Do you fit into High-Ranking Institutions?

Do you fit into High-Ranking Institutions?

The reality is that, many students regret attending the college which they and their families imagined to be the perfect place for them. This notion of the “best college” is often decided through countless ranking sites, general prestige and advertisements. This makes college like the perfect place to be in.

A major part of a young student\’s life in India is comprised of a dream of being able to attend high-ranking colleges such as Stanford, Harvard, Cambridge, MIT and Oxford. This is because, each year, more and more students are applying to universities abroad.

A student who has been significantly exposed to popular media is dreaming of sitting among the red-bricked walls of Harvard. They also mesmerize studying in the gothic halls of Cambridge. This is one of the first and biggest decisions of many students in their lives. Therefore, students desire to attend the best universities abroad.

This ambition has an admirable quality. This is a powerful ambition that the students embody whenever they start their journey of application. In the Indian culture, the wide view is that the success of the student is based on the college into which a high school student can gain admission to. Under this condition, the student is more successful if he or she is admitted to a higher-ranked college.

However, students are subjected to stress and disappointment due to the ambition that is coupled with the mounting societal pressure around success. In the situation of tension, the factors that mandated them to apply abroad often become too easy and simple. Moreover, the college reality is something they have not really expected.

Look at the following examples:

Do you wish to pursue Computer Science at the Washington University? Are you ready to go through rigorous classes in order to apply to the most selective major which has a very low chance of admitability?Do you wish to pursue education at Boston University? Are you interested to walk through the streets of Boston in order to get to your classes in less than 15 minutes?

The reality is that, many students regret attending the college which they and their families imagined to be the perfect place for them. This notion of the “best college” is often decided through countless ranking sites, general prestige and advertisements. This makes college like the perfect place to be in.

Therefore, students must know that most advertisements and rankings are often designed to mislead students. In academics, a high-ranking college can mean many different things. It may include that the college has a strong faculty. However, the fact that professors rarely teach undergraduate students can still be hidden.

Dark side of a ranking system

The ranking system also has a dark side. For instance, the recent scandal in the Columbia University showed that the rank of the university was recently brought down from the second position to the eighteenth position. This took place after one of the Maths professors had questioned the statistics used for its ranking.

Thus, applying to a college just because it is highly ranked must be questioned. There is no such thing as a best college. However, there is this concept of a good-fit college. A good fit college takes into account the quality of the institution. Moreover, it takes into account on whether the place will be a natural fit for you to survive.

Many students feel that making the choice of college that they wish to go to by themselves is the best decision they could have made. Moreover, when applying to top ranked colleges, a good amount of organised research is far more systematic.

Research is an important part of the process even though it is daunting at times. It is crucial to learn how to personalise a list of preferences. The most crucial aspect of the pre-college journey of a students is the process of gathering a small list of colleges that one wishes to apply.

Students must question themselves with various possibilities such as:

  • What do they like?
  • What do they not like?

This helps the students in scrutinizing their strengths and weaknesses. Later, you must create various parameters that will help you to narrow down from a large pool of colleges that you wish to apply to.

Do you wish to apply to big colleges in a small town or to a college that has been integrated into a bustling metropolis? Do you have any college preference that you would really not like to attend?

Consider the case when you like sports. Does the college you wish to opt offer you the opportunity to play your favourite sport? What kinds of competitions does the colleges offer to their students? How is the strength of the team? Do you wish to pursue your education in a college which does not have a strong sports infrastructure?

Such non-negotiable criteria will help you make the list shorter. Some people may have the criteria of going to a prestigious college non-negotiable. Also, one can keep strong academics or research funding as their non-negotiable criteria depending upon their interest.

However, other factors such as sports, location, number of international students, diversity, student’s clubs and sports must definitely be thought about.

Is academia your priority? Do you wish your education to be intellectually challenging? Or do you wish to become an entrepreneur? Do you wish to have a group of friends who are interested in entrepreneurial projects? Along with likes and dislikes, you must think of the kind of education that would matter you the most.

Steps after narrowing down a college or university

You can narrow down your preferences according to the factors mentioned above in order to sort the type of college you would like to go to very easily and systematically. After the candidate can sort their preferences, they can do one of the four things:

  • You must talk to a professional counsellor present at your school or outside
  • You must then find credible and unbiased websites that will help you to research on the colleges and understand the system of their rankings
  • Also, you must practice poaching the college website
  • Finally, the important thing is that, you must talk to the current students and alumni on various platforms such as the LinkedIn or through the college admissions office.

Also, it is necessary to question the search from time to time. Moreover, you must ask yourself whether what you are reading is genuine information or advertisement. It is always an advantage to have friends, counselors, and parents to assist you.

Good fit college is relative

Above all, a “good fit” college search is inherently relative. You must create your own rankings that suit your abilities and preferences. Your college list can be further arranged into:

  • Dream colleges
  • Reach colleges
  • Safety colleges

depending on your school grades, test scores, and acceptance rates of your college. If you wish to gain financial assistance from the college, you must find out whether the college offers financial aid to international students and the procedure of offering them.

Does this mean that one must not consider high-ranked colleges? However, applying to a college is a process and it is not just about specific colleges. You must mainly take into account on how a college fits into your aspirations, goals, wants and capacity.

Applying to a university such as Harvard is certainly ambitious. However, it is necessary to be realistic as this offers one more scope for success and considerably low stress further down the line.

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