By now, most boarding schools and universities alike should have sent out their decisions. In both categories, most schools have experienced increased numbers in their applications, particularly from China. All the hard work from the fall on applications, essays, and testing are about to come to fruition. My fingers are crossed that everyone gets in to the school(s) of their choice.
The reality is that many students will get into a number of institutions, if you did your research well in the first place. Some (usually a minority) will be accepted to elite schools. While it is the hope that everyone will get into their “dream” school, it is a good plan to relook at the schools on your list. What you once loved, may now have settled a bit in your mind. You have changed over the last several months, you have a new perspective on life, and school is coming to a close as spring approaches. So go back to your list. Make some effort to relook at each school thoroughly, evaluate their academic programs, location, and other aspects to re-familiarize yourself with what made them land on your list in the first place.
Why should you do this? Because at some point in the very near future you are going to make a final decision on where you will go to school next year. As you go through this process, re-order your list or perhaps it will stay the same, so that as decisions come in you have a good idea of what your options are going to be. If you made your list appropriately, you will have reach, core, and foundation schools. Each school made the list for a reason. Make sure you still have some passion for each school.
In some cases, it is important to make a chart or grid listing the names of the schools at the top and the criteria, in order of importance and perhaps with a numerical value, so that you can make an objective evaluation of each school in comparison to each other.
Each criterion gets a value of 1-10 based on personal preference. Based on your needs and wants, place a value in each section. e.g. size may be very important to you and your education so you may place a higher value on small schools as opposed to large. Being near the beach may be more important than cold winters and so on.
As you can see, you are taking some of the emotional evaluation out of the selection process. But it is important to make sure you are not choosing based on perceptions beyond your control i.e. what your parents or friends may think, but criterion that are most advantageous to your personal growth and education.
The other reason why this is so important is that many students have placed undue expectations on a “dream” school. What will you do if you don’t get in? What’s plan B or C? Even if you do get into that one and only school, is it really the best school for your education, personally, and socially? Remember this choice is one that should hold sway for the next four years. Choosing a school based on just a name will most likely leave you unhappy and dissatisfied. Choose where you want to go for all the right reasons and you will excel.
It is most likely that you will not be accepted to every school on your list. Though it does happen, usually one or more schools will not accept you. It hurts. It is painful to open an email that starts off with “Thank you for applying to School A” instead of “Congratulations!” Rejection is tough but remember a school is not rejecting your character. Most likely, the admission staff spent considerable time evaluating and shaping the entering class. We know that for selective schools, a majority of students do not get admitted. It is a fact and a painful one. Is your life over? Absolutely not! But it will require that you get some perspective on what your future means. Does not getting accepted to school XYZ mean that you will not be successful or happy? Only if you let the rejection rule you. Life is filled with alternating paths, changing directions, and new opportunities. Make the most of what you find in front of you and make your future happen, wherever that may be.
While I would like to say that every student gets in to the school of their choice, I will say that most students get in to schools where they need to go. Why do I say “need?” It is because that school or set of schools has everything you need to be successful. Education is never about the name of the school, but it is about what you make out of the education on offer. So go make your educational success.
As I said at the beginning, good luck. Decisions are on the way. In the words of the immortal Spock – “Live long and prosper!”
Hamilton Gregg is the founder of International Educational Consulting and has worked in education since 1985. He helps students and their families understand their personal and educational needs and find the right school to meet their requirements. If you are a student or parent who would like to ask Gregg a question on our blog, please email email@example.com