When trying to pick the college you want to go to, so much more than the academic quality of the school matters. Sure, the most important parts of college are getting a quality education, and getting a degree that will help you eventually land a great job in your field of choice. But you probably won’t succeed at either of these things if you don’t like your college.
And in order to like your college, you will need to like a lot more than just your classes. The location, the social environment, the available activities, the cost — all of these factors will affect how you feel about your school to varying degrees. And how you feel about your school can ultimately determine how you perform at your school.
That is what makes the college application process so important, and so difficult. You are forced to weigh all of these factors without even really knowing anything about them. You have never been to college before, or done anything even remotely like college, so how could you know what will make you like a school more than another? And how will you actually know anything about a college before you go there for a few months?
Applying for a college is basically guessing what you are going to think about that college without any real insight. College visits can help a lot, and so can talking to students that go there. But ultimately, you will have to go with your gut.
What makes this harder is how competitive college admissions is. You may end up finding the school that speaks directly to your gut, and seems perfect in every way, only to realize that your resume doesn’t quite cut it, or your grades aren’t quite high enough.
So what do you do? Applying for a college is a time-consuming and sometimes expensive process. Should you potentially waste your time and money just to be rejected?
It’s a complicated question. Whether your reach school is Virginia Tech, or Villanova’s master of taxation online program, here are some pros and cons to help you decide whether you should apply for it.
Pro- You Might Get Lucky
It may seem farfetched, but there are actually plenty of reasons you might get into a college you don’t quite qualify for. Colleges are required to meet certain diversity standards, and maybe they are low on applicants for your demographic this year. Maybe the admissions person will just be in a great mood that day. Anything can happen
Con- You Could Use that Time to Apply Somewhere Else
Getting into any college is never a guarantee, so wasting time applying somewhere you have no chance at is wasting time you could spend on a more realistic option.
Pro- Maybe Your Reach School Isn’t a Reach
People have a hard time assessing their own value when applying for colleges, and in life. There is a chance you are selling yourself short, and you are really a lock to get into what you thought was a reach school.