To Commit and Where to Commit is the Question

By Aparajita 2021-04-23

1, 2, 4... 5?! If there are multiple emails in your inbox containing confetti, it’s a no-brainer that you’ve hit the jackpot. Congratulations, this is where the real tussle begins ;)

For the next four or so years, the college you decide to attend is going to be your home. It will adorn your CV, slip into casual conversations with friends who have absolutely no idea (or interest in) what you’re talking about. It is going to be the lego block around which you build your picture-perfect life. 

>Insert “problem of choice”<

Here is a college that has a fantastic global ranking. But, that one has a course structure that truly appeals to you. This one will give you the opportunity to learn from a community of diverse individuals but another promises intimacy, a sense of belongingness. And of course, there’s the weather to be taken into account, the proximity to a beach, the city, the Greek life, the campus culture … and so the conundrum continues.

“It is, sir,…a small college, and yet there are those who love it!”

While arguing a Dartmouth-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1818, Daniel Webster, Class of 1801, delivered this memorable line. This became so popular that it now forms an integral part of Dartmouth’s essay prompts. The case we are trying to argue here is not unlike Mr. Webster’s. Diverse or intimate, renowned or niche - the college experience is one that will stay with you for the rest of your life. So pick a college that you would love to be a part of.

How do you do that? Here are some key factors to consider!

  • Motive. Ask yourself why you’re going to college. Is it for academic gyaan? Are you a budding research scholar? Do you wish to have exposure to cutting edge-tech and beat Mr. Musk at his game? Or, (addressing the elephant in the blog) do you simply want to have a gala time?

  • Every college has a story waiting to be rediscovered. Read up on its founding principles, the symbolic significance of its motto. Find out if you truly resonate with the ethos of the college.

  • Although the college’s overall ranking is important, we suggest that you prioritize the value of your chosen major through the offerings of particular curricula, faculty members, and research facilities. (Consider stalking the achievements of notable alumni!)

  • Scrutinize the set of extracurricular activities that a college offers. Do the societies, teams, and clubs on campus match your interests and/or excite you?

  • Ultimately, it boils down to how well you connect to the culture of a college. As is evident from Mr. Webster’s quote and Dartmouth’s fame, size is simply a preference. To select the perfect college, you must gauge your cultural preferences. Do you prefer intimacy over diversity? Are you attracted to or intimidated by sororities and fraternities? Do you play or love the sport a college’s team is famous for? Is an artsy campus more your jam or are you drawn to the grandeur of the Ivies?

When it comes to deciding things for your home, no detail is trivial. That includes the weather and location. If you’re someone who detests winters as much as I do, you’d best be vocal about it now than when your chattering teeth make coherence a distant memory. So when you’re pulling out tufts of hair, staring at your pros-and-cons list, remember to weigh in that love of the ocean or your penchant for skiing!

Only if you make room for your preferences, can you eventually share a room with your preferences!


Read: How to choose a major