Matching & Choosing Schools
Entablature will listen carefully to your wishes, dreams and aspirations. We will never try to keep you from applying to any school that you wish. That is not our mission.
Our goal is to get you to understand what schools – some of which you may not be familiar with – are best for you. This happens after you tell us what you like, want, need and hope for. We will also consider what we see in you too. Sometimes it is the case that we may have an idea or two that haven’t occurred to you. These notions can have an important bearing on your choice of schools.
Choosing where to go is a critical step in your education. This means that we’ll be on the look-out for schools that fit you like a warm winter glove. With a few hundred good to great schools out there, there are at least a dozen institutions at which you will be very happy and thrive intellectually and socially.
After we find your “special” dozen schools, you’ll read everything we can find about them and talk to as many people as possible about them too. After that, visiting as many campuses as possible will be important — if not before you apply, then definitely after you are admitted.
Some schools may be able to help you pay for the trip to visit them. Most of these deals are for students who have been admitted, but sometimes it’s possible to receive help during the autumn, when schools put on a dog-and-pony show for prospective students. Remember, schools want you to accept them after they accept you, so they’ll work hard to help you understand why they are a good choice for you.
We once worked with a good student - a young lady in Pittsburgh who wanted to “go away for college to meet tons of new people.” She talked about wanting to be where there were a lot of people that she didn’t know. At the same time, she complained of the large classes in her public high school, where it was hard to get to know teachers because there were 35 or 40 students in each class. This clearly frustrated her.
We pointed out that while she wanted a school that wasn’t small, she wanted small classes. This meant that we needed to eliminate some of the schools on her list – including the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. While both of these schools are excellent, the classes can be quite large (over 1500 in a lecture hall) – as are the campuses, which can be alienating to students who are accustomed to and or desirous of an intimate learning environment.
We suggested that a small university with small classes would give her the academic setting that she sought. At the same time, she would not feel claustrophobic because the schools we suggested were big enough to allow her to meet all lots of people from different walks of life.
After all was said and done, our student applied to Clark University in Massachusetts, Emory University in Atlanta, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, the University of Denver, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the American University in the District of Columbia and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Our student had a B+ average in a decent college preparatory curriculum. She was active in swimming and had distinguished herself on the school’s chess team. She would be the first in her family on either side to enter college. Her composite ACT score was 25. This student was mature, focused and willing to work hard for what she wanted. We knew that a very carefully considered set of schools would be absolutely important here.
Although UC-Santa Cruz and Emory declined her, she was admitted to the rest of the schools, and ultimately decided on Clark University. After graduating with a degree in psychology, she went on to Purdue University and earned a master’s degree in Consumer Sciences and Retailing.
She then got a position with a marketing firm in New York City and – after three years of hard work – decided that she wanted to be a college professor. She completed a PhD in industrial and organizational psychology at Purdue and is enjoying a professorial career on the west coast.
Several years ago she mused that if she were to redo it, she would choose Clark University again because “they helped me develop my sense of confidence.” No doubt, had she enrolled at a large school for her undergraduate years, she may not have been able to develop the confidence that a small, nurturing environment such as the one at Clark University enabled.
But most importantly, she was successful. And that’s what Entablature is all about: promoting personal, academic and professional success.