It’s that time of year. Us high school seniors have to travel around all over the place, trying to figure out which college we want to go to (well, if they actually wanted US). Book reviewing goes to second position in importance (if you’re smart) as you truck all around going AH WHAT DO I DO WITH THE REST OF MY LIFE?! Well, unless you’ve already got it all figured out. In which case, I really don’t like you. You should really be sharing my pain right now.
Lately, reviewing books has started taking over my life. I’ve been TALKING in book reviews. Here are some interesting similarities between book reviewing and making that almighty college decision…
A book with a gorgeous cover isn’t necessarily a gorgeous book. I have reviewed some examples of this pretty loudly. You also can’t get a good look at a college by staring at its brochure. Seriously. All those pictures were purposefully taken under the best circumstances. If you see a college in a stormy and/or winter-y blast and STILL like it, then you’ve got something going for you. But looks can definitely be deceiving.
Authors only blurb books they like. Colleges only use quotes from students who enjoyed themselves. Just because your favorite author blurbed a book doesn’t make it The Next Great Novel On Your Bookshelf. Just because a famous person lauded a college doesn’t make it The Next Ivy League College of Greatness. Take everything you hear with a gigantic grain of salt.
3. The publicity department isn’t going to tell you it’s bad.
Ad campaigns only tell you the good stuff. Publicists only tell you the great stuff. The people who do college tours only tell you the best stuff. 99% of people who run those tours are students who’ve had a great experience at the college, and are also trained not to tell you about the bad stuff. If the college offers an overnight option, TAKE IT. You might be surprised what you find out when the students really get candid.
If a book doesn’t catch you instantly, you’re done, right? Well, if a college doesn’t get you instantly, it usually doesn’t get better. Not always, but I tend to have big faith in my gut instincts. Either way, first impressions can either make or break a college in your mind–just like the first pages of a book.
5. But those first pages mean nothing.
Let’s face it. A book can get off to a rolling start, and then peter off into Nowheresville. A college can get off to a great start–hey, you can even be visiting your top choice!–and then things can go south fast. The reverse can also happen: you can get a bad first impression, and then things shoot upward. Either way, first impressions are important and can color the rest of your thought process, but don’t forget to give things a chance.