How Important is Where You Go to College?

Published by Wendy Nelson on

rolled-diploma-mdPopular New York Times columnist, Frank Bruni, just released a new book called, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be.  I have not read it yet, but I have read much of the press around it, as well as articles Bruni has written, and I understand and agree with his assertions.

In a guest post for The College Solution, Bruni writes, “What we desperately need to do in this country is change the focus of the discussion from where you go to college to how you use college.”

Parents and students get way too stressed out during the college search process about what will happen if they don’t get into the “right” college or can’t afford to go to the “right” college.

Bruni shares the alma maters of many successful people to illustrate the point that you don’t need to attend a top university to be successful.

It is the opportunities that a student takes advantage of in college that matter far more than the school name on the diploma.

  • Internships
  • Research 
  • Honors College
  • Special Projects
  • Study Abroad
  • Special Study Programs

These are just a few of the opportunities students can take advantage of at most schools.  These are the opportunities that will grow and define the person you become, not where you go to college.

As your student starts, continues or finishes the college search process, depending on how old they are, I encourage you to keep this in mind.  Don’t stress out if you child’s SAT/ACT score isn’t high enough to shoot for the Ivy League.  Don’t worry if you can’t afford a school with a $40,000 + tuition price.  Encourage your child not to take rejection letters personally.

A student can be successful no matter where they go to college.  The college search process should be focused on finding schools that offer great opportunities for your student and fit your family’s budget.

It’s not where you go to college that matters.  It’s “how” you go to college that matters.