Tips on the College Decision-Making Process
The Garden State Woman Education Foundation (GSWEF) was able to speak with Danny Ruderman, America's leading college counselor. We had a few questions and received great advice on the college decision-making process.
How do you define a "good college"?
- Danny defines a "good college" as one in which a student can thrive, not just academically, but personally as well. He said that a good college is one where a student can become their best self.
How important to college success is living arrangements, i.e., on campus vs off campus?
- Danny explained that living arrangements on campus is possibly most beneficial for freshman as it will be their first time living independently. The most important part of living on campus that students living at home won't be able to experience as much is being able to meet new people. Even after a students' freshman year, living on campus is still valuable because it will allow them to meet and learn from a variety of new people.
What are 3 top priorities when selecting a college?
- Danny quickly responded that he has 4 top priorities when selecting a college, which he calls the 4 Buckets. The first is academics. A student should see if the college they are considering has the curriculum and academic opportunities that aligns with their career aspirations. The second is location. Does a student want to be in a quiet community? Or a city environment? The location of a college ultimately depends on what environment the student wants to be in. The third bucket is the type of students. The types of students that attend a certain college determines the type of atmosphere, vibe, of the campus. For example, a student that is interested in being an athlete may want to go to a school where students take sports very seriously. Or maybe they would like to attend a school where many students participate in Greek life. The types of students at a college will help an incoming college student decide if they will find others with common interests and goals. Lastly, the fourth bucket Danny explained is career. It is important that a student attends a school that has plenty of career opportunities and resources that align with their career goals.
How much consideration should parents give to the temperament, character, of the student when helping select a college to apply to?
- Danny explained that he believes a parent and their child must have a conversation about what college will be best. It can be hard for parents as it is the first time their child will be leaving and becoming more independent. Although their child is 18 and old enough to know what they want, a parent has more experience. This is why communication and having a conversation with each other is so important.
What are the benefits of applying to scholarships?
- Lastly, Danny shared some helpful advice on the benefits of applying to scholarships. He said applying to scholarships is a huge and important part of the college decision-making process. He mentioned how he would not have attended Stanford University if it were not for both Stanford scholarships, he received and outside scholarships he applied for. They had been a huge help for him and his family when he was attending college. He always encourages students to apply to as many scholarships they can as it can help them afford college.
Danny provided insightful tips on the college decision-making process and the importance of scholarships. You can find him here: https://www.dannyruderman.com/
Choosing a college is an important step in a person's life. Another tip we'd like to add has to do with what to do when faced with a rejection letter. Remember to have the right state of mind when faced with rejection so that you can turn that rejection into an opportunity.
The college acceptance deadline for most schools is on May 1st. It is important that graduating high school seniors are well-informed about such an important life decision. The Garden State Woman Education Foundation is here as a resource as we strive to encourage the journey of gaining knowledge for all students.
The GSWEF Jack Killion Entrepreneurial Scholarship is now accepting applications. Apply by July 1st, 2022.
You can find more information and apply here: www.gswoman.com/jack-killion-scholarship
For questions or to apply, you can email:
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