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College Is Cool?
Assessing the Benefits of Attending College

Thirty years of experience interviewing applicants, reading their essays and deciding their fate in the college admission process might have jaded me to the enterprise of college going. Just the opposite is true. I am convinced more than ever of the benefits of college attendance.

Undoubtedly it is true that college is not for everyone. Yet, there is so much that the college experience offers to students of every academic and extracurricular stripe. The opportunities for higher education in America abound. There are thousands of colleges with courses and activities that will offer an educational experience that will open the doors to careers and the benefits of life as an educated person.

Few college-bound students consider that the life of a college graduate is improved on virtually all measures of success. College graduates earn more money, vote more often, remain married longer and do better on Jeopardy than their non-college-educated peers. College is an unparalleled opportunity to explore one's possibilities and aspirations. It is a time to lean and grow intellectually, spiritually and socially.

A college education is not just for the wealthy of our society. In fact, higher education in America is available on a scale that is unmatched in any other society on earth. The only thing you must do in America to go to college is study in high school and graduate. There will be a place for you among the myriad of college choices you might make.

If you are reading this page you are already predisposed toward the college experience. My strongest recommendation for success in college is to prepare, plan and persevere. You prepare by taking the most challenging courses for which you are qualified and applying yourself to the successful completion of those courses. You plan by making sure that you are aware of the time table of the college admission process with regard to standardized testing, application for admission and financial aid and getting the information you need about the colleges that meet all your requirements. You persevere by choosing activities that you love and staying with them. These are the things that will become the avocations of a lifetime.

Many students see the college admission process as one of unrelenting drudgery relieved only by the terror of opening the decision envelopes. It should not be that way. As you approach this phase of your life it is more helpful to think of it as a time for taking stock of who you are, where you want to go and how to get there.

College is an incredible time of discovery, adventure and learning. Be determined that you will succeed, stay focused on your goals and the path will become clear to you. Oh, and don't forget to make your Jeopardy answers in the form of a question.

Contributed By:

R. Fred Zuker, Ph.D.
University of Dallas
Dean of Undergraduate Admission,
Financial Aid and Student Life

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