I can’t even count the number of students (and parents) I’ve met who have spent hour upon hour dreaming of an acceptance letter from the wrong school with the right name. You know what I’m talking about – UCLA, great name, wrong size (for you) ; NYU, great name, wrong city (for you); Cornell, great name, wrong academic approach (for you). Of course all three of these institutions are reputable, but that doesn’t guarantee a match made.
Push yourself to be real with what’s both important and necessary for you in a college. So, get real. Get real about who you are, what you can contribute and what you need to be successful in college. Get real about why a ‘name’ is important. Now before anyone accuses me of shattering dreams, in fact, I strive to do just the opposite. I understand we all have a UCLA, NYU of Cornell and no matter what, we apply “just to see” if we’ll be admitted. Go for it, but don’t let your college list consist of 90% “just to see” schools. If students dedicated the amount of time spent focusing on a dream school on finding other schools that want them for exactly who they are, 10 new dreams would emerge.