Does it matter which university you choose? (2023)

Does it matter which university you choose?'Where you go is not who’ll you’ll be' were comments that sparked recent debate in the media and got many of us thinking: Does that statement ring true for the university you choose? Windermere Preparatory School’s International Student Advisor Ruth Lahnston, Counselor Nancy Gerena, and British International School Chicago, South Loop, Director of Counseling Lindsay Kafitz say students should choose a university that is the best fit for them.

'Where you go is not who’ll you’ll be'were comments that sparked recent debate in the media and got many of us thinking:Does that statement ring true for the university you choose? Windermere Preparatory School’s International Student Advisor Ruth Lahnston, Counselor Nancy Gerena, and British International School Chicago, South Loop’s Director of Counseling Lindsay Kafitz say students should choose a university that is the best fit for them.

When do you begin to prepare students for life after school? Does it have to include selecting a college or university?

Lindsay Kafitz: We begin to prepare students for their future the minute they enter school. Some of the crucial soft skills they learn in reception and primary school set students up for success later in life.

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When it comes to university, we begin working with our students in Year 10. We meet with the students early on in the academic year to talk about how universities consider grades all the way back to Year 10. This is when we also talk about the importance of being involved in extracurricular activities and summer opportunities, in order to help their chances with college selection. We begin to build a college list for students in the spring of Year 12. This gives college counsellors enough time to get to know their students, and enough time for students to develop without the pressure of drawing up a college list.

Ruth Lahnston: We begin working with students in Grade 9. In Grade 10, students spend time exploring potential careers and what type of job opportunities interest them. At Windermere Preparatory School (WPS), we see the choices our students make change dramatically and quickly. If they say they want to go into medicine, for example, we know that,by the time they’re about to leave school,they may end up choosing something completely different.

As students move into Grade 11, students focus more on selecting and applying for college or university. They look at certain schools that offer particular subjects or majors. They may want to narrow down on the type and size of college, and then the college selection piece comes at the end of their junior year, which is when they begin applying to those schools.

When guiding students on selecting a college or university, what factors do you look at when matching them to the right school?

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Kafitz: Building a college list with students is my favourite part of this job. When we build a college list, we focus on finding the right fit for each individual student. There are a lot of factors that are at play here. Firstly, academic fit. Do the student’s grades, curriculum and test scores fall within the chosen college’s range? Does the student learn best in smaller discussion-based classrooms or do they prefer to learn in large lectures? What do they want to study? Does this college offer the right course? Secondly, location. Does the student want to stay in the U.S. for college or do they want to go abroad? Then,we find out:Does the student prefer to be in a smaller setting or an urban environment? We ask what kind of social environment suits them and what sports are important, as well as the college fees, and if we need to consider colleges with a lower price tag or colleges that offer generous merit aid or scholarships.

Having worked in college admissions and college counselling for more than 12 years, I think it helps to visit as many college campuses as possible. While one college may be perfect on paper, it might not feel right when the studentvisits the campus in person.

Lahnston: In the beginning, students, especially international students, come to us saying:'I'm going to a top 50 school', not really understanding why. As they spend time at WPS, they meet more than 150 representatives from different universities who come to the school. They listen to them speak, or they go and visit colleges. The following year, they may say that they would like to look at Harvard, and Boston University because of a certain course.

The third year, they might say: ‘I found this school called Emerson. It’s in downtown Bostonand I'll apply to Harvard and I'll apply to Boston University, but I'm really excited about this small school, and it's in line with what I want to study’.The more time they spend with us, the more they transform, and they start to understand what ranking is, whatthat means to them, and their goals and interests. They think about what these schools are really doing for them,as far as internships, job placements and other opportunities.

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Do you think or believe elite schools are the best option or the best fit for students? Do other factors need to be considered when choosing the right school for a student?

Kafitz: Often, families are unaware of the methodology behind college rankings. One of my go-to college ranking guides is US News and World Report. They rank colleges by factoring in things such as graduation rate, retention rate, social mobility (i.e. how many low-income students were accepted and offered Pell grants), class size, faculty compensation, the percentage of faculty who work full-time, student-to-faculty ratio, peer assessment survey,and many other factors. Interestingly, this year, the acceptance rate of the college was not even a factor. I like to use rankings as a jumping-off point in helping students find the right university or college.

