If you are in the throes of the college application process as a student or parent, chances are you have been the subject of a lot of well-meaning advice. It seems as if everybody has an opinion about what you need to do during this time, and they have lots of information to pas along to you.
Chances are, you’ve heard from relatives, admissions staff, teachers, guidance counselors, and concerned relatives. What you may not realize is that much of the information you are getting is utter bunk. It is purely based on the kind of myth that the top universities don’t want you to uncover. Here are eight examples of that.
If you want to take part in important research projects, you have to go to Ivy League or other upper crust schools. Don’t you?
There’s no wonder that people believe this. After all, it is a myth that is perpetuated not only by educators but also pop culture. When you watch television shows or movies where scientists are doing really important things, the names of prestigious schools are nearly always evoked.
Myth Busted: A great portion of important scientific research is backed by government dollars. State schools get first dibs on that. In fact, seven of the ten universities receiving the most funds from the fed... in 2011 for research and development were state schools.
You won’t get in at that Fortune 200 company with a degree from a small school or a state school. Having that college on your resume will sink your chances at getting a good job. Pay to go to that Ivy League school. It’s worth the money.
People insist that attending elite schools is mandatory if you want to land great jobs. Because of this, many students feel pressured to go into debt.
Myth Busted: Getting into a competitive school is certainly a good thing. However, employers will be just as impressed by skills, work experience, and academic talent. Not only is it possible to find success at any school, George Lucas, Tom Hanks, Amy Tan, and astronaut Eileen Collins all got their start attending community colleges.
Not only is this statement extraordinarily prejudicial, it is simply untrue. There are colleges and universities all over the world that offer educational opportunities that more than rival anything you can find in the United States or at a satellite school that is located in another country.
By attending a foreign college or university, you can immerse yourself in new cultures, gain valuable experience, and make networking connections on a global level. Each of these things will serve you well in the future.
Are you worried about cost or a language barrier? Don’t be. Many colleges and universities in Europe or Asia offer courses in English. Some foreign colleges are even tuition-free, although you will have to cover your living expenses.
Myth Busted: You can save money and gain global experience at a foreign university.
If you really crave the typical four-year college experience, go for it. You won’t regret it. On the other hand, if it doesn’t appeal to you don’t worry about it. Plenty of people foregoes all of that stuff in order to focus solely on academics and meet their goal of graduating.
Don’t let anybody convince you that you need to have a particular experience in college, or attend a particular school to get that experience. As long as you accomplish your objectives and keep your thoughts focused where they should be (your future), you will be just fine. You don’t need to be the big man on campus at one of the most powerful colleges and universities.
Myth Busted: If you are happy and confident in your present and future, you won’t regret what you may have missed in college.
If you were to listen to some people, you might believe that the only way to make something of yourself is to go to college. Because of this, many people go into debt to obtain degrees when the truth is, they would be better off pursuing something else.
If a college doesn’t seem right for you, consider pursuing a trade, working your way up through a great organization, or even starting your own business. Even if higher education is in your future, you have options beyond pursuing a formal education. Online options such as free open course learning have made higher education accessible to nearly everyone.
Myth Busted: If a four-year college isn’t for you, maybe an apprenticeship or other opportunity is in your future.
This is where pervasive thinking can lead you down the wrong path. It is human nature to assume that higher cost equals higher value. In truth, there is no evidence that this is the case. Nowhere is this more true than with higher education.
Myth Busted: Don’t let anyone convince you that more expensive, private schools offer anything better than public universities. The truth is, unless you are pursuing a few very specific careers, your prospects are just as good if you attend a public university instead of a pricey, private school.
I’ve never heard of that school. It can’t possibly have anything to offer. Attend a lesser known school, and you will hear this more than once. It’s a shame that people let their prejudices close their minds.
There are thousands of schools across the United States, many are quite small. Don’t let this turn you off to the opportunity to attend these schools. In fact, you may find that these schools are exceptionally innovative and offer opportunities that others do not. For example, Deep Springs College in the Mojave Desert offers an immersive two-year program that combines, academics, work experience, and much more. Even better, it’s free!
Myth Busted: That school you never heard of could be the one that offers the education you never realized you needed.
There’s so much pressure for students to pick the right major. Even worse, this important decision is laid at the feet of people who are between the ages of 17 and 19. Why on earth would we expect people to make such an earth shattering decision at that age?
Here’s some good news. It isn’t all that earth-shattering. Changing majors is less of a big deal than people think. In addition to this, many people never work in their chosen field. That’s okay as well.
Myth Busted: The major you choose does not define your future.
Don’t buy into the myths! Choose your educational path based on what is best for you instead. You won’t regret it.