College is what you make of it

By Kendall Tich

It is that time of year again when high school seniors across the world are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their college acceptances or rejections.

Though some colleges notify high school students throughout the year, most colleges, including USD, will notify them during the next six weeks.

As my younger brother awaits the arrival of his application decisions, I have begun to think back to my experiences with college letters.

Although this seems like something in our pasts, it was only within the last four years that most of us were in this same position.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I ended up at the school that was best for both my academic abilities and my goals as an individual.
However, I do still have those “what if” moments, as do many of my friends and fellow USD students.

The pressure of getting into that perfect school with the best rankings and reputation is still very real, even to us as undergraduates.

In the next four years we will either be putting more applications in for those top graduate schools or we will be applying to jobs with a USD degree.

As a current USD student, already having made that decision to attend this university, I’ve realized it’s not all about what school you attend. What is more important is what you make of the four years you have in college, no matter where you go.

In 2012, USD was ranked 92nd among “National Universities” by U.S. News & World Report and 179th by Forbes and Washington Monthly. In 2009, the National Center for Education Statistics noted that there are 2,774 four-year universities in the United States.

Out of those, only eight of them are Ivy League schools, and only a handful more are schools that are comparable to those eight.

For many of us, USD was not necessarily our top choice or the highest ranked school to which we applied.

Within the past few years, we have been continuously moving up. 92nd out of over 2,000 schools in the U.S. is certainly a very high ranking.

If you look at many fortune 500 companies, many of them hire graduates from all types of schools, not just those top Ivy League universities.

According to many CEOs of those same companies, graduate schools and fortune 500 corporations are pulling more students from small, private institutions than other types of universities. Fortunately for us, USD falls under that category.

Aside from attending a school that will lead you to the best opportunities after graduation, the college experience is what you make of it.

USD can be that top school for any one of us with involvement, positive networking and high performance in classes and extracurricular activities.

That involvement will transcribe onto graduate school and job applications and will be what recruiters to those top schools and jobs are really looking for.

As my brother waits to hear back from colleges, I can only hope that he makes the decision that is best for his dreams, independent of what some ranking website says about the schools to which he applied.

As the seniors anxiously await this year’s graduation, they too will face the decision of what job to take or what graduate school to attend. And in two more years, I will face these same decisions.

So I leave everyone with this: the best possible school does not always mean the school with the highest rankings.

It is about what you make of the experience—the clubs, classes and activities you sign up for, the time you spend forming relationships with professors, and the friends and connections you make during four of the most important years of your life.