Excitement, Tears, and the Daunting Task of Choosing Your CollegePart 1: Your Mindset

By Ashley McCarrick

Your acceptance letters have arrived, you have celebrated your successes, cried over the disappointments, and now the time has come to make your choice. Where will you go to college? It is easy to get nervous about making the wrong choice and ending up at a college that is not quite right for you. Before we get to how to choose the right college for you, remember these important truths.

1. College is more about what you make of it than the name of the college.

If you take advantage of opportunities and build relationships, you can be successful no matter where you attend.

2. There is more than one “right” college for you

You can be happy at many different schools. It all comes down to your attitude, willingness to get involved, and perspective.

3. Where you go to college does not determine your self-worth

Just because you did not get in to your dream school does not mean you were not worthy of attending there. Top colleges have far too many applicants for the number of seats available, and a rejection does not mean that you did not fit the bill. Just think of the colleges that accepted you!

4. Understanding that life isn’t always fair is a good lesson to learn when you are young

You will not always get the acceptance letter, job, or promotion. If you can build coping skills when the stakes are not quite as high, you are more likely to be able to handle challenges and disappointments later in life.

5. You can always transfer

If you find that you have truly made the wrong choice, there is always an opportunity to transfer to a college after you have completed your first year. Give your chosen school a year to make its first impression. If you find you are still disappointed after a year, then transfer to another institution.

It is time to get excited – you are going to college! You will have fun, make friends, discover your passions, expand your view of the world, and build the foundation for your life. College is so much more than you can imagine as a high-schooler, and your journey is just beginning.

Now that you have the right mindset, you can look at things more clearly. It is important to make your final decision with a balance of practicality, optimism, and realistic expectations. We will tackle that next week.

Ashley McCarrick is an Executive Director at KD College Prep. She has been serving KD students since 2007 and enjoys helping teenagers discover their dreams. In her free time, Ashley delights in spending time with her daughter, Lilley, and volunteering with various local organizations. You may contact her at a.mccarrick@kdcollegeprep.com.


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