3 months ago
Admissions Advice

Do I follow my heart or my head?

Since as long as I can remember I have loved one school. As I grew up I researched this school more and more and I loved what I found for the most part but there are a few things at this school that I don't think are the best fit for me. For example, they do not offer a masters in the area I want to go in but no school in my state does so I would have to go out of state for that. I have researched other schools just to see what is out there other than my dream school but nowhere else carried the appeal that my school does. The problem is recently someone asked me if I wanted to go to this school because of the name it carries and because I have loved it forever or because it is genuinely a good fit for me and the more I thought about it I realized that when I was researching other schools I wasn't honestly considering them and I was comparing them to my dream school. Now that I have tried to take a step back from my dream school the more I have been able to see it is not the perfect fit for me but regardless I still love it. What do I do? Do I find another school that is a better fit for me or do I follow my heart and go to the school I have wanted to go to forever? And if I do decide to go to another school, how do I let go of the bond I have with my dream school?


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1 answer

Accepted Answer
3 months ago

I think it is wise to do some self-examination. Here are some questions to seriously consider. They may not be fun to answer, but this is an important decision. I recommend taking some time to write this out. Find a quiet space, shut off your phone, and focus on these questions.

1) Why do I love it? Is it the way the school appears or just how perfect it seems? Is it the atmosphere? The social life? A specific program?

2) Is it possible I have romanticized it? Have I dreamed about this school so much that I simply assumed I would end up there and happily ever after?

3) Will I actually be happy there?

4) Why isn’t it a good fit? Why are some other schools a better fit? If they don’t have the program you want, you will likely be bored and miserable. After several years of studying, you may land a job you dislike and be stuck with it as you try to pay off your loans, which brings up another related question.

5) What will be worth my money? Likely, you will spend years paying off your college education. You won’t want to regret what you chose if you realize this school did not prepare you the way you really needed.

After thinking about this, I recommend spending a few weeks researching other colleges WITH the program you are passionate about. Then make a chart and list pros and cons for each, comparing it with your dream school. I know you have already done some comparison, but this visual will really help. Star the colleges that look nice to you. Then dig deep for more information on those colleges. Find photos, videos, virtual tours, social media pages, etc. to get a closer look at what the college is really like. You may find that another college(s) really appeals to you.

Once you begin to practically compare things, you will find some clarity on if your dream school is really a good path for you. It is important to find a dream school where you can thrive academically and socially. It can be hard to let go of something we have set our hearts on, but there are often better ways awaiting us. If this is not the best fit for you, please know and be comforted that there is something WAY better out there, just waiting for you to discover. You will probably find a school you love even more!

Also, don’t be afraid of trying. It’s ok to transfer. There is nothing wrong with transferring if you find the college you start with is not working for you. Of course, it is stressful, but it eventually works out.

Hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions! I am happy to help you in any way.

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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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