Sincerely, Senior: Debunking the Myth behind “College of Choice”


Sitting in college counseling, a friend of mine spoke to her advisor about a recent disappointing semester grade. The course was an extremely rigorous one and her advisor explained that a lesser grade in such a course would still be rather impressive. Feeling a little better as she walked out the door, the student turned at the sound of another, non-faculty adult’s voice. “You will not get into your college of choice with a grade like that.” Ouch. This individual was both out of line and incorrect in her assumption. And so, I am here to debunk the myth of a “college of choice.”

A “college of choice” is not defined by an average SAT score or an incredibly low acceptance rate. It is not based off the perception the public has of a university. A “college of choice” is exactly what it sounds like, yet, it is so often misconstrued to be the college in which you have the smallest chance of being admitted to. Wrong.

It is the university that makes your toes tingle at the sight of the campus. The same college that makes your heart race at the list of incredibly fascinating courses. It is the place that gives you the feeling of being home the very first time you step on campus, your very own “college of choice.” And yet, no amount of love for a school can guarantee your acceptance there.

Not everyone feels this perfect fit the first time they see the university. It is a love that grows slowly over time and sometimes it even surprises us. I have had countless friends envision themselves at one school only to realize upon visiting that it was not their perfect fit. As many hear back from universities, they may not even know what school fits their “school of choice.” This is not about finding your “college of choice,” but rather remembering that this perfect match is not defined by numbers or perception.

For many, part of the pain of falling in love with a school is hearing bad news. It is accepting that this place that you could see yourself so easily, does not envision you as a student in their institution. Each of us will be given several acceptances to great colleges. Eventually, the college you choose becomes your “college of choice.” A choice to attend the university therefore renders it your special place, your new home.

The term “college of choice” implies one extra word—your. It is not a decision that your parents, your friends, your school or even some online survey can make for you. So, go on now, the choice is yours.