How can students make the most of their second choice?

Admissions Decisions

Our counselors answered:

How can students make the most of their second choice?

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Not getting into your first choice

Number 1, I hope you are applying to colleges you would enjoy going to. I discourage students from having a "first choice omg if I don't get in my life is over" college. There isn't just one college you would love, there are several. Honest. The more popular the college, the less control you have. Never let a college tell you what YOU are worth. Obviously your "second choice" college knows what you are worth, and they want you on their campus. Number 1 doesn't know what they are missing. Remember this: you are being judged according to criteria you would NEVER use to judge someone else, and no one will ever judge YOU again by these criteria. Immerse yourself in the joy of going to your new first choice, I am betting you will be very successful and happy there.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

have the list ready to go

I suggest you to consider your top five schools seriouly. if you have options to select the best one once acceptences are offered, you should not change your list based on the top five schools.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

How can students make the most of their second choice?

Forget that it is your second choice and dive right into the campus--academics and activities. Soon you probably will not even remember that you ever wanted to go to a different school! Always be mindful that your college experience will be what you make of it and take control of your future.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

Making the Second Choice

When deciding which schools to apply to, every single one of your choices should be an institution in which you would feel comfortable and where you feel that you would have a good experience both academically, extracurricularly, and socially. Try not to rank the schools in your mind as "first choice", "second choice", etc. (I know that's hard to avoid, but really do try very hard not to categorize them in that way!) Then when you get your acceptances and the usually inevitable denials, you will not be in a position of having to "make the most" of your second choice. You will already know that each one of the schools to which you applied could have been a "first choice" for you, and when you get actively involved with classes, activities, and friends during your Freshman year, whatever school you're in will indeed become your "first choice".

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

First Choice, Second Choice, Right Choice

The best way to make the most of the second choice is to lose the number. Regardless of a student’s interests and ambitions there is no single right school and at the highest levels the admission decision making might as well have involved a roll of the dice so to let it determine your outlook is totally unproductive. Indeed, more important than any than any label is what the individual student makes of their education. It is about an educational experience, not a line on a resume. If they go limping onto the campus of their “second” choice, then it will be a disaster, but if they embrace the opportunity and take full advantage of all the school lit has to offer then they will have a valuable and rewarding educational experience. Ultimately a student has more control over that than they did over the admissions process. Make it yours and it will be a good one.

Joseph Tavares

How can students make the most of their second choice?

It's tough when you're rejected by a college you really wanted to go. Yet, I tell students they have 24 hours to feel bad about the situation, and then they need to dust themselves and realize the opportunity to find a perfect place to continue their education still exists. In terms of a strategy, I tell students to re-evaluate why they wanted to study at that school in the first place. From there, we figure out other possible colleges and universities that have similar characters and curriculum. Remember, going to college is a commitment to self-improvement and a launch pad to future personal and professional success. Don't let a speed bump ruin your journey!

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

How can students make the most of their second choice?

While it may be your second choice, this school has chosen you. Enjoy knowing that they want you, they see you fitting in there, no one else ever needs to know it wasn't your first choice college. Chances are good that over the next four years, you won't be able to even imagine graduating from anywhere else! Get involved, make stuff happen that you saw and liked on that first choice campus, and remember that you put this school on your list for some reason. Embrace the here and now and you won't be sorry.

Eric Beers, Ph.D.
College and Career Counselor Air Academy High School

How can students make the most of their second choice?

I believe that things work out for a reason. So if things didn't work out at your first choice school, I would take that as a sign that you weren't supposed to be there. If it was too hard and you failed your classes (or got D's), that wouldn't do your future any good anyway. There is a reason why you were supposed to go to your second place school! You might not know for 10 years after what that is....maybe a spouse, business partner, best friend, or contact you made with a professor....but there is a reason why you are supposed to got to the school you got into!

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

How can students make the most of their second choice?

You'll have no choice, so you better just consider it your 1st choice!

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

How can students make the most of their second choice?

Why was it your second choice in the first place? Don't forget that you liked this school enough to rank it this high and therefore, you should not be dismayed about the situation at hand. Colleges can be quite selective and remember that there are many more in the same boat as you. Be happy about your situation and make the most out of the school you will attend.