Myth #1 – It’s better to get good grades than take challenging courses.When you have even modest success in advanced or accelerated courses, it indicates to a college that you can handle challenging courses – like those you will find in college. A challenging college preparatory program or some advanced placement courses will help you get into more selective colleges.
Myth #2 – The standardized tests (ACT, PSAT, & SAT) are more important than your high school grades.
Colleges know that your performance in high school is a better predictor of college success than the standardized tests. That does not mean that most colleges will ignore your SAT or ACT scores
Myth #3 – I need to decide on my career before I can choose a college.
College is your time to explore. Except in a few specific situations, you can choose a major in your sophomore year and still complete the degree in four years. A surprising number of students discover their ideal field while taking a course they didn’t expect to like. If you’re not ready, don’t let well-meaning friends pressure you into deciding on a major field or a career before you choose a college. Take your time.
Myth #4 – You can’t get into a selective college if you did poorly in 9th or 10th grade.
Colleges look for improvement in performance as a sign that you can and will do the work. In fact, a vast improvement as a junior and senior indicates to a college that you have settled down. However, do not expect to catch up for three poor years in one good semester as a senior.
Myth #5 – If I haven’t heard of a college or university, it can’t be very good.
You may not hear about many of the nation’s finest colleges until you are well into your adult life. Athletics on television is how most colleges get to be known, but many great colleges do not get that kind of exposure. Some of the nation’s finest colleges don’t play big-time athletics. Judge a college on its own merits. Don’t let name recognition determine a good or bad college.
Myth #6 – Colleges need students so it’s easier to be admitted.
Selective private colleges and most state-supported colleges and universities get more qualified applicants than they can possibly accept. While some colleges are having difficulty attracting students, many of these have chosen to get smaller rather than admit unqualified students. Some colleges have lowered their standards, but this also can be a problem for you. The admissions standards might have been lowered, but what a college and its faculty expect of students might not have changed.
Myth #7 – You should go to the most prestigious college to which you are admitted.
You should go to the college that “fits” you best. If it happens to be prestigious, that’s fine. However, fit has to do with how you feel when you are on campus, that matches with how you learn and how the professors teach, along with the academic pressure you can handle. If the college isn’t a good match, you will be unhappy regardless of the prestige.
Myth #8 – Big colleges are best if you haven’t decided on a major field.
Many students think that because there are more courses to choose from, a large college offers greater options for undecided students. However, choices alone should not be the deciding factor. If you are undecided, the best college is one that has core requirements or distribution requirements that ensure you will explore new areas and fields.