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Four College Admissions Myths and Reality

Conventional wisdom from friends and family on the college admissions process is often wrong. Four common college admissions myths and the truth follow.

College Admission Myth One: It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go to College

A common refrain from peers and sometimes parents is that education is basically the same everywhere and you will get out of it what you put into it.
Reality: Colleges vary enormously in resources available for students and faculty, the quality of teaching, and placement rates in good jobs and graduate programs. Examine peer reviews of colleges and institutional resources as reported in US News and World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” issue. Moreover, ask prospective colleges about post-graduation placement rates.

Myth Two: Class Size Does Not Affect the Quality of the Learning Experience

Reality: Smaller classes taught by full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty increase the probability that you will receive direct attention and feedback from your professor. Figures on class size and the percentage of full-time faculty can be found in US News and World Report’s annual issue.

Myth Three: Attending an In-State Public Institution is Much Cheaper than Attending a Private Institution

Reality: This is at best a partial and highly qualified truth. Elite highly rated private colleges generally provide more financial assistance than public institutions. Moreover, they will put you in better higher paying jobs and stronger graduate programs than most of their public counterparts.

Myth Four: Large Hub Public Universities Will Provide a Better Education in the Sciences Than Quality Small Liberal Arts Schools

Many people presume that the hub public institutions with their research faculty and science facilities will do a better job of teaching science to undergraduates than small liberal arts schools.

Reality: Public hub universities generally tailor their science programs to graduate students and the research faculty themselves. This has become somewhat less pronounced at select schools which have developed undergraduate science honors programs. Nonetheless, faculty at the most competitive small liberal arts schools must conduct research for tenure, but are also rewarded for their attentiveness to teaching. Moreover, these schools often do a superb job of placing their science graduates in highly ranked graduate and professional schools.

As you embark on the college admissions process, it is crucial that you separate legend from reality. Top Test Prep will facilitate this and provide you with tutoring and admissions experts who help you gain admission to your top schools.

David Dickson is an admissions counselor for Top Test Prep. For information on Top Test Prep’s private SAT and ACT Tutoring, call us at (800) 501-Prep.

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