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College - What’s In a Name?

1 month til SAT registration deadline, 9/6/13!

Having one of the best public school systems in the nation and a plethora of fabulous private schools, Arlington County is famous for sending students to the most prestigious schools in the nation. With hundreds of kids attending UVA each year from the area, and various other graduates heading to places like Princeton, Harvard, and Yale, the pressure is on to go to a college where the name catches everyone’s attention.

                So what happens when you can’t get in to the likes of Princeton, Harvard, Yale, or UVA?

                No matter what you think, you’re not alone. Just because Arlington is home to many extremely smart teens, not everyone has a 4.5 GPA and that’s okay. Everyone has different strengths and interests and college is the best place time and place to foster those different strengths and interests. Thus, it is important that you go to the college that is right for you, not the college that has a prestigious name but may be completely wrong for your individual character.

                I cannot stress this enough. THERE IS A COLLEGE FOR EVERYONE. When my mom said this to me for the first time four years ago when I was entering my freshman year of high school, I did something that not many teenage girls do. I listened to her, and realized that she is right. With over 9000 colleges in the world, there is at least one that will fit your needs, wants, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, interests and goals. The four years you will spend in college are some of the most important ones of your life, and they are not ones to be wasted at a school that isn’t right for you.

So, even if you do have the 4.5 GPA, but think those big name schools aren’t right for you, try and visit the little ones. And for those who don’t have a GPA that high, don’t stress. Search the web, take online college quizzes, and research schools based on your interests. Don’t limit your college search just because you want to be able to say the name of a popular school when people ask where you’re headed for college. Chances are, if the name is all you care about, you’ll wind up unhappy with your choice, and sometimes that bad choice can have extremely negative effects on you and your life. If a school is right for you, it doesn’t have to be right for anyone else.

I’ll end on a personal note. My freshman year, I was sure I was going to go to UVA or Stanford. Nobody told me you had to be in the top 5% of your class to be a likely at either school. Then, when I started doing college visits, I went in sure I wanted a big school with a football team that everyone knew about. When I began to do more and more visits, my outlook changed once again. I realized I loved small schools. When I went down to Florida, I visited a small liberal arts college with a little over 1,800 undergrads. To my surprise, I fell in love. It’s now one of my top schools and I’m extremely excited to begin applying in the fall. When I talk about it almost no one has heard of it, but I find myself going on and on about all of the things I adore about the school. When people hear me gushing about it, their reaction is much more rewarding than the reaction I would’ve gotten had I said the name of a big Ivy League university. So, don’t pick the name of a school. Pick the SCHOOL, no matter how many people have heard of it. 

Posted: Aug 09, 2013 by Rachel Robertson

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