5 Myths About Choosing the Right College

1. When choosing a college, bigger is better.

Bigger can be better for you, it all depends on what your needs and desires are. Bigger, however, is not better simply because it is bigger. Small schools actually have a better track record for turning out scientists and scholars than their larger counterparts. And the Who's Who books are littered with graduates from small, seldom heard of colleges. So always choose the college based on how it suits you and your needs, not just its size.

2. You need to know what your major will be before you choose what college to apply to.

There certainly are students who know what they want to do with the rest of their lives while still in high school. But for the rest of us, college should be a time of exploration, of trying out different things and finding out where our passions lie. Statistics indicate the majority of students change their majors several times before they settle on the one they graduate in. This is as it should be. Take a variety of classes, explore different fields you hadn't before considered. Whatever you do, don't just take classes you think will not negatively impact your grade point average. There should be more to college than just collecting good grades. And once you are out in the workaday world, no one will give a hoot about your GPA. Also, there is every possibility that the job you will have in 10 years hasn't even been invented yet.

3. If I can't get into a tier one school, I will never realize my dreams and my life will be over.

While we can't claim to know what your dreams are, we can still safely say that they do not hinge entirely on your choice of schools. If you happen to be dreaming of happiness, success, growth, etc., than we can safely say that it will have very little to do with the pedigree or prestige of the college you attend. In fact, maybe it's time to honestly reexamine why you're choosing these institutions....after all, there will be plenty of time later to covet prestige. This choice shouldn't be about the name-recognition of your choice but rather an examination of how the college will benefit you in your journey to enlightenment. And that is how you should consider this next phase of your life - as a journey on the path to a more fulfilled, more enlightened you.

4. Since I am a top academic student, I don't need to worry about the cost of college because I will automatically receive academic scholarships.

Hardly anyone is immune to the cost of college these days. Money is difficult to come by for the institutions as well as the students and their parents. All of this is beside the point that the above statement wasn't even true before the recent implosion of the economy. Chances are, your top grades are nothing special in the sea of bright people you are now swimming with. Don't take it too hard - you are still special, just not in any financial way. And there very well may be scholarship money out there for you, but you'll have to work for it.

5. If I choose a university with graduate programs, I'll stand a better chance of getting accepted into one of them (which will then guarantee my financial success in life.)

This is not at all true. Most colleges or universities give absolutely no special consideration to undergraduates from their own institutions when choosing students for their graduate programs. It might even be harder for those students because the programs in question are looking for fresh blood. Also what these programs are looking for is, for the most part, the same thing that colleges and universities look for in undergraduate admissions: they are looking to assemble a collection of students, each one contributing something on an individual basis which, when looked at collectively, becomes a cohesive whole, something better than the sum of its parts.