THAT Time Of Year….Uh–Gain!

It’s April.  Big deal you say.  But for many it is a big deal.  It is the time of year when a special species roams randomly around the country on a quest to find a new home.  This species has a varying life-span.  For some members of the species they have been on this quest for two or three years.  Other members of the species have been on the same quest for only a matter of months.  The life-span of each member of said species varies as much as the radius of geography each member traverses during their quest.

  • The species:  The Human High School Senior
  • The quest: Choosing A College

My email has been pinging with notes from high school juniors and seniors (as well as their mothers….rarely a father emails.  It’s always the mother when a parent does the searching inquiring).  I have met with many of them already.  Some have met with my Graduate Assistants.  All of them are looking for a place to go to school that has a “big marching band.”  And I, of course tell them the truth:  “The UDMB is big.  Over 300 members.  We would love to have you.  **BUT** make sure  UD is the place for YOU.  Make sure it has the degree program you want. Make sure you can “see” yourself here on campus–can you picture yourself walking the grounds? Can you see yourself living in the dorms?  Can you envision spending four years of your life studying in your department of choice?  If not, then as much as I would love to have you in the band, UD is not the place for you.”

Many potential students (and colleagues for that matter) look at me like I’m crazy.  You mean I’m not making empty promises, painting the perfect picture, ensuring 100% success in order to get as many students to come to UD as possible?  Nope folks, I’m not.  And here’s why:

If a student chooses to come to UD just because they want to be in the “Fightin’ Blue Hen Marching Band,” then they are doing themselves a disservice.  There is nothing worse than being on a college campus and being totally miserable–nothing.  How do I know this?  Because it happened to me!  I did not begin my college career at UMASS (my eventual home and family).  I started somewhere else….and spent my entire sophomore year desperately trying to leave.  I chose another institution “because of the band” and not because it was the “right fit for me.”

I was fortunate–more fortunate than I knew at the time.  I have parents who only wanted me to be happy regardless of the angst it caused them (and Lord knows I caused them more angst than they ever deserved).  I transferred to a new “home” at the conclusion of my sophomore year and it was “the right fit AND had a big marching band.”  THAT decision was the best one I ever made and one that shaped me as a person and as a professional.

So here we are, another April and another season of that species roaming the countryside in search of WHO and WHAT they will become.  There is no question that I would love to have ALL OF YOU as part of the UDMB.  Just make sure YOU choose UD for the right reasons.