The questions we ask when selecting an undergraduate or graduate program focus on the financial and vocational. What will it cost? Will I get a job when I graduate? What we miss is the critical question. Who will I become?
It’s not a question just for philosophy majors.
Each university community is a micro culture defined by traditions, behaviors and beliefs. Even the most jaded will be transformed by the experience. That’s why imagining your selfie in four years is as important as financial and career planning.
The Atlantic’s senior editor, Derek Thompson acknowledged this developmental progression when he examined the impact of college choice on future success.
“While hundreds of thousands of 17- and 18-year-olds sit around worrying that a decision by a room of strangers is about to change their lives forever, the truer thing is that their lives have already been shaped decisively by the sum of their own past decisions—the habits developed, the friends made, and the challenges overcome. Where you go to college does matter, because it’s often an accurate measure of the person you’re becoming.”
If you accept that college is a point on the developmental continuum, your challenge is to find a place where your past intersects with your optimal opportunity for continued growth.
If place defines you, it’s a campus where you’ll discover the gaps in your experience and explore every possible resource to fill in the blanks. Networking will not be an abstract process for job search, but a four year active engagement with faculty, administrators and colleagues.
Your future is not determined by the decision of an admissions committee, but by the sum of your individual decisions over time, and who you will become.