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The Reality of the College Search

There has always been an undercurrent of stress coursing through upperclassmen regarding future education and universities. It seems like everyone is anxious about their future and the unknown looming ahead. Some students worry about maintaining ...

There has always been an undercurrent of stress coursing through upperclassmen regarding future education and universities. It seems like everyone is anxious about their future and the unknown looming ahead. Some students worry about maintaining a high GPA. Some are worried about the financial aspect of college as well. There are even a few students who are aiming for the Ivy League. However, most students do not realize that the status of the college they attend does not always ensure a positive future past graduation. The most important thing is what you do at the college you choose, not where you go.

Of course Harvard and Yale look great on a resume when you're applying for jobs after college, but there have been studies conducted following the lives of former students of Ivy League schools, and a surprising amount of them are facing unemployment. This is primarily due to the rough economy over the past few years, but it is still unexpected. And since money is tighter in most families and university endowments are down, the question about whether or not an elite college is even worth the investment comes about.

What does seem to be consistently important is student engagement. The most important thing you can do in college aside from earn good grades is show interest in your field and take part in worthwhile activities. Talking to professors, partaking in groups or clubs and taking up leadership positions in an area that interests you, for example, are all beneficial both as part of the college experience and as part of an eventual resume.

Students investigating and visiting colleges are currently looking to get an idea of the life one would lead in this environment, and whether they would be happy enrolling there for four years. This is the best way to judge whether a college is right for you, not by the reputation a college has or whether it will increase your chances of being a millionaire in the future. The best way to judge whether a college is right for you is to see whether you can envision yourself there and if it offers quality classes and majors in any of the interests you are passionate about. Many Ivy League schools are very expensive, hard to stay afloat in academically, and may not even prove as beneficial in your life as you would have thought. Ivy League colleges are not a magic ticket towards a life of unconditional success. It mainly pays off to go with that "gut instinct" that every college tour guide tells you about. If you have not experienced this feeling yet when visiting a school, even if it is prestigious and impressive, go with what your gut says; you may thank yourself later on.

Sources used for this article : Where You Go To College Doesn't Matter, Joie Jager-Hyman, Forbes.com ; Does Where You Go To College Really Matter? Huffington Post, April 2010 ; Does It Matter Where You Go To College, New York Times, November 2010.

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