The Myth of the College List

Most families believe the college admissions process starts with picking colleges, then filling out applications, which includes writing college essays, then submit applications, then, wait for responses, then choose one college. However, the actual process of choosing and applying to college is much more intricate. 

Often, parents are puzzled when their teenager seems overwhelmed or uninterested in researching colleges, even after spending thousands of dollars and taking vacations to visit campuses. Yet, often teenagers don’t know themselves, their academic needs, or their purpose for attending college in the first place. Consequently, creating a well-informed list of colleges is challenging. 

Thus, teenagers frequently resort to echoing the names of popular, well-known colleges, like UCLA, Harvard, or the University of Texas at Austin. But when asked why they’ve selected those colleges, they struggle to provide substantive answers.

Instead of bogging down in selecting a list of colleges, students can begin the essential journey of self-reflection, which is a crucial foundation to draft autobiographical college essays. And, through such introspection, they’ll learn more about themselves, fostering confidence in their experience. 

Then, students can confirm their college selections or search for colleges with more defined criteria. Furthermore, since college admissions officers sometimes require essays why a student seeks to attend the college, students will be constrained to research the university. 

By starting with self-reflection, students can diminish their confusion about life after high school and the college admissions process. Thus, with their family’s support, students can make more informed decisions about their college education.

For over twenty years, Creative Marbles experts have moderated family conversations regarding complex educational decisions, lending our expertise to reduce the risk of malinvestment. For more information, contact us.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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