sassysage's Blog

Sassy says: u got in; now what?

Posted on: April 3, 2011

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on friday thousands of eager high school seniors and their parents received news they had been anxiously awaiting for months.  it was decision day, the time when many colleges and universities send out decisions of who has been accepted at their institutions.   i’m sure some were overjoyed with news that they would be able to attend their top choice. but there are many who are left with the news confused.   you know you’re going to college, but which one should you choose? 

as a college professor, i am an advisor to students and i’m often struck that many students who aren’t doing well in school are often the ones who don’t feel like it’s the right fit.  sorry to say it but the pressure is on because what college to choose is such an important question to answer.

 just this past week, i was facilitating THE MIND MAKEOVERsm workshop at a suburban high school and was inspired by the motivation and confidence of the girls i was working with.   however, i noticed that many of them felt pressure to pursue colleges that their parents, friends and others wanted for them.   some of the girls were interested in attending a historically black college and university (HBCU).  but they commented that others felt those schools may be perceived as inferior and an ‘easy’ choice.  i couldn’t have disagreed more knowing the high level of education many HBCUs provide.  there are countless of graduates from those institutions who are leaders in our communities and in the nation.   it seemed that the girls just went with what they were told.   they didn’t do their own research.  so as you sweat through the process of deciding which school to choose, here are five questions to mull over:

 1) does the school have the course options that you are interested in? interested in, not that you want to major in or pursue a career.   i say this because college should be a time for you to explore topics that are intellectually stimulating.  widen your view of the world, so you have something interesting to offer when you talk to people no matter what you plan to do with your life.

 2) is the college located in a community that you would feel comfortable?  this is where the college visit is so important. you need to check out your top two choices and see which one feels right.  even if you’ve already visited, go again. this time with the eyes of someone who is living there.  can you see it? or not? it may take time and money for the visits but you don’t want to spend four long years, 24 hours a day in a place you can’t stand. some schools will provide financial support for the visit and it doesn’t hurt to ask.

 3) have the graduates from the college been successful in many different fields?  even if you are considering a specialized school, the breath of career options for graduates is a sign of how good an education you are going to get.  in this economy, you don’t want to be pigeon-holed with one or two options.

 4) are you being honest? take a deep breath and muster up the confidence to stand in your truth.  let your family and friends know what your heart truly desires.   as a soon to be young adult, you have to learn how to make choices that may not be what  others want to hear.  college is the beginning of your grown up life and that choice should be based on your wants/needs.  if you have done your research, it will be easy for you to explain to them why you feel the way you do.   many parents may disagree with my advise but my word to them is–it’s time to let go. 

 5) did you forget to have fun? getting into college is a huge accomplishment.  make sure to celebrate, live in the moment and enjoy what you have worked so hard to achieve.

 Congratulations! Let me know what you decide…

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