There is Help Available to Make Your College Decision the Best One Possible

Are you looking for answers?

Most of the talk these days, is still about how to narrow down the list of acceptances, and possible acceptances (wait lists), and come to the best possible decision. For some, financial aid is the biggest consideration, often forcing a student to choose between a higher ranked school with a lesser aid package and a less competitive school offering a full scholarship.

In other cases, the decision may be between a school that the student has her heart on vs. a higher ranked school that the parents are pushing for. In yet another scenario, a student may be so heartbroken over a rejection that he is utterly unable to focus and consider the positives and negatives of his other choices.

Thankfully, there are places to turn when in need of a sympathetic and knowledgeable ear. One such site is The Choice, the NY Times blog dedicated to the college admissions process. Bruce Poch, an experienced admissions officer who has served at Pomona College, Wesleyan University and Connecticut College, is offering answers to admissions questions this week.

Poch's common sense responses are sure to be insightful and direct, and cut to the heart of the issues at hand.  Questions and answers are posted here, and they are sure to echo many of your own ongoing internal dialogues, so even if you don’t post a question, you can certainly benefit by checking it out.

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Finding the Silver Lining in the College Admissions Process

Whichever direction you take, move forward with head held high

Kayla Webley of Time magazine offers excellent advice in this article for students still fraught with anxiety over their recently opened round of life-changing college admissions letters. While experiencing either a profound sense of relief or grief depending on the outcomes is natural, it is important to evaluate how much of our emotional reactions are based in reality.

Laurence Steinberg, author and professor of psychology at Temple University, describes how students take a rejection from a college personally. “When they’re rejected it’s like being rejected by a boyfriend or girlfriend. They internalize it: What’s the matter with me? What could I have done differently? Why did they choose that person and not me?” There is no doubt that a rejection letter can draw deep feelings of inadequacy quickly to the surface, but all is far from lost.

It is clear that your future potential has much less to do with where you go to college and much more with how you perform while you’re there. Webley sites one study in which students rejected from their top choices go on to earn on average the same wages as their Ivy League peers. Further, a highly motivated student standing out at a less competitive college can be far more impressive than an Ivy grad who has failed to distinguish herself during her four years. In summary, your success is far from determined. A safety school can provide infinite opportunities for future success. So the best thing to do, if you want to find the silver lining in an arduous admissions process, is to stop looking back, and move forward with head held high knowing that you will give your all to whatever school you decide to attend.