How to Succeed in College While Trying | Kent State University

How to Succeed in College While Trying

Select the college that is right for you

By Dr. James Ritter Director, Enrollment Management and Student Services

Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017

The first step to succeeding in college takes place before actually attending college: select the college that is right for you! When considering college options, you should have three types of colleges you are considering:

1. My Top Choice College:

a. I think I might be able to get accepted into this college

b. I think I might be able to afford this college

c. I think I might be willing to move away to this college

d. Example: an elite Ivy League school

2. My Middle Ground College:

a. I am fairly certain I can get accepted into this college

b. I am fairly certain I can afford this college

c. I am fairly certain I am willing to move away to this college

d. Example: a regional state university

3. My Safe Choice College:

a. I know I can get accepted into this college

b. I know I can afford this college

c. I know I am willing to move away or stay home and commute, to this college

d. Example: local state university or community college

Keep in mind the average student changes their major three times over the course of a bachelor’s degree! Unless you are in that very small percentage of students who graduate with the same major they listed on their admission application, you will be changing your major. Therefore, when finalizing your choice of colleges, make sure all three choices have every major you are considering!

Scenario: John wants to major in mechanical engineering and he gets accepted into his Top Choice college that has an outstanding engineering program. However, after his first year of college, John decides that mechanical engineering is not for him so he wants to change his major to architecture. Unfortunately, John chose a college that, although has a fantastic engineering program, does not offer architecture. John has two options at this point and neither option is a good one. The first option is to start the whole college search process over again and look for a college that offers an architecture program and then transfer schools at the end of his first year risking the chance that some courses may not transfer. John’s second option is to stay at his Top Choice college but skip architecture as his new major and go with his third choice of major, history, that he really does not like all that much, but chooses it because his Top Choice college actually has that major. When students select a major they are not passionate about, their chances of ever graduating are decreased significantly. Had John selected a college that had every major he was considering, he would be able to stay at his Top Choice college and simply change majors.