Nancy Gerena: I spend a lot of time working with college representatives. My main job at the school is to be the liaison between universities and our school. It's absolutely wonderful if a student ends up at an Ivy League school, but do we know if that school's the right fit for them?Students need to understand why they're going to that school. What's the reason for it? It cannot be the name. It has to be because of the programme, or the opportunities available to them there.

Also, because these are highly selective schools, you have to be more than just intelligent and a good tester. It is about what are you actively doing in high school, and how is that going to continue in your institution? That is an important factor that students must understand when choosing an elite or selective school.

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What is the secret to enabling students to successfully get into a great university?

Kaftiz: When students are matched with a school that is the right fit, they tend to do well. So much of college is finding yourself, finding your place in the world and building a strong social network. This happens at all types of colleges!

Gerena: I always like to tell students to research or Google where some of the Fortune 500 CEOs went to college, or in the media industry, which schools did news broadcasters graduation from? Often, it's about what opportunities a university can offer.

What I also tell parents is to figure out what makes your child tick. Are they somebody who prefers a discussion-based classroom or they an independent learner? Are they somebody that likes to interact with people and have conversations with professors, or will they enjoy a small campus with a small school feel? Look at what major your child has selected, what their interests are, their learning style. This will determine the best fit for your family. You want your child to be happy. You want them to look back at university life with fond memories.

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Does what university you go to really matter? ›

While the name of your school isn't likely to land you a job, you'll want to be sure that your degree is from an accredited institution. Employers want to feel confident, knowing you've received a quality education and will bring the skills you developed as an undergraduate student to the table if offered a position.

Do employers care what college you went to? ›

84% say the institution a candidate attended is a 'very important' or 'important' factor. 71% are more likely to move forward with a candidate who attended a top-tier school. 66% are more likely to move forward with a candidate who attended their own alma mater.

Does it matter if you go to an Ivy League? ›

The truth in this statement is that “the name” does carry some value. In addition to serving as an entry point to the alumni network, an Ivy League school listed at the top of their resume can help your child land their first job out of college, as well as internships and other opportunities while he's in college.

Should I apply to as many universities as possible? ›

And how should a student decide which colleges to include? There is no magic number, but five to eight applications are usually enough to ensure that a student is accepted into a suitable institution (depending, of course, on the individual student's record and circumstances).

What is the most important thing to you when it comes to selecting a college? ›

Perspective. The most important factor when considering a college is how the school made you feel. Regardless of all the programs, opportunities, and scholarships, the school you choose should feel like home, a place where you will be able to grow and develop not just academically but in all aspects of life.

What is the easiest Ivy League school to get into? ›

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.

What is the hardest university to go to? ›

Niche, a ranking and review site, recently published its list of the “2023 Hardest Colleges to Get Into.” Using data from the U.S. Department of Education on various colleges' acceptance rates and SAT/ACT scores, they found, unsurprisingly, Harvard University to be the most difficult college to get into.

Is a 3.8 A good college GPA? ›

A 3.8 GPA stands for a Grade Point Average of 3.8 on a 4.0 scale. It indicates that you've earned a predominantly A average in your courses. A 3.8 GPA is considered to be a very good GPA and is often an indicator of strong academic performance.

What percentage of college students get a job after they graduate? ›

For most, it's a ticket to their first major career milestone. And great news: many students are reaping the benefits of their academic success to find their way into their first jobs! College graduates ages 25 to 34 boast an employment rate of 86%, based on a 2017 study by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Do employers care what your GPA was in college? ›

Do employers look at overall or major GPA? Generally, employees want to see your overall or cumulative GPA as an indication of your abilities as a student. Some employers will ask for a transcript, which means you need to include the exact GPA shown there.

What GPA do Ivy Leagues like? ›

If you're aiming for a top university such as one in the Ivy League, Stanford, MIT, or others of the same caliber, a 4.0 GPA — or close to it — is expected.

Can I get into Harvard with a 3.7 GPA? ›

Can I get into Harvard with a 3.7 GPA? Harvard does not have a minimum GPA requirement. However, Harvard is highly competitive, so it may be challenging to get in with a 3.7 GPA. The average GPA for entering Harvard students is 3.9.

