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Friday, April 5, 2013

My College Choice Drama, Part 1

University of Western Ontario. Photo Credit: By Mikerussell (Own work)[see page for license], via Wikimedia CommonsUniversity of Western Ontario won out after I weighed the facts. Their business program was one of the most respected in the nation, and a 4-year partial scholarship meant they valued what I could contribute. As I placed my bet on my future career, UWO fit the vision. I would be a Mustang.







Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

Learning: What's My Worldview?

My College Choice Drama, Part 1

By Evan Nehring

Senior year of high school is so crazy. On the one hand, everyone is fully present in the moment, enjoying being the kings of the hill. Seniors are well-known if only because they’ve been there four or five years. On the other hand, everyone is fully absent, dreaming of what their lives will look like beyond graduation.

College isn’t for everyone. There are other options out there. College remains, though, the surest, most common path to a career.
 

All this paperwork? Really?

First, it was the skills inventories and career aptitude tests. Looking back, I undervalued those. As an adult, you only do career testing when you’re laid off or in some unwanted season of job transition. The career tests in high school, while not based on much life experience, are taken in a context of hope and optimism…and possible sleep deprivation.
 
Next came the scholarship paperwork. Yes, there were pools of money out there for eager, deserving students, but it was surprising that you had to make your own noise. There are no academic scouts roaming the halls looking for large stacks of books and furrowed brows.
 
So I did the paperwork and was rewarded reasonably well. I secured sort-of half-ride scholarships to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. Did I mention I’m from Canada?
 
Photo Credit: I, Mikerussell [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
 

The College Choice Matrix

But money was only part of the formula. Let me recreate for you the matrix I used in 1986 to choose a college.
  • School size – Ideally, I wanted a mid-size campus: big enough to be respectable, small enough to not be overwhelmed.
  • Distance – This was more of an interest factor, but I didn’t really want to be a thousand miles from home.
  • Academics – The academic reputation of the school and the specific programs offered.
  • Sports – Football and basketball were the best part of high school for me.
  • Cost – While I was willing to take out loans like everyone else, taking advantage of scholarships could take me to where I was most wanted.

School
School Size
Distance
Academics
Sports
Cost
University of Western Ontario
About 30,000. A huge campus.
1100 miles. In province.
Accepted to reputable business program.
Loved Mustang sports.
Received a 4-year partial scholarship.
Queen’s University
Also big, 20,000+.
1350 miles.
In province.
Great academic reputation.
No real connection.
Received a 2-year partial scholarship.
Brock University
More ideal, around 15,000.
1200 miles.
In province.
I liked their academic offerings.
No real connection.
Seemed affordable.
Lakehead University
Smaller, 5,000.
300 miles.
In province.
Less esteemed than the others.
Decent chance to play basketball.
Most affordable.
McMaster University
Big. 25,000.
1150 miles.
In province.
Quality offerings. Less of a connection.
Chance to play football. More interested in basketball.
Received a modest football scholarship.
 
University of Western Ontario won out after I weighed the facts. Their business program was one of the most respected in the nation, and a 4-year partial scholarship meant they valued what I could contribute. As I placed my bet on my future career, UWO fit the vision. I would be a Mustang.
 
Your matrix might have different categories than mine. One way or another, though, organize what you value so you can clearly think it through.
 

Comments Are Always Welcome!

Where will you (or did you) go after high school? Any thoughts on your college choice? (past, present or future)

Tune in next time for "My College Choice Drama, Part 2."
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2 comments:

  1. Evan, I had the honour of being present at the Carleton Ravens home opener for basketball about 3 weeks ago against the UWO Mustangs. The Ravens were victorious by a score of 117-46. ;)

    The Mustang women however won by 20 points. Just thought you might like to hear from a guy that was on the team with you in high school. I know I was only the manager, but still...once a Raven always a Raven. ;)

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    1. Hey Gerry, staying true to your school...nice! Can't say I've caught any bball games at my alma mater for many years. Would be pretty neat though.

      Yeah, those were good days back with the Broncos as well. Not always easy but some great times too. I'd love to visit my high school and colleges again before too long.

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