“I’m not getting into college!” said Abby, a senior at Hopkins in New Haven, Connecticut. Abby went through her college application list: Brown (first choice), Columbia, Penn, Georgetown, University of Chicago, Tufts and Johns Hopkins. Nothing else. That’s not entirely accurate. She mentioned her safety schools – which I won’t do here because it might seem to be critical of several fine schools – but she definitely did not want to go to any of those schools.
When I start my college counseling sessions, I always flip the switch on parents and students. They are heavily focused on finding their dream colleges, which almost always are in the “reach” category. The hardest part of my college counseling work is guiding parents towards finding colleges that they would like to attend but where the admissions possibilities are reasonable.
Here’s the reasoning: those who seek out finding their dream school make the same mistake as house hunters who spend time looking at homes outside their price range. Houses in the lower price range will be a let down.
So it is with the college search. Our college counselors at College Counseling Connecticut are focused on finding great schools for our clients where the probability of acceptance is high. Thereafter, we spend our time finding those dream schools. But we do so in a balanced way.