So it’s that time of year, when high school seniors are losing their collective minds, trying to figure out which college offer is the exactly perfect right one to take.
We had 350 of them on campus last Friday, many with their parents, trying to find just the right question to ask that will reveal just the right piece of information that would be the key to solving this puzzle.
The one I get asked most often is, “What is your medical school acceptance rate?”, with a sub-category being, “How many do you get into Harvard Med School?” I always ask the kids where they’re deciding between, and then always respond, “All great choices!” even when I don’t
really think so. Why? Because you just never know.
I do honestly believe that from a pre-med perspective, choosing between a Swarthmore and a Williams and a Bowdoin is all pretty much the same thing. But what about choosing between Swarthmore and MIT? How about choosing between Swarthmore and a little-known college in the South that’s offering a free ride? Does it change things to know that the student is the oldest of five children, and the family educational resources need to be shared accordingly? Is a pre-med student always best served going to the most prestigious college with the most challenging academics, and perhaps find herself struggling in the sciences, or a slightly less rigorous one where she will be an academic star? If you think of yourself as pre-med, is it best to go to a school that will put you on a focused track, or one that will provide many different opportunities, perhaps resulting in your changing your goals entirely?
And then there was the girl who came to me with red eyes, saying, “I love this school, but I have allergies, and I CAN’T TAKE ALL THESE TREES!”
You just never know what goes into these decisions, so I’ve found it’s best to only say, “All great choices!”