It turns out that choosing the ideal college is a lot like dating. These days, the only thing harder than getting into college might be choosing which school to attend. Both challenges can feel overwhelming.
But worry not, for knowledge is power, and what is true for love is also true for college.
Rule #1: College isn’t a fling, It’s a marriage.
Flings promise fun and excitement, but generally don’t end well. Lines get crossed, expectations are dashed, and people get wounded.
College Lesson: College is a marriage because college is for life. In a sense, we never really leave college. The experience we have—whether good or bad—stays with us all of our lives and sets the tone for the decades to come.
The right college match will prepare you to thrive in the real world, but the wrong school can leave you frustrated and confused, bearing a load of regret and disappointment—not to mention lost time and a lot of debt.
The statistics are alarming. 30% percent of students transfer. 40% fail to finish in four years. 33% drop out.
You’ve worked too hard to let that happen. You’ve been preparing for college your whole life, so give your future self some love and devote time to making the right choice.
Rule #2: Marry for love, not status.
If you could go on a date with your favorite actor, supermodel, or musician, would you do it?
Who wouldn’t? It would be worth it just to see the looks on your friends’ faces when you told them. Status is incredibly attractive.
But let’s face it. The reality of dating a celebrity, with thousands of fans vying for attention, might not be so fun. The jealousy alone might make you wish to be with someone “ordinary,” a person who would make you feel like the star.
College Lesson: The “best” schools in the public’s mind are celebrity schools. People ooh and ahh when you name drop Ivy League institutions in social interactions, but it’s more important to find the right school – one that matches your values and specializes in the field that you’re passionate about.
Find the right school, the university program that matches your values and specializes in the field that you’re passionate about. Each university pools resources in different areas and is uniquely suited to help students thrive in particular career paths; the best programs are not necessarily at the most famous schools.
Coming soon: How to win the college admissions dating game, Part II