High school Juniors, have you listened to our podcasts focused on you? We have broadcast three prior shows as part of our Junior Series. The previous show has discussed campus visits, the SAT, ACT, and AP. A third show delved more into the SAT Math section since that part of the SAT often gives students a lot of grief!
In today’s show topic, we discussed another aspect of the college admissions process that is top of mind for many high school students and juniors especially. Whether you have done campus visits, taken the SAT, or asked your recommenders, the more critical question will be . . . “How do I choose the right colleges for me?” I use the term colleges as plural, instead of college singular, because I want to dispel the myth that there is only one college for a student.
There are about 3,800 colleges and universities in the US and several could be a fit for you in different ways. For example, a campus may have appeal because it’s near your favorite city or perhaps another college has a professor who is focusing on your area of interest. They can both be great colleges that match you academically, socio-emotionally, and financially. As students consider all the various options available, there are steps that students can follow to determine which colleges could be right for them to apply.
The other data point or research that I want to insert here is that studies have found that the breakdown in college graduation happens in the application process. Did you know this? So it behooves students and families to think through this process of choosing the right colleges in an informed and strategic way. Although there are many parents who are supporting their student with college selection, I can’t stress enough that the “You” in this case, refers to the student. Parents may mean well but it really does a disservice to the student if the parents choose where the students apply! Strongly suggesting that a student applies to college because the parent is an alum is risky and likely to backfire. The parents can help but they must be careful about not doing and actually choosing the colleges where their son or daughter will apply. I do realize the parents are footing the bill but this process of choosing the right colleges that will be a fit starts with the student.
In this show, Marty O’Connell, Executive Director of Colleges that Change Lives shares some great steps that students should take towards finding those great matches. Prior to CTCL, Marty served in college admissions for twenty-eight years, most recently as vice president for enrollment and dean of admission at McDaniel College (Westminster, Md.), Now she has devoted herself to the Colleges That Change Lives mission: helping students and families better understand the college admissions process to find the best college fit possible.
As we warmly welcomed Marty to our shows, we also want to invite YOU to download the podcast and hear what Marty suggested. The steps we discussed may change the way you’re thinking of approaching this critical component of the college admissions process.
How to Decide Which Colleges