Choosing a College

When Choosing a College: How close to home is too close?

Jane Kulow joins us again this month to talk about a factor that is central to most students' decisions -- location, location, location. Read on to learn more about what happens when students decide to study close to home and Kulow's advice for making it work.  


How close is too close when it comes to choosing a college -- for students and parents?

My husband drove our son, Pete—a second-year University of Virginia (UVa) student—back to college Sunday evening after Thanksgiving. The drive takes between ten and fifteen minutes, depending upon traffic. Meanwhile a Midwestern nephew drove a couple of hours back to his college in St. Louis, and our niece flew back to her college in Los Angeles from her home near Boston.

What is it "practical" to study in college? You'd be surprised!

For many parents and students, the most-lucrative path seems obvious: be practical. The public and private sectors are urging kids to abandon the liberal arts, and study fields where the job market is hot right now.

Dr. Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School and Professor of Education, has some very good, "practical" advice for students and their families in a recent Wall Street Journal article -- Why Focusing Too Narrowly in College Could Backfire.

Here's an excerpt:

Schools, in turn, are responding with new, specialized courses that promise to teach skills that students will need on the job. A degree in hospital financing? Casino management? Pharmaceutical marketing?

Little wonder that business majors outnumber liberal-arts majors in the U.S. by two-to-one, and the trend is for even more focused programs targeted to niches in the labor market.

The "Tyranny of Choice": Confronting the Wall of Colleges

We are delighted to welcome Will Dix as a monthly guest blogger. A former teacher and Amherst associate dean of admission, Dix is now Program Director at Chicago Scholars. Today, Will has some advice for students and parents as they contemplate the many -- too many? -- great options students have when choosing colleges.  And cautions against seeking just one to be your "Emerald City."


Once in a while at the grocery store I’m flummoxed by the varieties of toothpaste to choose from as I try to figure out which one is the best for me. Breath-freshening, whitening, plaque fighting, striped, mouthwash-containing? What do I really need? How are my gums this week? Should I get the whitening one even though it doesn’t have the mouthwash? What size? What brand? What permutation will give me perfect teeth? I start to feel queasy, realizing that any choice I make probably won’t be adequate, but also knowing that, really, it doesn’t matter: all toothpaste has fluoride, all of it will clean my teeth, and whether it’s minty cinnamon or cinnamon-y mint, it’s pretty much the same.


Seniors: Here are the Wrong Reasons for Choosing a School

Amid the excitement and disappointments of decision season, it’s important to continue to be thoughtful about where you will spend the next four years. Here are some don’ts to consider:

• Don’t choose prestige over fit.

• Don’t decide where to go based on where your boyfriend or girlfriend is enrolling.

• Don’t choose a college because your parents want to put that sticker on their car window.

• Don’t choose a college because your high school wants to include it on their school profile.

In other words, choose the school where you most want to go! It sounds so obvious, but it’s amazing how many students don’t do it.


Collegiate Buyer's Remorse

Today’s guest post is by educational psychologist and consultant Jane McClure. We are thrilled to have her expertise here on the site and happy to announce that she will be contributing monthly. Look for future posts on the challenges faced by students with Asperger’s syndrome as they consider college, communications techniques for students and parents and a series on the transition from high school to college. Join her here to learn about how to handle a student’s second thoughts on starting college – what McClure calls “Collegiate Buyer’s Remorse.”

It happens almost every year, usually during the months of October and November: calls from two or three students who fear they have chosen the wrong college.  Sometimes, they are calling just to see if I agree with them.  Other times, they are convinced that they have made a bad decision and want to know when they should apply to transfer.