Juniors, here’s a good way to focus your college search, find colleges that are right for you, and improve your chances of getting in: as you’re looking at colleges, pretend the names have been replaced with serial numbers. Your future college sweatshirt and decal on the car might be “0873.”
Now, there’s no pretense of name-brand cache. You can’t be drawn to a college just because it’s prestigious. You have to identify what you really want from a school, what type of environment is best for you, a place where you could be happy and successful for four years.
If you go through your entire college search consistently imagining that the names have been replaced, you will have much better answers when applications and interviewers ask you why you’ve decided to apply. You’ll have a better chance of getting in and being happy once you get there. And when you buy the real sweatshirt, the name on it will be the right school for you.