The Bittersweetness of Choosing a College


“We live in a house around the corner from my parents. He’s gone to all the same schools I went to, and his grandfather went to. We’ve lived this suburban, settled lifestyle. And, now, we’re telling him we want him to dream and live a life in the arts, if that’s what he wants. But, I can understand his suspicion that a life ‘out-there’ is a little far-fetched, given his experience.” – A Father of a High School Senior

The annual National College Admissions Reply Deadline is May 1, the day when high school seniors will respond that they accept a college admissions acceptance…or not. Within the decision-making process is an often-unexpected dilemma: tussling with a typically-hazy vision for their lives—predictable conventionality vs. live-your-dreams. Wrangling with the dilemma can spark vigorous debates and intense reflections. Yet, by May 1, the decision-making will end.

And, in truth, the complexity of choosing a college doesn’t mean having to sacrifice conventionality for dreams or vice versa. The debates are designed to illuminate the college environment where a fledgling adult can develop their potential—both for financial security and nurture their life’s purpose. When families carve time and space for difficult discussions then a decision will be made wisely and with confidence.