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College Placement - Finding What's Right For You

Authored By: 
Kristin Schmidt, College Guidance Counselor

There are approximately 4,500 colleges in the United States. Whether your child wants to attend a traditional four-year institution, community college, musical conservatory, or an art institute, higher education is a viable option for everyone. As a college placement counselor, if I had to choose the most important thing for students and families to remember about the college process it would be that college is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.

For seniors, the college process has been built up since kindergarten. Now, after just a few short months in the fall, it is finally coming to an end and many students are ready to take control of their education and be accountable for their future. While it is an exciting process with so many possibilities, it can also be draining, time-consuming, and sometimes crushing.

There is a lingering fear of rejection that hangs over students’ heads throughout the entire process. If they don’t get accepted to a top-name school, they may feel worthless, unintelligent, and incapable - a parent’s worst nightmare. But there is no reason to be afraid of this rejection. The truth of the matter is if they don’t get accepted then they just weren’t meant to go to that school. And that’s okay!

The very core of higher education is to provide students the opportunity to foster their passions and interests into a career and become well-rounded citizens of this world. Many students and parents falsely believe that in order to get a quality education you must attend a well-known school, such as one of the Ivies. However, in the long run, it’s not about the name of the school on the diploma but rather the experience that went into earning that degree. Students should strive to find a college where they can succeed academically, that will support their needs, and promotes a campus culture that supports their unique personalities. Not every student is made to attend one of the brand-named schools, but that does not mean they will be denied the opportunity to achieve the best educational experience that is right for them.

Laszlo Bock is the Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, Inc., one of the most prestigious companies for which you could work. Many assume that you need a degree from Harvard or MIT to hold one of the sacred positions in the company, but Bock says that Google does not care where you went to school. Some of its top employees went to state schools, schools that were the best fit for them. Now, these state school graduates are running one of the most influential companies in the world. So remember, the value of your education is not measured by the name of the college you went to, but by how you make the most of your college experience.