With fast and easy, push-button computer college application submissions come many more offers to enticingly, slickly marketed, nirvana-like college experiences. It’s not easy to navigate your way to the right choice through all the options, promises and hype. It’s like the jam experiment designed by Sheena Iyengar, where she documented a decreased ability to choose and commit to a purchase of jam, the greater the number of choices offered.
This weekend many high school seniors are weighing up pros and cons, second-guessing already firm decisions, getting ever crankier about reminders of the looming deadline and unceasing questions about ‘where did you decide?‘ or ‘where are you leaning?‘.
How to break the paralysis?
Try this College Selection Tool. Three high school seniors with multiple top-notch choices helped me develop this tool. We brainstormed a list of criteria they consider important for making the choice — the list was enhanced by their college funding sponsors (aka their moms). I took the list and built this calculator for them to plug in the weights (i.e. level of importance) for each criteria. They then had to add their college choices, and assign a grade for each criteria, for each college. Press ENTER and hey presto, the tool calculates a numerical value to each college. The college with the highest number is your preferred choice.
Last step is to check in with the most essential “gut feel”. Does it seem ‘right’? Sleep on it one more night, and then log in to ACCEPT. Congratulations!!
I hear that the three seniors have been using the tool, so give it a try! Share back your experiences, and suggestions for improvement.