Casting a wider college net may bring some unexpected results

Choosing schools you never heard of is a good place to start. I challenge you to put a few schools on your list that you would have never dreamed of applying to. That includes both reach and safe schools. Some wonderful schools can be found in the book Colleges that Change Lives.

When my daughter was applying to college in 2014 for whatever reason there were some schools that weren’t even on her radar. Of course, she applied to her dream school but she also applied to schools that excited her and had the major and extracurricular things she was looking for.

She did campus visits at the colleges she was applying to, to see if she could see herself there. Some schools checked all her boxes and met all her criteria and yes, some didn’t. She had her list narrowed down to 2 schools and was pretty much decided when a family member suggested she apply to “just one more school.” My daughter wasn’t convinced she would get in but applied anyway. This last minute school turned out to be the school she attended.

My point for telling you this story is to illustrate that your dream school may not be the school you end up at, my daughters wasn’t. Also, a dream school doesn’t necessarily mean an “Ivy”. Maybe your dream school is a small college in a rural area because you love nature and intimate settings and relationships with friends.

It is important to ask yourself, “am I choosing this school for it’s prestige and status or because I want my parents to be proud of me, or is it that you need their approval? Or are you choosing the college because you truly love it there? Or do you feel comfortable and at home on campus and that you see yourself fitting right in?

Life has a way of presenting options to us and sometimes those options are the course we must travel. I see the recent college scandal Operation Varsity Blues as a sign for students to explore their options and be open to whatever path they are destined to follow. It may be your dream school or it may not just know whichever one you choose it will be the right one for you.

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