“This University Wants You! Apply Now!”
What to do?
Your guidance counselor is stalking you in the hallways, and your mom is standing at the front door with a pile of promotional literature from colleges all over the country. Universities in Alaska, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Vermont all seem eager for you to apply to them. Many also seem to hint rather broadly that acceptance is just a click away. But, at the risk of seeming cynical, I must warn you that these letters and packets of information do not mean that the admissions officers are waiting by their desktops to see whether you have applied so that they can send you an immediate acceptance. The number of applicants to a college is taken very seriously as both marketing and informational tools; you will see statistics in the guidebooks comparing the number of applicants to the number of students who are accepted.
Of course, if you are a good fit for the school and vice versa, you may very well be accepted, and quickly. On the other hand, the school may be completely wrong for you. This is not like shopping for a new brand of cereal which, if it does not suit your taste, you can throw out and buy a different box. This is a huge commitment and investment, both personally and financially, so you must do your homework and learn all you can about all of the colleges to which you may apply.
How do you do that?
- Make a list of what is important to you in a college. Consider size, location, cost, majors, research opportunities, and your particular interests: sports, the arts, Greek life, etc. (Please contact us if you would like access to a College Preference Survey).
- Read the promotional literature of the schools that appeal to you.
- Go to “Resources” on this website where you will find a list of books and websites that will help you. Use a variety of up-to-date professional guides.
- Go to the websites of the individual schools; take virtual tours if they are offered; join their Facebook pages and any other online resources that they offer. (More on that in a future blog.)
- If you can, visit the schools in which you have a strong interest. (See “College Visits” on this website for what to look for on a college tour.)
- Learn all you can; take notes, and make informed decisions!
For more information, read our post on what to do when a university asks, “Why Us?”