Where you choose to go to college or grad school will define what you do in the future. It’ll set you out on a certain career path; it’ll be where you meet lifelong friends; and it will influence the way you think, the books you read, and the professors you connect with.
Some smart people (who clearly have loads of time to just sit around and THINK) choose a college or grad school based on “fit” – that is, where they’ll fit in culturally and academically. They choose a school based on professional and educational goals, curriculum, intellectual rigor, extracurricular opportunities, social or religious diversity, location, cost…and the list goes on and on. Who has time to think about all that?
Here – we’ve made this silly decision-making process easy for you by boiling down your decision points to the following 4 criteria:
- Published rankings – If U.S. News or BusinessWeek say that Harvard or Stanford or Princeton (or whatever school they choose this year) is the best, then it really must be, for you and for everyone…no questions asked. The rankings should be the most prominent guide in helping you decide which schools are best for you. Don’t even consider applying anywhere that’s not in the top 5. Imagine what people will think of you if you don’t end up at one of the world’s best schools?
- What your parents or best friend or the most popular kid in school want – Your dad went to Penn, your best friend is a freshman there this year, and the most popular kid in school just got in Early Decision. You would be a fool to consider going anywhere else. After all, if Penn was the best choice for these super important people, then it’s obviously the best choice for you.
- Which school has the best weather – Obviously sunshine implies educational excellence.
- Where you’ll get the best grades doing as little work as possible – Ever hear of grade inflation? You want to choose a school that’s known for making its students work as little as possible. College/grad school isn’t the place to work; it’s the place to slack off and party! Go with the school that will challenge you the least.
I know, I know. The above points still require you to think a bit more than you may like. If this is causing too much of a brain-ache, then I would recommend the following for you: Slap together an application, do a Find and Replace to change the name of the school you’re applying to, and send it off to 20-30 schools whose websites feature the best looking people. One of them is bound to accept you. And who knows, maybe after you’ve partied your way through the first year, you’ll earn a spot on the school’s website too!
HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY!