When it comes to going to college, and being in college, decision making is always important, and thus, the theme occupies a bit of space on our blog. Here are a few more thoughts…
Last October, during a seminar with new students, a small group was working on developing a thesis statement for the chapter they had read. The book was about higher education, and focused on the undergraduate experience and college administration. The thesis statement they came to was: Emotionally Charged Decision Making. Take a moment and reflect on what that statement means to you. (pause: contemplate) Now, think about a recent decision you have made, big or small, was it emotionally charged? If you decided to eat something when you were not hungry, or bought something that was not a necessity, it was probably an emotional decision.
High school students and parents, who are researching institutions of higher education, are you feeling emotional connections with a few colleges? Are those feelings driving your decision on which place(s) to accept admission? Of course they are! In the book the students (mentioned above) were reading, a story of a high school senior deciding to go to the college she was emotionally attached to was shared. This student had received a significant scholarship to a different institution, but instead chose to attend a university with a $20,000 annual tuition and fees price, and no scholarship offer. She graduated with significant debt and took a job that barely covered her monthly financial aid repayment.
During this admission decision time frame, make sure to research institutional graduation and job placement rates, the process for transferring into another major, support services provided within the academic department, student housing, and the campus in general (health, wellness, recreational). A student is not going to need all those things the first five minutes of her/his first day, but you want to be aware of available options.
An emotional connection to a college is not a bad thing, just make sure it is not interfering with a wise decision.