Choosing a College or University in 2016

Friday April 8, 2016

This month thousands of High School Seniors - here and abroad - are making decisions about their future education. Students have to except a college by May 1st. There are 3 choices: you're in - you're out - you're on a Wait List until after May 1 which means you're probably not getting in.

Most students have visited colleges and universities in the past year or so and felt connected to one of more of them. If accepted to all - then what? If not accepted by any of the college then what? Many regret not having applied to more colleges.

In my family, my grandson Michael, turning 18 on Sunday, is torn between three college where he'll Major in Business like his parents. My cousin Ruth's daughter, Charlotte, in San Francisco, is also torn between different colleges on the West Coast.

Let's look at Villanova University where the men's basketball team - the Wildcats - had that unforgettable buzzer-beater victory this week. Michael was accepted to Villanova but does not want to go there. My friend's daughter wanted to go there and didn't get in. Michael's best friend Brett (6' 4") was accepted to the track team at Washington University in St. Louis (a top college) but he is on the Wait List. Michael was accepted to WashU and is debating on going there though I see him on the east coast in Boston. Michael was accepted to Boston College - his first choice - until he was recruited to play baseball for Amherst College also in Mass. and is on their Wait List. I think Michael would love college in Boston as it offers so much.

Students today understand the saga of paying back student loans once they get out of college so there is a lot to consider. Michael is lucky - his parents are paying for college. Understanding that college does not come cheap, they express the desire to make the most of their college experience - but where do they go especially if they have perfect scores in a world where students are born with photographic memories and excel at many things.

Scholarship money for sports, academics, and other things that apply, have to be taken into consideration by students and parents.

Then there's logistics - the difference between a local college and one that you have to fly to several times a year - another expense.

Generally seniors are not guided by the choice of their high school friends or siblings, yet it is all very confusing. Rejection is not easy when you're at such a critical junction in your life.

Some students know that they are going into careers in either business, health, science, technology, the arts, film and communication, or humanitarian studies. Others are torn between many things that interest them, or totally confused about what they want to do when they graduate. Have they reached that point where they want to make a difference? Some have - the others will know it by the time they get to their early 20's. Also remember that emotional problems - especially depression and bipolar disorder - kick in at 19-20.

Technical schools make the choices much easier - but then again how often do you students go to school for one thing then completely change careers within the first five years after graduation?

The world that awaits them in four years will be completely different than what we experience today - for better or worse - that is if we are still here. Good luck to all.