schools you feel like you can get into. It won’t leave you anytime to consider what is really right for you, or weigh all of your different options.
When choosing a college, don’t just think about your immediate future — think long term as well. Do you want to stay at the same school to get a master’s in your field, or go somewhere else and get a more specified degree like Villanova’s master of taxation?