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?

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.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

How can students make the most of their second choice?

Think about why your chose that school in the first place! Sure -- you are probably disappointed if you cannot attend your first choice -- but you need to move on and think about the options that you DO have. Remember, when compiling a list -- choose carefully and ask yourself, "would I happy to attend any of these schools if admitted?" Ultimately, it's not about the specific school or brand name that makes an education. It's the student! It's the student who can make the most (or the least) of an experience. If you tackle the opportunities that you have with diligence. vigor, and hard work -- you will succeed in whatever you choose. It's YOU that will make the difference - not your specific choice of school. Make the most of your individual talents and you will definitely make the most of whichever school you attend!

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.

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!

Megan Dorsey
SAT Prep & College Advisor College Prep LLC

How can students make the most of their second choice?

The best way is to remain somewhat detached until you receive notification of admission. But that rarely happens. I know it is difficult to let go of a dream school, but when students fall head-over-heals from their top choice, they will suffer heartbreak when rejected. It’s disappointing. How would you advise a friend to move on and get over a boyfriend or girlfriend who dumped them? Looking at your second choice school isn’t all that different. You need to let go of the rejection and begin looking for the positive factors in this new opportunity.

Jessica Brondo
Founder and CEO The Edge in College Prep

How can students make the most of their second choice?

- Start a spreadsheet! Keeping track of your expenses by keeping receipts and entering them into a spreadsheet will give you an idea of how much you are spending. You can divide it into what type of expenses too, so if you need to cut back you can see where you are spending the most money. - Get a mobile banking app. Nowadays, almost all banks have smartphone apps. If you have your own bank account and a smartphone, download your bank's app. It will give you quick access to your balance. Make sure you check it regularly, and you will see how you are doing moneywise. - Sometimes using cash is better. Instead of using your debit card for expenses, try only using it to withdraw cash and pay for everything that way. It will mean that you are dealing with a smaller amount of money at a time so you can see how quickly you spend it. It also makes money more real to you- by spending cash you can see exactly what you spend and it's not as emotionless as swiping a piece of plastic and getting whatever you want. Make sure you keep your receipts, though if you still want to maintain a spreadsheet!