Applying to college is like dating. You are about to get into a long-term relationship, and you want it to be a healthy and happy one. It should make you grow as a person and challenge you as an individual. Your school should be a community where you will thrive; after all, you are going to spend the next four years of your life there.
Like dating, there is no one perfect match.
Like dating, there is no one perfect match; in fact, many people might make a good boyfriend, and many schools may be a good fit. It is all about selecting your criteria and looking for what matters most. Also like dating; there are different schools for different students. Just because Harvard might be right for a friend, does not mean it is the right school for you. You have to find the school that is a comfortable fit.
Why is this important? Your school is also planning to date you. Imagine you send in an e-harmony profile and the school doesn’t like people with brown hair, but you have brown hair. Isn’t that a waste of time? Just like the search for a good romantic partner, finding the right school will take time. It is not going to happen overnight. Commit to the process, and you will come out with a positive experience in the end.
Here are some things to keep in mind in pursuing your new relationship:
Visit the school!
Would you date someone who you had never seen? Probably not. Even if you get in an online relationship, you will still want to see a few pictures, and get a friend’s recommendation. Find out as much as you can about your school of choice, visit the campus if possible, and talk to people who have attended. The more you can get an understanding of how it feels to be at the school, the better.
Develop a list of your characteristics. Be honest with yourself. Who are you academically? Who are you socially? What do you like to do, what opportunities do you want to have in school? Will you thrive in a small class or a large class? Do you want to participate in Greek life? Sports? Community service? The more you take time to get to know yourself the easier it will be to identify the school that is right for you.
Forget the Name
Yes in college so much seems to depend on the ‘name’ of the school you attended. How popular is it. Is it Yale or Harvard? But you wouldn’t let the name of your future spouse determine your marriage, and similarly, the name of your school should not determine your choices. It is all about fit. Are you likely to succeed here? Are students happy, does the school have a good retention rate? Forget the name and make your choice based on what really matters, content and character.
An important part about dating is what comes before you enter the relationship, convincing your crush to like you back. Flirting with your college is of the upmost importance. You have to convince them that you have the qualities they are looking for, and don’t let them forget about you. Send e-mails and check in with your admissions counselor. Write them a stellar love letter, or in this case, college essay. This is an important relationship, so put in the effort to show your significant other how important they are to you.
It may not work out on the first try
Plenty of relationships, especially first relationships, don’t last. It is okay to admit that you made a mistake. You can always transfer, and you should never be scared to try again. College is an opportunity to grow, and staying in a bad relationship is unhealthy.