What GPA gets you into Ivy League? ›

So how much is good enough? Average GPAs at Ivy League schools start at 3.9. Any lower than 3.5, however, you'll have to either have an impressive, relevant achievement or pray for a miracle to get an offer.

Can applying to too many colleges hurt your chances? ›

While most students spend time trying to decide where to apply to college, they should also be considering how many applications to send out. Applying to too many schools can lead to a heavier workload, added stress, and tougher decisions.

Is it harder to get into college than it used to be? ›

The first thing to acknowledge is that the hype and anxiety are not unfounded: it is, in fact, much more difficult to get into college than it was a generation ago. The number of college applicants has risen sharply, especially over the past ten years, and this trend does not appear to be letting up any time soon.

Can average student get into Harvard? ›

The average high school GPA of admitted students at Harvard is around 4.2. 73% of students had a GPA of at least 4.0, indicating that admitted students typically mostly earned A grades in high school. If you're studying the IB, this translates to scoring mostly 7s and achieving a minimum score of at least 42.

What 5 things do colleges look at when choosing students? ›

Good grades, a challenging high school curriculum, standardized test scores, extracurriculars, and a strong essay are a few key factors admissions officers assess. Each university may emphasize different elements of the application process.

What are the 5 factors for choosing a college? ›

Before making your choice, consider these factors: cost, location, size, your interests, campus life, graduation rates, and the potential return on your investment.

How do students decide what college to go to? ›

80% of students surveyed pointed to one of seven reasons behind their final decision: affordability, desired program, career outcomes, reputation/academic quality, value, proximity to home, and of course, that elusive “fit.”

Will one C ruin my chances of Ivy League? ›

Just one bad grade in an advanced level course is not going to ruin your chances at an Ivy League. However, consistently underperforming in advanced classes in your area-of-interest classes will penalize you in the applications process.

What is the lowest GPA ever accepted Ivy League? ›

And maybe, you can get into a top tier college with a low GPA. We've always stated that the lowest GPA student we've ever helped get into an Ivy League school had a 3.3 unweighted GPA. And we're not saying that we could get anyone in with a 3.3 GPA. But it has happened before – and the student was Asian American too.

What is the lowest GPA to get into Harvard? ›

Continue to work hard, take difficult classes, and show your passions outside of school! To get to Harvard your GPA has to be at least a 4.0 and even then if you get in your lucky but they require at least a 4.18 GPA only .

What is the easiest University in us? ›

Adams State University (Alamosa, Colorado)- 99% La Roche University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)- 99% Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia)- 99% Milligan University (Milligan, Tennessee)- 99%

Which Ivy League has the prettiest campus? ›

The Ivy League with the best campus is Princeton. It's reputed as having the prettiest campus.

What is the #1 most prestigious University? ›

World University Rankings 2023
RankName Country/Region
1University of Oxford United Kingdom
2Harvard University United States
=3University of Cambridge United Kingdom
=3Stanford University United States
21 more rows

What is the highest GPA ever? ›

Normally, you would expect the highest score to be the 'perfect' 4.0 score, however, there are several things that a student can do to receive an even higher score. For example, one student actually managed to get a 10.03 GPA score. He did this by taking 17 advanced classes at his school, which awarded him many points.

Is 3.8 GPA too low for Harvard? ›

If you achieve a 3.8 GPA, your grades are likely above many of your peers. However, classing a 3.8 GPA as “good” depends on your chosen colleges and the difficulty of your courses. For example, Harvard's average GPA is 4.18, so you'll have to get straight As in nearly all of your classes to be a competitive applicant.

What will an F do to a 3.8 GPA? ›

The short answer is (surprisingly): No. If you have one “F” and all other grades in a 40-course program are “A” grades, your GPA will drop from a 4.0 to a 3.9. So, your existing GPA will be impacted, but will not be “ruined.”

How many college graduates are underpaid? ›

In December 2022, about 10.9 percent of recent college graduates were working in low-wage jobs in the United States. This is a slight decrease from December 2021, when 11.4 percent of recent college graduates were working low-wage jobs.

