“They seemed like my people.” Ryan, a high school junior from Valley Regional (Essex, Chester, Deep River CT) said, many years ago. Ryan had worked with me for college counseling and SAT prep. He had several colleges of high interest but when considering early decision, he was not sure which stood out. I asked “which college seemed to be his people.” And, that helped make his decision.
Ryan recently sent me a picture of his wife and child, noting that one of his people was his wife and thanking me for the advice all those years ago.
In providing college counseling for students from Connecticut over the last couple of decades, I’ve noticed a shift.
“Fit” was distinctly the most important aspect of college choice (along with prestige) in the 2000s.
Fit could be translated loosely into “the students at this college seemed to be my people.”
Sometime in the 2010s -as the economic restructuring of our country took hold – “program of study” (along with prestige) gradually but definitely took the top spot.
In part, this trend is a wise reflection of financial realities. College is no longer a 4 year finishing school with career on the back burner. So college-career considerations make sense.
But your children will be living with other students for 4 years. Those people will have a huge impact.
Indeed, I would say that college transfers due to unhappiness stems more from not having one’s people (or a group of friends) than any other factor.
As we have been providing college counseling during the pandemic, we have had to educate many of our college counseling clients about the type of student body of each college. College visits have been curtailed. We (and other college counselors)- and perhaps older siblings – are the best points of education for many students in Shoreline Connecticut.
As you make college decisions, factor in the people. It can make all the difference.