Diagnostic Interview: College Search. Kelsey Edwards. Emporia State University

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1 Kelsey Edwards Diagnostic Interview 1 Diagnostic Interview: College Search Kelsey Edwards Emporia State University

2 Kelsey Edwards Diagnostic Interview 2 Abstract For this interview I chose to interview my neighbor s niece, Rachel, who has just completed a long and extensive search for the perfect college. Rachel used a very different approach to finding a college then I did. This is manly because Rachel has not decided on a major and decided that the best thing to do was find a very good college and decide on her major based on what she finds there. Rachel s main method was making a list of colleges then adding onto that list, adding pros and cons such as location, cost, religion, size and degree of difficultly. She was greatly annoyed by the lack of colleges that fit every need on her list. She knows she has to compromise but is a little unwilling.

3 Kelsey Edwards Diagnostic Interview 3 Introduction As a high school junior Rachel is one of hundreds of thousands now embarking on a very important search, she is searching for a college. Rachel is determined to make the correct choice, since she views this as something that will impact the rest of her life. While some many agree or disagree with this, she threw herself into the most careful and detailed search she could. Rachel begin her search back in her sophomore year believing that the sooner she started the more likely she was to succeed, an early bird catches the worm form of thinking. She also wanted to search alone for the most part so that she will not be swayed by the opinions of her friends or family. Rachel insists that doing all her searching alone will also give her more self confidence and help prepare her for living on her own during college. For her searching for her college is not only a search but a test to see if she is ready to leave the nest. Strategies First I asked Rachel how she would find colleges if she didn t ask for help; she insisted this is not hard. As a straight A+ student she was already receiving pamphlets and scholarship offers in the mail from dozens of schools. She searched online and found lists of the schools that have the highest GPA scoring, and a list of the most popular schools in America. Rachel also confessed that she did take some advice from her math teacher to look into schools that offered engineering. Since she didn t have a major planned she tried to get the longest list of colleges possible so she could narrow it down with a set of requirements she made for her dream college.

4 Kelsey Edwards Diagnostic Interview 4 Rachel started this process by making a list of all the things she felt she needed in an ideal college. The first thing on her list was that it had to be a very good school, Rachel is a straight A+ student and wants to go to a very high quality school, for the very best education. She doesn t, however want to go to Yale or Harvard, which I thought was the first place that a student with her grades would look. She explained to me that she believes that applying to these schools would be very difficult and take up too much time. Because of the many people who apply there every year and the many requirements they have she felt that it would be less stressful to aim just a little lower. This is true, according to BuisnessWeek Harvard received 23,000 applications in 2010, and it accepted only 2,100, just 9% of those that applied. (Symonds, 2010) The next thing on her list was location, she wanted to go out of state in order to gain more independence and to see new places, but she still wanted to stay in America. She showed me her list of places she absolutely refused to go to and gave me the reasons why. Many of the states on the list where there simply because she considered them boring or because she didn t like the weather they had. The third thing on the list was the tuition, which is a very important thing. Rachel s family is middle working class, so she wanted to go somewhere that doesn t cost an arm and a leg. She compromised on this by saying that if she can t find such a good college that is cheap then she will still go but only if it is a very good college, and meets all the rest of her requirements. She doesn t want to feel she is wasting money on a less then stellar college.

5 Kelsey Edwards Diagnostic Interview 5 This brings us to the fourth thing on the list; what scholarships do the schools offer? She knew that if a college was one of the more expensive schools a good scholarship was a must, if less expensive then less important. The last item on her list surprised and confused me; she was automatically rejecting colleges that had a religious name. Some of the colleges she refused where Heritage Christian University, California Christian College, and Trinity Baptist College. She rejected these colleges without even stopping to see if they fit any of the other things on her list. Rachel said that this was the one thing that she could not compromise on because she is an atheist, and believes it would be a very uncomfortable fit for her. I will confess I agree with her on this, she would not have fit in one of these places at all. Many Christian colleges have adapted to the modern age and gotten ride of old traditions such as separating the men and women and implementing a nightly curfew. (Peterson, 1999) Yet they still focus on religious values heavily, and Rachel would be alienated if it was known that she is an atheist. After making this list of requirements she then took her list of colleges and wrote out a third list of pros and cons for each college. Comparison I questioned her decision to do her search completely alone since many high schools have programs, consolers and college fairs specifically designed to make the searches easier. Rachel is of the mind that this help would only hinder her, mostly because they are designed for people who have already chosen a major. Rachel has not; she is still undecided for her career.

