Choosing a college is not simple, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. Here at Summit Prep we are most focused on understanding who your child is and helping them find a great “fit.”
Years ago, students and parents focused primarily on being admitted to the “best academic institution” that they could. But, what does that really mean? What is that based on? In essence, if you choose a school based solely on name and reputation, you might actually be missing the boat! What if you are a budding engineer and dream of Dartmouth, which only offers arts and sciences? The college search needs to be tailored to each student’s individual needs. While test scores and grades do still continue to be the first litmus test for admission, there is so much more to consider.
There are geographic and sociological components to consider. Is the student willing to get on a plane? The same four hour drive to Boston can be accomplished by plane to Michigan or Chicago; do you realize that the travel time is the same? How do you feel about size? Proximity to a city? Or do you feel more comfortable in a more rural environment? These are the sociological discussions that we entertain in the college search process. Universities and colleges also have personalities of their own. Some offer spirited environments that have huge stadiums and collegiate sports. Some are void of fraternities and sororities. What is your personality and where will you best fit in? If you’re like most students, there is truly no one perfect place. However, there are often many that will fit the bill.
Another large consideration in choosing a college is the psychological component. Where are you most comfortable and where are you likely to make lifelong friends, acquaintance, connections, and networks? You may not remember your freshman English professor, but you will certainly remember your roommate of choice. As a college counselor, I can only hope that when you are my age, you’ll still be friends with your college roommates and that they will evolve to be your family of choice.
How do we do this? By getting to know your students as early as sophomore or junior year in order to help guide them to a good, balanced list that will offer choices and options. It’s more important to know what you don’t like, because that is how we can steer you towards what you do like.