For those of you who have been following my personal journey through the college admissions process with my high school senior, I am pleased to report that my son has chosen to attend Carnegie Mellon in the fall. Our family is very excited and I am very proud of my son for choosing an option that is certain to initially put him way outside his comfort zone. I say that because he has always lived in the temperate climate of southern California and the culture at Carnegie Mellon is very different than that found at west coast colleges.
He truly made the choice based on where he felt he would get the academic experience he was seeking yet at the same time would put him in an campus environment he felt would be challenging, expand his horizons and help continue to build his character. I tell you all this because I couldn’t agree more with the thought process he used to make his decision. He had a total of six colleges from which to choose. One of his top choices, University of California Santa Barbara (my alma mater!) sits right on the ocean and on sunny days is filled with cute girls walking around in short shorts or bikinis (no joke!) My son was accepted to the Honors Program there and was VERY tempted to accept their offer. (I wondered if those teenage male hormones would over-power his logic!) UCSB is a fine school and I’m sure he would have received a fine education there – but after visiting Carnegie Mellon, it was clear that CMU would be able to offer him more. (And with a $15,000/year scholarship to boot! The power of college matching shines through!)
I encourage you to begin speaking to your student early during his high school years to instill in him how to approach the college decision-making process. Teaching him how to maintain the right perspective on how to make this very important life decision can not only lessen your stress, but increase the chances that your student will intuitively know how to make the right college choice on his own.
All the best,