What does your Dream College look like?

It could be a beautiful campus with a manicured lawn, historic architecture and a rich tradition of academic honors. It could be where Mom and Dad attended which is where their parents attended. It could be where sports are king, or theater is respected. Everyone has their own definition of a dream school. Maybe you choice is based on someone else’s definition, like US News and World Report’s ranking. All may lead you to the college that fulfills your own goals and dreams BUT because it's someone else's criteria, it may not. 

While students and families have good intentions, many times the dream college is based on priorities that aren't aligned with the student and family priorities. I've seen many a family select colleges that don't follow their own ranking. The most ignored ranking is cost. While it may be near the top of a family ranking, I've seen it take a back seat to things like athletics (watching), campus architecture, beautifully manicured lawns and dorms that mirror high end apartments with restaurant quality food. All great things if they fit into the ranking hierarchy. (Although your student may be in for a surprise when their $30,000/year job will not allow them to live as they've been accustomed to while at college.)

I read an article a while ago that discussed why students chose to NOT attend their dream school. Cost was #1 but other reasons puzzled me because I feel they should have researched BEFORE becoming their dream school. Almost 10% didn't like the location, 8% didn't like the academic reputation, and an amazing 6.6% said the college didn't offer their major. 

So, before you dub a college your Dream School, please make sure it fits into YOUR definition of a Dream School!

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