StudentsReview ™ :: Over 237000 College Reviews ™ (4,421 colleges reviewed!)

Search for Colleges by Region

or within distance of city

  Who's got the Best (variable)?

Perceptual Rankings:
You Make 'Em.
We Post 'Em.
You Vote 'Em Up.
You Vote 'Em Down.
Aww yeah.

College is “what you make of it”
Or is it?

By Beracah Yankama
Director, StudentsReview
College is what you make of it.
There's a phrase that I've come to loathe. I hear it so frequently that it represents to me everything that is wrong with the current application and collegiate process.

The phrase

College is what you make of it
suggests that a person is entirely personally responsible for the success or failure of their college experience, which seems like a plausible idea on the surface—after all, aren't we all responsible for everything in our lives?

But the idea is misleading. If we were truly personally responsible for our college experience, why do we pay to attend a college or university at all? We could exercise our personal responsibility to create our own educations, create our own opportunities from the millions of textbooks readily available at our local libraries and avail ourselves of local experts. Education used to be that way, with apprenticeships to local masters. But no longer. Now we pay.

This begs the question, "Why do we pay?" Well, we pay to have opportunities presented that would otherwise be unavailable. We pay to have the overwhelming amount of information sorted, ordered, and presented in a framework that can be comprehended—more than our local library. We pay to interact with the best in the field, to learn the state of the market, and to be competent for that market. In short, We pay to have the college provide to us things that we cannot possibly provide to ourselves.

Saying that college is what we make of it absolves the College or University of its primary responsibility—to render the educational services for which it is paid and to advertise correctly the services that it does (or does not) provide.

Currently colleges are benefitting from an

everyone should have a college education
sentiment that is a holdover from the post-WW2 1940s GI Bill, the Draft, American Dream, and achieve a better life times. There is a strong emotional "belief" in the college education, but no well defined metrics to evaluate that education or what it provides anymore.

In the future, people (especially StudentsReview) will be looking more closely at the return that a college education actually provides. In the meantime, if you choose to believe that "college is what you make of it", then you should start the "making it" before you even apply—by researching and choosing the right college.

More from StudentsReview:

The Scoop on State SchoolsA recent college graduate, I vividly remember touring campuses as a prospective student in search of my dream school. My sixteen year old self turned her nose up at anything…read→
How to choose a college majorI was not sure what college major to choose. When you are in your late teens you are not supposed to know what career to choose. From personal experience, I…read→

Other Articles:

• What is a good school?
• Statistical Significance
• How to choose a Major
• How to choose your Career
• What you make of it?
• How Ivy League Admissions works
• Student/Faculty Ratio (not all numbers are what they seem)
• What is a "Good School"?
• Is a Top College Really Worth It?
• Talking to Your Parents when it comes to College.
• The #1 Thing Needed to Survive College and Graduate
• Sniffing Out Commuter Schools
• Start growing up before you begin college, not after you graduate!
• Preparing for College: A Roadmap to Your High School Career
• How to choose your Career or Job Security and the Job-Experience Curve.
• Applying to Graduate School
• On Ivy League Admissions... “get good grades, work hard, and be yourself”?

StudentsReview Advice!

• What is a good school?
• Statistical Significance
• How to choose a Major
• How to choose your Career
• What you make of it?
• How Ivy League Admissions works
• On the Student/Faculty Ratio

• FAFSA: Who is a Parent?
• FAFSA: Parent Contribution
• FAFSA: Dream out of reach

• College Financial Planning
• Survive College and Graduate
• Sniffing Out Commuter Schools
• Preparing for College: A HS Roadmap
• Talking to Your Parents about College.
• Is a top college worth it?
• Why is college hard?
• Why Kids Aren't Happy in Traditional Schools