Top five reasons to not apply to a college

Leigh Jacobson


To those of you who vigilantly clasped your “Don’t bother me, I’m eating” pins to your clothing during Thanksgiving, and managed to enjoy your dinners without a brutal interrogation from the adults present, I commend you. Now that Thanksgiving break is over, however, the onslaught of application deadlines is imminent, and it’s time to focus on exactly where we’re applying.

Despite the fact that our final college lists were due a few weeks ago, many of us still find our college lists fluctuating. Last minute, we might come to the realization that we may not even want to spend time applying to a school that we’re sure we don’t want to attend, or that we’ve simply lost interest in. We also might come to the conclusion that we want to apply to a few additional schools last minute… which is why we at The Roar have compiled a list of what NOT to use as a rationalization for why you’re applying to a school.

So, keep these in mind as you finalize those lists, and consider whether or not you’re really willing to dole out around $70 for these additional apps…



1. It has a pretty campus.

One of the worst reasons to apply to college is because you think the campus is nice. How is the fact that the campus is pretty going to help you when you realize that you’re completely miserable among the student body, or when you realize that you despise the surrounding city? And, even more asinine, many people will claim that the reason they plan on applying to a school is because “it looks like Hogwarts.” Sure, you could go to this school and live out your childhood dreams of being a witch or a wizard, but don’t be surprised when your peers give you funny looks when you try to cast spells in class.

Pretty campus graphic

2. Your best friend goes there.

Friendship is a great thing, but it shouldn’t determine where you spend the next four years. What’s nice about college (or so I hear, because what do I know, I’m still a first-semester senior) is that you get to meet a variety of new people, and so friendship really shouldn’t be an issue. You’ll still get to stay in contact with all of your high school friends (if you choose to), so don’t worry.

Best friend graphic

3. Your boyfriend/girlfriend goes there.

If you’re that committed to each other, that’s cute and all… until you guys break up. Sorry to rain on your parade, but it has to be considered. And what if, once that happens, you realize that you’re not happy with the school you’re at? What are you going to do then?

Boyfriend/girlfriend graphic

4. The U.S News & World Report Ranking says it’s great.

Just because some staff writer at U.S News & World Report says that Harvard is the best school out there, doesn’t mean that it’s the best school for you. Oftentimes these rankings have no real rationale behind them, citing reasons such as “large endowment” as a reason for their high placement of a school on the list. You should apply to a school based on solid reasons such as an academic interest, a connection you had with the school, etc – not because of some inane list.

College ranking graphic

5. Your parents want you to.

Your parents can often offer some insight into the college application process, especially if they’ve been through it themselves. And there’s nothing wrong with them giving you some advice on schools they think you might like, or might suit your academic pursuits. But it crosses the line when they force you to apply somewhere simply because it’s what they want. You should apply where you want to, not where your parents want to, because ultimately it’s you that’ll be attending the school… not them.

Parents graphic

Check in next week for the next article in our college-themed series.

To read our previous article in the college series about the top five things you will hear on every college tour, click here.

To read our previous article in the college series about the top five mistakes to not make on the Common Application, click here.

To read our previous article in the college series about the top five thing questions you shouldn’t ask a senior, click here

All graphics by Leigh Jacobson.