Karen Fong discusses some criteria young rugby players might use to pick the right school ... for them.
With close to 4,000 colleges here in the U.S., many of you student athletes out there may be feeling overwhelmed and have NO idea where to start building your college list. Let me remind you that the process of finding the right college is a constantly changing process. Current statistics show that close to 50% of college freshman return home after their first semester in college because they did not take this process seriously and instead, relied too heavily on unreliable factors such as rankings or where their friends went to decide where to go. Don’t let this happen to you! Remember this is YOUR choice and you owe it to yourself to fully invest in the process.
Before you jump onto the hundreds of college search engines available to you, first, take some time to think about what you like best about your high school experience. Factors that contribute to your success and happiness now will continue to support your achievement in college. Your answers can help identify the most important characteristics of your college search:
- Are you someone who lives for Friday night football games and cheers on your team until you’re hoarse all weekend? If so, you’ll likely feel at home somewhere that prides itself on its high levels of school spirit (e.g. UCLA, University of Michigan, Oklahoma State).
- Do you love being able to see friends as you walk to class and having a strong relationship with your teachers? Or do you want to meet new people every day? If you are more of the former, a smaller school where you can continue to have a strong sense of community with your peers and professors may be a good fit (e.g. Saint Mary’s College (CA), Bowdoin College (ME), Wheeling Jesuit (WV)) while the latter may point to a preference for a larger school (e.g. The Ohio State University, University of Arizona).
- What do you like to do on the weekends? Are you someone who loves finding adventure in a more urban city setting? Or, would you prefer more mellow choice like hanging out with friends at a local park? These choices may point to either finding happiness at a campus well-known for its proximity to a metropolitan city (e.g. Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, New York), while the latter may point to a more laid-back and mellow college town (e.g. Davis, San Luis Obispo, Eugene (OR), Austin (TX)).
Remember, the college search should be about finding the “Best Fit” college for YOU, not for your friends, family, teachers or coaches. Take a deep breath and reflect on the things that are most important to you and your success. This is one of your first adult decisions, so treat it as such. Do the work and the research, and find which schools truly fit your personality.
Good luck and always go forward!
Karen Fong is a college admissions expert with specialized knowledge of the collegiate rugby landscape. She is a credentialed guidance counselor backed by a team at Dunbar Educational Consultants with over 130 years of combined experience in this field. She is also a former Division I Rugby player at University of California at Davis, National U-23 Team player and currently on the USA Rugby Referee circuit. With her deep knowledge and strong ties to the collegiate rugby world, Karen is the best resource for families searching for the best fit college for their young rugby player. Various packages are available to suit every family’s needs. To schedule a consultation and discuss client options, please call Karen at (310) 497-0619 cell or email