It’s almost May 1! The day when the seniors need to declare which school they are going to attend in the fall. This is a busy, yet exciting time. Some students have just finishing making last minute visits to their top choices. Others are filling out housing forms and making new friends via Facebook.
And yes, some of them are going off to big name schools like Harvard, Brown or Tufts. Others are going to equally prestigious but lesser known liberal arts colleges like Williams, Wesleyan or Carleton.
But the most exciting ones for me, are the surprises. The schools that a student hadn’t originally heard of, but turned out to be a great fit. Maybe the student was initially drawn to the school by a particular dance or engineering program or a terrific scholarship. Maybe the school is in a part of the country that hadn’t been considered before. Maybe it is a school right here in the Pacific Northwest. But for whatever reason, the school turned out to be the one!
As I look over the list of seniors and the places they are headed, I can’t help but smile. Everyone has a good spot. Even the ones who were initially disappointed when the “dream school” didn’t come through. Helping kids put together “the list” is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. And now, the cycle starts all over again. Juniors are diving in and researching colleges, thinking about what will be most important to them as they decide where to apply.
Some of the best advice I’ve heard came from Howard Schultz, of Starbucks. He was a Jewish kid from Brooklyn who ended up at a small college in Michigan on a football scholarship.
He said “Be as curious as you can. Put yourself in situations where you’re not just yielding to what’s familiar. I came out of college with a level of confidence and self-understanding that I don’t think I could have possibly gotten from an East Coast school, where I would have been among the kind of people I grew up with and lived near.”
There is something to be said for being open to new experiences. For being willing to go to a school where everyone isn’t just like you. Some of this year’s students are doing just that. And it will be a terrific adventure!
Author: Teri Thompson