Have you set your mind on the university you want to attend? Is your dream university the only option you’re considering? Have you considered planning to study abroad?
The college application procedure is filled with anxiety and stress from all the paperwork, deadlines, tests, essays and interviews. For a person who is coming right out of high school it can be an overwhelming process. Or an international student who aims to study abroad (and the insufferable stress of scheduling visa appointments, meetings with embassies and so on)
On the way to choosing the perfect university based on prestige, rankings, tuition fees, career opportunities, majors, location, and so on, people may get so caught up in the process that they may forget what the real mission of the college is, which is education.
Don’t stress out just yet!
If you worry that you may not get accepted to your first choice university, then maybe you need to reconsider your choice. Take a moment and think about your long-term vision and your purpose in life. What is the core of your potential? Who do you wish to become? What drives and motivates you and your actions? Do you want to work in a big company, or do you want to build your own company? Do you like working alone for long hours on complex technical tasks or do you prefer applying your skills and knowledge in a group of people?
These are questions that you must answer before you even start applying for colleges because those answers will give you a hint on the kind of life you will want to build after you graduate. The university you go to, often doesn’t matter as much as the knowledge, experience and connections you make in it. This doesn’t mean that top universities don’t offer the same knowledge, experience and connections, but rather that other less popular universities can offer those things too, sometimes in higher amounts.
While Ivy League universities are tailored to prepare students for a highly competitive job market, other lower-ranking universities may better promote soft skills such as teamwork, flexibility, emotional and social intelligence. Universities such as Harvard, Stanford and MIT may ensure that after graduation, students get good jobs with very high salaries and they may also prepare students to take leading positions in global companies. However, they don’t ensure that students will be happy and fulfilled with their career paths. That’s why sometimes going to a university that doesn’t put so much pressure on students to achieve and has a less competitive environment can be healthier for students and enhance their future success.
Having free time to form social connections, engage in creative activities and reflect on one’s own life is essential for a student’s health, happiness and future success. Students with an entrepreneurial personality might take this free time to start applying an idea that they believe in. One day, this idea may turn into their life calling. Other students may take the free time to develop their interests and learn about topics they personally like. In a few words, there are multiple ways in which going to a less prestigious university can help students engage in personal growth and achieve even higher than students who have attended top Ivy League colleges.
So, instead of thinking about getting into top universities just because of their rankings and reputation, think about getting into a university that will fit your personality, your life purpose and will make you feel good. If you do that, you’ll see that everything else will flow as a consequence.