Not all kids go to their first choice school – keep college options open
Waiting for that “first” college choice is a high anxiety event. One thing that I have learned through this process is that you never close the door on any of your options. Each of my three college children picked different first choices and none of them went to their first choices. Just before the deadline of May 1st, a family meeting was planned to discuss which college would be their best choice. We try to honor their choices, but made it clear that nothing was out of the question. We made it a point to consider their academic majors first, college location, extracurriculars and finally, costs.
My first child played a sport in college and continues to this day. This was a priority right from the start. She went on to play two sports and location became very important to us. We were able to make a couple of her games and enjoyed every minute of it. She is a junior now and to this day we continue to make as many games as possible. My second child wanted things-to-do. Although he was a three sport athlete in high school, he did not want to play one in college. Things-to-do involved clubs, intramurals, and student government. In the end, his college choice had everything he wanted, including a sibling he could be with. This was a big plus and it has provided him with a shared experience that he will cherish for a lifetime. For my third college student, sports and an academic major became a large factor for his college selection. Although not a deciding factor, but certainly an appealing one, was the ability to play basketball at a small Division 1 program. Combined with a major he wanted and a warm climate, he was sold.
For my soon-to-be freshman, she wants to major in biology, play basketball and remain fairly close to home (at least 1-2 hours away). As we narrow her choices, she needs to be as specific as possible. Currently, we are reviewing the 10 schools she applied to. As we review them, we look for her major specifications. Is there a biology major? If need be, could she transition into a pre-professional program such as dentistry? Secondly, is there a basketball program that she may have a chance to play on? This is the unknown factor. As we consider this option she needs to make contact with the coach, meet the players and more importantly, consider what she will do if she doesn’t make the team or decides to quit. Lastly, she wants to be close to home, but if she could fulfill all of her dreams, she may have to increase her distance from home.
This unfortunately becomes a stressful time especially as her friends begin to make their selection and everyone begins to ask “What college are you going to?” In the end, staying on course and staying focused will enable us to make the right choice.