6 Kelsey Edwards Diagnostic Interview 6 This is why she wants to focus on a good school, believing that if she goes to a good school with many different options and majors then her major will find her. This is an interesting way of searching for a college, and a method that I have personally never thought to try. When most people conduct a search for a college they tend to choice schools based on what major they plan to go into, so for Rachel this is a perfect method. I will question her choice to allow the weather of the college location to be such a huge factor for her. Rachel seems to believe that the moment she goes to college she will spend the entire 4 years there, so she wants to be some where comfortable. I myself transferred colleges twice mostly to find a better program; I have to wonder that Rachel is aware that switching colleges is normal. When I asked she implied that she heard that credit hours can be lost when you transfer and she wishes to ovoid that. Rachel wants her college years to be the smoothest they possibly can be, which is why she is doing this research now. Conclusion Rachel has sent out applications to the University of Southern California and the University of Washington, so far. She also plans to send applications to the University of California-Berkeley, Princeton University, Duke University and maybe the University of Notre Dame. On the whole she believes her search was a success and now she merely has to wait to see which ones she gets into. Despite all of Rachel s careful planning I do not think she is being totally practical about her search. She seems to have spent more time picking out the list of things she must have in a college then she did on picking the colleges themselves. I

7 Kelsey Edwards Diagnostic Interview 7 wonder if she is being too focused on where she wants to live and not on what she wants to study. However since she doesn t yet know what she wants to study that is an understandable focus for her. She wants to be comfortable and have fun, while still going to a good school. When I compare this to my own college search I wonder if she isn t making a better decision then I did. I chose my first college for the reputation its Theater Program had, without researching anything else. As is turned out I was very unhappy at that school. I hated the weather, the right-wing environment, and the substandard coreclasses that were offered. I stayed two years simply out of sheer stubbornness. I have to wonder if Rachel s search will turn out more fruitful then mine did, being in a good environment is just as important as choosing your major. Choosing colleges is one of those things that you can only make educated guesses at. Hind sight is 20/20, but for now all we can do is the research, which Rachel has done in spades.

8 Kelsey Edwards Diagnostic Interview 8 References Pasick, P. (1998) Almost Grown : Launching Your Child from High School to College. New York : W.W. Norton. Budziszewski, J.(1999) How to stay Christian in college : an interactive guide to keeping the faith. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress. Symonds, W. (2010) How Harvard Gets its Best and Brightest, Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved from (1999) Peterson's Christian colleges & universities : top schools serious about scholarship, faith and service. Princeton, N.J. : Peterson's Case, D. (2007) Looking for information; A survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior. 2 nd edition. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

9 Kelsey Edwards Diagnostic Interview 9 Appendix A: Interview Questions 1. When did you start your search? 2. Why did you start that early? 3. What where the first colleges that came to mind? 4. Who did you get to help you? 5. Why did you decided to work alone? 6. Now that you are done do you feel that working alone was best? 7. What made you chose these requirements for the colleges? 8. Was finding out these things about the colleges hard? 9. Did you use Google, or did any other search engines? 10. Did you go to college fairs? 11. Did you read reviews on the colleges you chose? 12. Where the many things on you pros and cons lists other then just your main requirements? 13. Once you had a list of your colleges complete with pros and cons how did you narrow it down further? 14. Are you satisfied with your research, and your findings? Or do you wish you could have added more to your lists?

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