Choosing the right schools is the most important and the most difficult part of the college admission process. Having the right mix of schools can really make a difference in your acceptance rate. College is expensive, so before you commit yourself and your wallet to a school, take a look at the following most common mistakes to avoid when choosing a school:
Selecting a school based solely on a subjective publication. This would include any magazine, book, newspaper, flyer, or any other written group of words that ranks a school in some way. Do you really want to spend thousands of dollars and years of your life in a school simply because someone else ranked it?
Selecting a school because a friend is going there. Your friends will change, even if you don’t think they will. More importantly, you are not your friend, so chances are the school he or she hopes to attend was selected for different reasons than yours. Also keep in mind your future goals as they might be vastly different than your friends – you need to attend schools that will help you pursue your own dreams.
Selecting a school for prestige. While it is true that a degree from Harvard or Yale is impressive, it does NOT guarantee you a job – just ask any employer. A degree from a top tier school might get you an interview, but the ultimate test of whether or not you will get hired one day in a career that you love will depend upon how well you communicate, what you are capable of contributing, and a host of other attributes that can be honed by colleges that are a fraction of the competitiveness of top tier schools.
Allowing someone else to select a college for you. A high school counselor is supposed to help you figure out the best college for you, not select it for you. The same goes for anyone else who wants to help you – private counselors, parents, relatives, or friends. Advice is helpful, but as a decision that affects your life, you are responsible for researching your options and deciding where you’re going.
Selecting a major for the wrong reason. Trying to get into a college by choosing a “safe” major is a bad strategy as well as choosing a major in which you have no interest simply because you think it will make you a lot of money or because it is the latest craze. College is about discovering who you are and who you hope to become.
Selecting the right schools is the key to having a successful college career. Many factors apply when selecting the right schools, so make sure you do your research!