Why Your Interests Matter in the College Admissions Process
When preparing students for the college admissions process, we place a lot of emphasis on identifying and developing students’ interests in addition to good grades and test scores. As we’ve said before, students’ interests are important because it helps colleges make admissions decisions and build well-rounded classes. However, developing students’ interests isn’t just about getting into college – they’re a key factor in helping students succeed during their four-years and after graduation.
Selecting the Right Colleges and Major
These days families and students can misplace their focus in the college admissions process, aiming for “name brand” colleges and choosing the right major that they think will help students land the best jobs after graduation, rather than emphasizing fit. In order to build a balanced college list, students need to research and identify colleges that are great academic, social, and financial fits. Students will be happy and successful at colleges that best fit their needs while studying a field they’re most interested in.
A student studying a subject that doesn’t hold a lot of interest will not do as well in the program simply because he or she is just not passionate about it. Don’t focus simply on ROI or starting salary when selecting what to study or which colleges to apply to. Choosing the right major and colleges that offer the right academic programs that match students’ interests is important to ensure they thrive and graduate in four years. Colleges often offer detailed descriptions of the majors offered at the institution. Majors at Yale, for example, are listed online, along with all of the requirements.
As we’ve said before, colleges have institutional needs, and a student’s selected program of study can factor into the admission decision. Selective colleges and universities want students who are sure of their academic path and have demonstrated meaningful interest in that area through extracurricular activities, course selection, and more. This is where having focused interests is most important because it lets colleges know where a student fits into their campus and gives them reassurance that this student will be successful and graduate in four years.
Making the Most of Your Time in College
Again, your interests and intended major have a huge impact on where you attend college, and if you choose a major or school that doesn’t fit your academic interests or goals you’re less likely to perform well and will miss opportunities to gain meaningful experience. When researching colleges look at the programs, clubs, organizations, and more that are offered outside of the classroom that can help you further your interests or develop new skills. If you’re passionate about writing and design, see if freshmen are able to get involved with the campus magazine. Many colleges and universities have dozens, if not hundreds, of different activities, clubs, and organizations for students that cover a myriad of topics and interests. Look for colleges that fit those needs.
While a college education is meant to help students learn and hopefully prepare them for a future career, higher education is also about exploration and personal growth. By identifying your passions and interests and selecting colleges that fit your needs and goals, you’re not only ensuring you get into a great-fit college, you’re also setting yourself to have an extremely fulfilling college experience.