9 MYTHS DEBUNKED
We are advocates of finding the right fit for each student. Usually people are only familiar with schools they or their friends attended, colleges that they saw in a movie, or those that have an Ivy-like reputation. We caution this mentality, because there are many amazing schools out there that you will overlook simply by putting on blinders based on something you heard.
- SMALL/MEDIUM PRIVATE COLLEGES ARE TOO EXPENSIVE, WE CANNOT AFFORD THEM.
Cost: Small, private colleges do tend to start with a higher price tag, but these schools also have the money to offer significant merit aid or discounts for students they want. These discounts are based on the quality of your application and the attributes that you will bring to their campus. State schools do not have the funding to offer similar merit award amounts, but their price points start lower. So, we say, “Stay open-minded. Sometimes the most expensive school on your list will end up the best deal for you.”
- WE MAKE TOO MUCH MONEY AND WILL NEVER GET ANY AID.
People who make a large sum of money can still find over 500 schools that will offer a scholarship or discount for their students. In addition, the FAFSA and CSS profile may not yield federal money, like a Pell Grant, but may be favorable for institutional-based aid (which is different at every school).
- MY STUDENT IS A HIGH-FLIER AND VERY SMART – IT’S IVY OR BUST.
Not all students are cut out for the Ivies, but all Ivy students are smart, driven, and have impressive resumes. We all think our child is special, but the top school applicants have test scores that are above 1500, often have done research or been published, and are exceptional beyond what many deem high-achieving.
The question is, “Will your student be better off at a school where they are at the top of their class? or are YOU interested in the bumper sticker? Often, looking at schools which are not “ranked” on the TOP 20 list is the best thing you can do for your education. Rankings may not mean very much…the right school is the school that is the best fit academically, socially, geographically and financially.
The opportunity for a student to maximize their outcomes often happens when they make impressions on professors, participate in research, and just simply stand out from the rest. Plus, they may be awarded Merit Aid offers that many highly selective schools do not offer.
- “EDDIE THE ENGINEER” SIMPLY MUST GO TO A BIG, TOP ENGINEERING SCHOOL.
There is really no such thing as the best program for all students, and this way of thinking can limit the number of programs you research. The ultimate goal is to find a school where your student will thrive. Look at the faculty; see how accessible they are. Look into specific programs and classes; look for an overall fit when considering social life, location, vibe, etc.. It’s not so much about where you go but rather what you do while you’re there. And if an advanced degree is in your future, you need to be able to stand out in undergrad (and not utilize all of your money in the first 4 years).
- I MUST GO TO A COLLEGE THAT IS BIGGER THAN MY HIGH SCHOOL.
School size does not matter as much as you think it does. The college experience is nothing like the high school experience, and the social opportunities at all colleges are abundant. At large universities, students often join clubs, groups, Greek Life, etc in order to feel at home on campus. You won’t get to know more people simply because there are more people at the school. But large schools do tend to have those awesome game days and a unique level of spirit that is appealing to some. The bigger schools also may have more options when it comes to choosing a major. You simply have to check out both to see what you want.
- WE ARE NOT RELIGIOUS, THEREFORE WE WILL NOT LOOK AT ANY COLLEGES WITH RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION.
Numerous colleges were started with a religious affiliation, so removing schools with religious roots may limit your choices. Each has different academic requirements around the study of religion. It is important to do some research if this is an important consideration for you. The requirement will likely be a class or two along the lines of World Religions- which is, quite frankly, history.
- I’M A COMP SCI/STEM STUDENT, SO NO LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE FOR ME.
Liberal Arts schools have great STEM programming. In addition to physics and the like, these schools teach relevant skills such as; communication, writing, public speaking and more. Physics and calculus are physics and calc…no matter where you take them.
- WE NEED A SCHOOL WITH AN IMPRESSIVE ALUMNI NETWORK.
Most institutions have an impressive alumni network. Why does this matter for your future? Sure, having Yale on your diploma may open more doors, but YOU still need to walk through those doors and be impressive. It is more about how you “work” your alumni connections that will make your future journey successful. After all, it’s who you know!
Now that we have debunked some of the myths, we hope that you remain open-minded as you venture forth on your college research and visits. You will find several schools that are right for you, we promise. Just don’t follow the herd – make up your own mind.
Lee Norwood is a successful entrepreneur, a published author and founder of Annapolis College Consulting. Lee excels at connecting with students and bringing out the best in them creating opportunities for growth that match their interests (non-profit and business internships, local and state connections, creative opportunities) and builds consistency within their application. Contact her here. You can also read more about Annapolis College Consulting here or watch her YouTube videos.