Sometimes First Isn’t Best, Explore All Your Options!


Sometimes First Isn’t Best, Explore All Your Options!,  Lynda McGee Choosing a college is a process, and the narrowing down process can be agonizing. Finally you feel like you’ve chosen “the one”; the school that will make all your dreams come true. And what happens? You are rejected, or the financial aid award is so inadequate that this match cannot be made. This happens more often than not, especially when students are creating potential school lists on their own. Instead of finding several schools where you would be pleased to attend, you have put all your hopes and dreams into that one  school.  Sometimes, however, your first choice isn’t best. With over 3,000 colleges in this country, no matter how specific your wish list, you can find at least 6 or 7 schools where you can be very happy. It is important to figure out what is most important to you, and the answer may surprise you. I have found when working with students that many like the idea of a big school, where they think they will have more choices and options, along with a vibrant social life surrounded by thousands of their peers. But many times these students are also stating that they would like to know their professors well, and have small classes where they are free to ask questions during lecture.  This is not often possible in a large university.  These are the sort of “fit” questions that can be answered by visiting not only the campuses, but also the classrooms. Try the school on for size, and see what really works for you versus what you think you want. Most schools would be happy to host a prospective student to come and look them over. So when you are creating that list, think of all the things that will make you happy, and don’t omit schools that can fit at least most of your wish list. When those acceptances roll in, visit each school with an open mind. You may find that the school you considered just a safety is really the best choice after all.
 Lynda McGee has been a counselor since 2000 in a public magnet school, but has also been working independently with students who attend other schools for many years. She truly enjoys helping students make the right match, especially if it’s with a college they may never have heard of, but is perfect for them.  Lynda McGee on Unigo

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