12 Sep Colleges! One size does not fit all
Over Labor Day weekend our family headed down to Southern California to visit with friends and celebrate the unofficial end of summer.
Since everyone that we spend time with has kids that are either attending college or going through the college search process, many a conversation centered around various college-related topics — choosing a college, life at college, where our kids will choose to live after they graduate, will they go to graduate school, etc.
There was one conversation in particular that prompted my writing about it today. Some good family friends have a daughter that has just started her sophomore year at a private school in Boston. I remember working with her to develop her college list and helping her and her parents with college visits. Now her brother, an eleventh-grader, is going through the same process. He has begun visiting schools and he is beginning to get an idea of what he wants (and doesn’t want) in terms of the size and type of campus. He has toured a couple of schools with his sister, who is eager to give him some input. However, upon hearing some of this input, my friend mentioned to me that she is a bit concerned about what she is telling her younger sibling.
Apparently, her input is along the lines of that university is terrible; that college isnt any good; youd never want to go to that college. Most of the ones that she is mentioning aren’t even colleges and universities where she has first-hand knowledge. She has not visited most of them and may not know students who attend.
Whatever the reason she feels the way she does about these schools, and while we know she is well-intentioned, she is actually doing her brother a disservice. There is certainly no terrible university and in fact, what she considers a terrible university may indeed appeal to her brother! They are two entirely distinct human beings that learn differently and have different interests. The schools may not have been the right place for her, but her brother needs to find out for himself what suits him best.
What to keep in mind
Both siblings and parents need to keep in mind that while there are certain colleges and universities (including legacy institutions) that may or may not appeal to them personally, the college search process is a time for self-exploration. Eventually, this younger sibling may come to the same conclusion and find that certain colleges are not the right fit, but he needs to find that out for himself. And while ultimately certain colleges and universities may not best meet his or her criteria, they may be the right fit for someone else.