How to make any college your dream school

Didn’t get into your top choice? Here’s what you should do.
Don't fret if you don't end up at your top choice.iStock

We all know that not getting into your so-called dream college can be crushing, but educational consultant Kristin M. White has a message to high school seniors everywhere: It’s possible to turn any school you go to into a fantastic experience.


We asked White, the author of the new book “It’s the Student, Not the College,” for her tips for high school seniors currently figuring out where to enroll this fall.


What should you do if you don’t get into your dream school?


“It doesn’t matter what college you go to; it’s really what you make of it,” White stresses. She notes in her book that students who get the same grades (regardless of where they went to school) usually end up getting the same job opportunities. “A lot of students have this idea of a dream college and think it will affect their future or get them a better experience than another college, but studies have shown that it really doesn’t matter.”


What should students consider when making their final decision?

“Students should find a financial fit to make sure that they do not take on too much debt,” says White. Potential students should also look at the course catalog and try to imagine what classes they’d be interested in. It’s important, she says, “to focus on choosing the right classes” for your interests.

How can students get over the fact that they didn’t get into their first choice?

White recommends that students focus on all of the good things about the school they end up choosing. “Go on another campus visit or log on to the school’s Facebook group,” she advises. “Look at the things they have for new students.” Once you are actually on campus, she recommends fully throwing yourself into student life. “Go visit your professors [during office hours] and get out of your comfort zone by meeting unexpected people, like those from different countries.”

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