How many college graduates are happy with their jobs? ›

According to a national survey from Gallup (analyzed for the report), approximately 91 percent of college graduates were satisfied with their lives in 2019, and a similar share was satisfied with their jobs.

Why is it so hard to find a job after college? ›

Why the Post-College Job Search is So Rough. According to Intuit, people struggle to find a job after graduation for many reasons. Perhaps they did not prepare for the workforce by taking advantage of networking opportunities while in school. Or they didn't do enough research on the employer before job interviews.

Will one D ruin my GPA in college? ›

2 answers. The best way to gauge how colleges might look at your grades is just to look at your GPA vs. average GPAs for that school. As a rule of thumb, one bad grade won't tank your chances in most places, though a D might substantially lower your GPA because it's adding such a low number to the average.

What is the average GPA in America? ›

The average high school GPA in the US is 3.0, which also accounts for roughly 35% of students who don't end up applying for college. However, for college applicants, the average GPA is more likely between 3.5 and 4.0.

Should I put my GPA on my resume if it is low? ›

Listing a GPA on a resume is optional. If the employer doesn't request it, you're under no obligation to put it there. If your GPA is lower than 3.5, there's nothing to brag about.

What is the cheapest Ivy League school? ›

Princeton. Princeton is commonly regarded as the “cheapest Ivy” thanks to its extensive financial aid offerings.

What is considered a bad GPA in high school? ›

In most cases, a high GPA is somewhere between 3.50 and 4.00, and a low GPA is somewhere between 1.50 and 2.00. Understanding what constitutes a good grade point average (GPA) is important.

Which is more important SAT or GPA? ›

There are several reasons that the SAT is considered a more valuable admissions tool than your GPA. The most obvious is that the SAT is a standardized test. While your GPA compares you to the rest of your school, your SAT score compares you to the rest of the country. GPAs are not standard.

What is the lowest GPA accepted to Yale? ›

What is the minimum GPA required for admission? We do not set a minimum GPA, nor do we attempt to re-weight GPA's to any standard other than what a school provides. An applicant's complete secondary school transcript (not just the GPA or class rank, if they are provided) is evaluated during the admissions process.

What is the lowest GPA to get into Stanford? ›

There is no minimum GPA or test score, nor is there any specific number of AP or honors courses you must have on your transcript in order to have your application reviewed or be admitted to Stanford.

Does Harvard accept 4.7 GPA? ›

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 4.18, Harvard requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants.

What's an excellent GPA? ›

Most commonly, students graduate cum laude (Latin for "with praise") when they earn a 3.5-3.7 GPA, magna cum laude ("with great praise") when they earn a 3.7-3.9 GPA, and summa cum laude ("with highest praise") when they earn a 3.9 GPA or higher.

Do Ivy Leagues look at 9th grade? ›

Ivy League universities (and most universities, for that matter) consider student accomplishments from the ninth to 12th grades. So typically, achievements in say the 7th or 8th grade don't matter all that much. However, successful Ivy League applicants boast impressive school records right from the start.

Is 1450 a good SAT score? ›

Is a Score of 1450 (96th Percentile) Good? Earning a score of 1450 on the SAT indicates an exceptional performance on the exam and places you in the upper 95th percentile of all students nationwide.

What will make colleges not accept you? ›

Here are seven common reasons why college applications get rejected, according to some experts:
  • Failure to meet high GPA or test score standards.
  • Insufficient academic rigor.
  • Lack of demonstrated interest.
  • Application essay errors.
  • Poor fit.
  • Academic integrity concerns.
  • Competition.
Sep 13, 2022

Do colleges reject overqualified students? ›

While there is some anecdotal evidence that overqualified students get rejected, these students aren't usually turned down because of their better-than-average grades or test scores. Most likely, the overqualified student isn't the right fit for a school or they haven't shown enough interest to admission officers.

What do I do if I get rejected from every college I apply to? ›

What to Do if You're Rejected From Every College You Apply to
  1. Breathe… You're probably feeling pretty down right about now, but that's okay! ...
  2. Keep applying. Just because you haven't been accepted yet doesn't mean it won't happen! ...
  3. Consider community college. ...
  4. Think about alternatives to college. ...
  5. Keep your head up!
May 12, 2022

What matters most in college admissions? ›

Courses and Grades

A student's grades in college-preparatory classes remain the most significant factor in college admission decisions. Highly selective colleges look for students who: Complete core academic requirements.

