Prestige = Self-Worth?

Searching for “The Ideal College”, students often seek the most elite admissions possible. Many believe a seemingly “prestigious” or “ranked” college equates to greater professional opportunities after graduation, as well as seek the “reward” for a lifetime of effort to best the academic meritocracy.

But I want all this work that I’ve done in high school and the stress of enduring the tedium of high school work, having to sacrifice time and effort away from what I most want to do, to mean something.

High school students when asked why they seek to attend a “prestigious” college

However, being extrinsically motivated, admissions to college is a “commodity” to obtain. Thus, many students (and sometimes their families) simplify a college education to the gold medal for winning the academic competition from the journey of an individual understanding more about their ability and life’s purpose.

Thus, students risk dissatisfaction after receiving admissions decisions, and choosing a college under the duress of grief, potentially mis-choosing. Students then often seek to transfer, having to endure the application process a second time, the emotional costs of revising tact, and the financial expense of having mis-chosen.

Yet without any greater understanding of themselves or why they are attending college at all, students risk mis-chosing once again. Therefore, students should look beyond prestige and consider why they’re seeking a college education and who they are, reflecting on questions such as:

  • What ideas or subjects interest me?
  • Who are the professors and peers, whom are effective collaborators in learning together?
  • What are activities I seek to join outside of the classroom?

With more understanding of themselves and their aspirations, then students can select colleges effectively. Thus, students will be prepared to live life purposefully and prosper.

For more information about how to both plan for and navigate the complex college admissions process in order to minimize the risk of educational malinvestment, check out Creative Marbles Consultancy

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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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