Im so sick of college elitism like “oh upenn is not that hard to get into unless u apply to wharton”, “oh she got into cornell ED? Thats no big deal, ED for ivies are easy they take in so many ppl” “u shouldn’t be too worried of UC Berkeley, it should just be your safety considering ur applying to Stanford”
I think some people can’t tell the difference between the acceptance rates, the ranking, and the quality of teaching in the schools? How can u make it seem like someone who got into cornell, upenn, or berkeley worths less than someone who got into harvard, stanford, or princeton? After all these are just brand names and ranking is extremely subjective? Plus dont people who got into cornell, penn, or berkeley has to work their butts off as well as those who got into harvard or stanford? Just bc a school is harder to get in, doesnt mean it’s better at teaching than another one, doesnt mean u’ll be happier at that school than the other one. U getting into that school doesn’t make u smarter or a better person than anyone who got into a lower school. If u live off acceptance rate numbers, college ranking, and standardized test score percentiles, u seem more like an achieving robot than a human. A school is just a school. Its brick buildings, its nobel prize winning board, and its brand name doesnt make the school great. It is the students, the professors, the parents, who invest into the school and build it up. In other words, its u who give the school the spirit. So why do u take that spirit off and let bricks and stones define the schools?
“You just won’t get the same experience if you go there.”
Those were the words of the admissions counselor at my dream school when I called her a year ago to ask if there was any way to reduce the cost to be at least a little closer to the offer I received from another school (the one I go to now). She said she would see what she could do, because they really wanted me to be at their school (spoiler alert: she didn’t do anything). And then that’s when she dropped that line.
Now, consider this. I was a 17 year old high school senior in the middle of the most stressful moment of decision-making I had experienced in my short life. Deciding on a college is a huge life-changing decision to make, and this comment was just so… out of line. I distinctly remember getting really choked up and holding back tears until I could end the phone call. In that moment, with no distance, time, or mature perspective on the situation, it felt like my life was ending. Like, it literally felt like the life I had planned for myself just ceased to exist.
I was a wreck that week. But I also started to become a more mature person. After many serious discussions with my parents, and a lot of soul-searching (ahem, crying), we came to the conclusion that it was overwhelmingly more beneficial for me to attend the other school. And after a week of reflection… I was okay with it? Once the other shoe dropped, it gave me time to let the fog of the idea that my “dream school” was the only place I could succeed fade away. I was still disappointed, but felt very sure when I made my deposit, and sent in the letter saying I would not be attending my dream school.
So now to the point I want to share with you. Your success does not ride upon the sole factor of you attending your dream school. Whether you are turned down or are financially unable to attend, it doesn’t matter. There are so many different paths to take in life. The notion of needing to attend your “dream school” or the school that is “perfect for you” to be successful is simply false. Humans beings are wonderful at adapting to situations- it’s possibly our best skill.
An an important point to note is that I know it doesn’t help that you are seeing people from your high school posting on facebook about committing to their dream schools. And the fact that every peer and adult uses college decisions as a main talking point for those months of your life. But never let those be influences in your decision. I promise you those things will pass. Completely. Don’t let jealousy or embarrassment hinder you in making a decision. When I was making a decision, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that the kids in one of my classes had been trash talking this school for months. What was I going to say to them? Turns out nothing. No one really cares, and if they do they’ll keep it to themselves. It isn’t their life. Also, the truth is that you’ll probably all blissfully forget about each other in a couple months anyway.
Attend a school that fits your financial situation. If a school is “perfect for you” except for the price… it isn’t perfect to you. (this also applies to location) Even to those with a good concept of money, loans can seem like free money. Even if you understand that you have to pay them off later. But is that really the position you want to put yourself in? Personally, the two schools I was debating between had a $100k different in total cost (including my scholarships). ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. That’s… more money than I will make for many many MANY years of my life. Considering the facts of what I was majoring in (art), and that I knew I wanted to go to grad school (also for art), this was more than enough to convince me, honestly. The idea of my parents and I paying/taking out loans to pay THAT MUCH MORE for a comparable education was… ridiculous.
But, I was… In love. I had attended a precollege program at my dream school, and it was one of the most influential months of my entire life. That was were I met my best friend, fell in love with being in the studio, and came into myself as an artist. I romanticized the idea of this art school and this place so much that I didn’t even realize, crazily enough, art school is kind of a universal concept (this is actually crazy to me in the most wonderful way- art school is a cool phenomenon). I was dead set on going there, and I had this feeling deep in my heart that it was the only place I would become a successful artist.
A year ago, I slowly came to accept that this was logically not the truth. But now, looking back even just a year later, I can tell you that it is completely and utterly false, which I know from the bottom of my heart. Now is the part where I tell you how amazing of an experience I have had going to my school this year…
I came to realize that my peers here care just as much. They’re just as creative. The professors here are just as amazing and inspiring. And just as crazy stuff goes on here as I would witness there (sigh… art school). But more than the fact that it’s just as great, I also want to emphasize how amazing the differences are. If I hadn’t gone here, my art wouldn’t be going in the direction it’s going now. I wouldn’t have met the peers and professors who are going to shape my art.
