People often say that they want to attend a “top” college. The statement, however, begs the question, “top” at what? The entering students with the highest average test scores, the best football team, the students most involved in creating a better future?
Even if high test scores is the sole criteria in deciding what a top college is, there are many great college choices. Because there are more students applying to college each year, the most selective colleges are accepting fewer and fewer of the students who apply. This means that students who 10 years ago would have been accepted into these same colleges are now looking at colleges that previously might have been considered safety schools. But the strength of these students now attending the colleges that were formerly 2nd tier colleges are of the same quality as the better name colleges were in the recent past. This should be good news for all students. Students just need to realize that the Ivy League colleges and other well known colleges are not the only “top” college in this day of competitive colleges.
There are many excellent colleges in this country and just because you, or your neighbor down the street, hasn’t heard of one doesn’t mean it might not be a great choice for you. The major media often feeds into the hysteria of there only being 10 or 15 colleges in the country that are worth while attending and since they are so difficult to get into now, the rest of the students are forced to consider “lesser” colleges. But there are many of these “lesser” colleges, particularly the liberal arts colleges, that provide an education as good as, if not better than, many of the best known colleges.
Remember that there are approximately 3,500 colleges in this country, not the 10 or even 50 whose names are often mentioned in the national media. Each student should look for the best match for their particular needs, and the sole criteria for whether a college is good or not should not be the number of students they reject each year.