What is the hardest year of college academically? ›

Everyone's college experience is different. Many people including myself have found the third year to be the most difficult. This is the year in which you will start to take classes that are specifically for your major. The classes for your major tend to be more challenging than core classes.

What is the hardest year for college? ›

There is no question that the first semester of the freshman year of college is the most critical. Many studies show that freshman year is the time when students most likely drop out of college – if not permanently, then temporarily.

Can I get into Harvard with 2 B's? ›

Does Harvard Accept B Students? Yes, just like I mentioned above, it's completely possible to get admitted into Harvard University with B grades.

Does Harvard accept 3.7 GPA? ›

Can I get into Harvard with a 3.7 GPA? Harvard does not have a minimum GPA requirement. However, Harvard is highly competitive, so it may be challenging to get in with a 3.7 GPA. The average GPA for entering Harvard students is 3.9.

Which high school sends the most students to Harvard? ›

AUSTIN (Austin Business Journal) — The public Texas high school that sends the most students to Harvard, Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is right here in Austin. Westlake ranked No.

What kind of students does Harvard look for? ›

In our admissions process, we give careful, individual attention to each applicant. We seek to identify students who will be the best educators of one another and their professors—individuals who will inspire those around them during their College years and beyond.

What GPA do colleges look at? ›

Colleges will look at either weighted or unweighted GPAs in your application. They do tend to prefer weighted, because it gives more information about the difficulty of your classes, but don't worry if your school uses an unweighted scale.

What are 3 tips you should follow when choosing a college? ›

Top 10 Factors for Choosing a College
  • Safety.
  • Academic Support and Career Services. ...
  • Campus Life. ...
  • Athletics and Extracurricular Activities. ...
  • Majors and Minors. ...
  • Class Size. ...
  • Cost and Fees. ...
  • Location and Distance From Home. ...

What are the 3 big factors that will get a college to really look at you during the application process? ›

A high GPA (relative to what admitted students have) and a rigorous curriculum. Strong test scores (relative to what admitted students have) A specific, honest, and well-written personal statement and/or essays.

How does Gen Z choose a college? ›

The biggest factor the majority of Gen Z students are considering when choosing a college is location (63%), where only about half of current and past say that location was a quality they considered.

Do colleges look at university GPA? ›

In addition to your GPA, admissions officers will look at your standardized test scores, college essays, extracurricular activities, and your scores on AP exams (not just the grade in the class). College admissions is a largely holistic process, so any one factor can offset another.

Are Ivy League graduates more successful? ›

Average Income of Ivy League Graduates

If you attend an Ivy League, you have the potential to secure an above-average salary. Except for MIT, Harvard graduates make more money after college than graduates from any other college.

What GPA does Harvard require? ›

The GPA requirements for Harvard University are between 3.9 to 4.1. You will need an incredibly high GPA and will likely be graduating at the top of their class in order to get into Harvard University.

Is 3.40 A Good GPA? ›

A 3.4 is comfortably above the national average GPA for high school graduates and is considered competitive at most colleges and universities. It also approaches the 3.5 GPA that more selective schools use as an unofficial benchmark.

What is a 3.8 unweighted GPA? ›

If your school uses an unweighted GPA scale, a 3.8 is one of the highest GPAs you can get. You're most likely earning As and A-s in all of your classes. If your school uses a weighted scale, you may be earning As and A-s in low level classes, B+s in mid-level classes, or Bs and B-s in high level classes.

Why is MIT not an Ivy League? ›

Duke, MIT, and Stanford aren't Ivy League universities only because they didn't have strong athletic programs when the Ivy League was established.

Do most billionaires go to Ivy League schools? ›

As you might expect, the colleges that produce the most billionaires are largely Ivy League universities.

Which Ivy has the richest students? ›

Harvard University

As one of the most prestigious universities in the world, it comes as no surprise that Harvard has a student body that is among the wealthiest in the country. Many of the students at Harvard come from families with significant wealth and influence, and many go on to become leaders in their fields.


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