The experience of going to this school was something I had never expected, and because of that I think it changed me more than my dream school would have. I had to grow up a lot. I had to learn that I needed to be the driving force behind my personal success, so that environment was not the largest factor. But I also realized that the school I go to is an AMAZING school. I have already experienced so many things that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and have even more grand things lined up for the future, none of which would have happened if I didn’t go here. I got to continue marching band (my high school passion), go to school in a new city, meet people from all kinds of backgrounds with all kinds of interests (not just art). I got the resources and energy of a giant university and the quirky, awesome, and intense art school all wrapped up in one amazing package. And now I’m part of an awesome honors program (as an art student!), and have the amazing opportunity to study abroad in both TOKYO and ROME (coming soon spring of 2017 and 2018, stay posted), things that never could have happened otherwise.
You know when you look back to see the line of actions that lead you to meeting a certain person, getting to a certain place in the conversation, or to getting to a certain place in your life and just stopping to think about how crazy it was that it happened that way? That everything clicked into place in just the right way? That feeling is most likely going to happen to you no matter what decision you make. Because yes, deciding on what college to go to IS a huge decision. But it’s not a life or death decision. It’s more like, choosing between two really good foods you want to eat and no matter which one you choose, you’re going to have a great time. Alright, okay, that’s not a very good analogy, but do you know what I mean? So if you can’t go to your dream school, it’s okay. Maybe cry a little. Talk to your parents a lot. Know that it’s going to be okay. But allow this door closing to become a chance to really open your eyes to see what other opportunities are waiting. I keep having these blissful moments of happiness that I would love to share with past me, and by writing this I hope I can help at least one person who is in the same place I was a year ago, the closest I’ll get to that. I promise you that you will find your way no matter what path you take.
I wanted to make a post of helpful college websites, tools, etc that I use, to share with everyone else.
Don’t know if your ACT or SAT scores are better? Check out this link that shows you a chart comparing ACT and SAT scores
Want to read honest reviews of a college and not just Student Profiles on colleges’ websites? Check out this website that has ratings in several different categories from current or past students. Make sure to check each one, a C in drug safety may mean there aren’t drugs and people don’t like that, or it could mean there are drugs and the people reviewing are unhappy about it. Just read it all.
Aren’t exactly sure how you stack up to be admitted? Check out this website (it’s the same one, I know) that allows you to create a simple profile and then ask what your chances are. Please remember, this is not 100% accurate nor is it done by admissions counselor. It just gives you a ball park.
Have an interview coming up? Be prepared by reading this article that details how to prepare for an interview. Just don’t forget, be yourself, be respectful, and be enthusiastic!
Can’t decide which application is best for you? This can be a tricky topic, so to get the full scoop, check out this helpful guide that breaks down the pro’s and con’s for each type of admissions plan.
5 Websites Every Junior MUST Visit For College Research
You’re on this journey–if you succeed, you’ll achieve all your (college-related) dreams. It might be long. It might be arduous. But hey. At least you’ve got the Internet.
Sometimes, though, sifting around on your favorite search engine is rather tedious, so we’ve compiled our favorite websites that have the best information you’ll need to figure out which college is right for you. Happy browsing!
The “Prospective Students” section of a college’s website
What You’ll Find: Obvious! You want to know what the college has to offer (from majors to admissions criteria to what the campus even looks like), and this is exactly where you’ll find it. Colleges know what high school students are looking for, and they’ll present everything you ever wanted to know about the college. Still can’t find what you’re looking for, or have lingering questions about the school? The prospective students section should have contact info so that you can chat with someone right on campus who can answer anything else you’re still wondering about.
Bonus Points: Look for the college’s “Student Organizations and Clubs” section to get a taste of what kinds of student groups you can get involved in if you attend this school. It sounds like a cliche, but taking part in one in college can really change your life and make your college experience all the more special.
What You’ll Find: Waaaaiiit a second. Isn’t this the website you go to when you’re trying to find a new restaurant or a great laser-tag place in town? Yep, but the top-notch reviewing site also has pages for colleges, where students and alumni write about their experiences. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell what student life is really like based on the college’s website, but Yelp college reviews will be honest (and sometimes funny–you can even tag them as such, just as you do with any other Yelp review!), and give you a good idea of what your potential college is like.
What You’ll Find: This website has been recently revamped for a more streamlined look, but it still has all the amazing features that helped me in college. Similar to Yelp, College Prowler offers reviews written by real students, but instead of a more holistic view at the college, which most Yelp reviews are like, college students write on specific aspects of their school, from housing to dining. To give you an idea of the student environment, College Prowler even surveyed current students to find out each college’s political preference (if you’re nerdy and interested in looking up that kind of thing).
What You’ll Find: This will quickly become your favorite website once you enter college. But if you’re a high schooler, this shouldn’t stop you from using this great resource—find out students think of your potential professors! If you know what your major will be, sort each college’s professors list by department. The site also averages out the scores given on all reviews posted for a school, so you can easily compare these averages between the colleges you’re looking into.
What You’ll Find: Pure awesomeness, of course! Deck out your resume with a Zinch account, connect with your friends, and–even better–get connected with your favorite schools! They’ll get to see you as more than a test score (hence the name of this very blog), and reach out to you with more information on what they have to offer if you apply and attend.
Bonus Points: Wait, Zinch offers more? YES! Sign up for an account, and you can also get news on the latest scholarships and have plenty of opportunities to apply for them.