Tick...Tock...Picking the right school for you

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Discus: College Search and Selection: May 2003 Archive: Tick...Tock...Picking the right school for you
By Troy (Troy) on Monday, April 28, 2003 - 09:18 pm: Edit

Since the days are ticking and people are deciding on colleges, I've decided to pass on the things I've learned through the whole college decision process...hopefully others can add on what they've learned from the process as well.

Well...let the ranting begin:

Picking a college is always a tough decision...
it's usually never easy and always agonizing. I've seen many people literally curl up into a ball and not leave their rooms during this time of year...

Most focus on the rejection letters...which IMO makes no sense at all..."Does an acceptance validate your existence"...obviously not so I always say, learn, move on, and roll with the punches...

Many are torn on where to go. So many options and only one choice. People always ask, "where should I go?" Then they usually get responses like: "go here for the prestige/location/size/this cool rock/etc." If you don't already know, many of the opinions you'll get will either be stuff you already know or biased 'eye of the beholder' proclamations.

In the end it's still your decision and you have to live with it.

With this in mind, here's what I suggest you do when picking a college:

It's time to prioritize your young life and be honest with yourself. What's important to you? What scares you about making a choice and what can you do about it? What brings out your passions/fire? What do you hope to accomplish in four years? Where do you see yourself in 20 years? What school just feels 'right'?

As scary as it sounds, your decision in the next few days will affect the rest of your life...the college you pick will potentially determine many of your life long friends, play a strong role in your personal development, influence the way you see the world, what path you take in life, and quite possibly who you marry.

That's why you need to be brutally honest with yourself. Are you afraid of going away? Are you determined to live 'the college life', being experimental and all? Is a significant other the only reason for picking a school? Is your school choice for you or are you symoblically giving your parents the finger? What is 'it' that makes you want to choose one school over another, and what does that decision say about you?

Some people prefer comfort and only choose schools that fit their personality and conform to their views (this is a safe choice but I feel is narrow-minded and takes away a dynamic element of the college experience). Others want to be 'shocked' or 'changed' so they go to distant big universities where no one knows them and they can start over. A few pick schools for specific programs/intangibles to continue their passions in life (whether it be film, sports, girls or physics). Others are prestige addicts and want to proudly wear their college sweaters for all to envy. Unfortunately, others are forcibly enrolled to specific schools by their parents. Some pick schools for the homely, personalized feel. And most pick colleges based on a combination reasons I mentioned above.

Whatever your reasons may be for picking a college, as long as you're honest with yourself and know your priorities...you'll eventually find your way and be that much more confident with your decisions.

And if you still don't know what school to pick after prioritizing your life...flip a coin. It makes for a great story and you can always say 'maybe it was meant to be this way'...who knows?

By Bjturlington (Bjturlington) on Monday, April 28, 2003 - 10:47 pm: Edit

Well done Troy...Definate props for that explaination. :)

Too many people get caught up in it. Thank God it's almost over.


By Troy (Troy) on Tuesday, April 29, 2003 - 06:33 pm: Edit

bump...cuz it's good for you

By Cbm (Cbm) on Tuesday, April 29, 2003 - 07:39 pm: Edit

It really is good.

My son STILL is undecided. We have tried to coin toss, but he still can't commit!

By Troy (Troy) on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 12:44 pm: Edit

It's understandable to have 'cold feet' when it comes to making a life changing decision...especially when it's your first time making a major decision. Let me know where he finally decides to go. good luck

By Cbm (Cbm) on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 08:44 am: Edit

Thanks, Troy. He has decided to go to USC, unless he changes his mind this morning! He was waitlisted at a couple of schools. I hope we won't go through this again in another month.

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