Thinking and Language Project

Paige Ulbrich

Concept/ prototype of college

When I think of college, I think of a large university, classes with a lot of students and professors that talk so fast you barely have enough time to take notes. I also think of students staying in dorms with other students, staying up countless hours doing homework all night.

How does a major effect where I choose to attend?

Different colleges offer different majors and degrees, so you have to look at colleges based on what you think you'll want to major in. For example, I was considering majoring in marine biology until I discovered there aren't any colleges nearby that offer a marine biology program. I then had to move to my second option; looking into Baylor University's medical program to study to be a pediatric physicians assistant.

Problem solving methods

A.) Trial and Error- When choosing a school, you could use trial and error by looking through each college's list of majors until either seeing the major you want or not seeing it and moving on to a different school. This method can be time consuming because the list of majors is often pretty long and looking for one specific major out of an entire list takes a decent amount of time.

B.) Algorithms- Using an algorithm would mean following a specific process while looking for schools and applying. For example, you could look up the acceptance rate and desired GPA scores for the school you're looking at, then look up the list of majors they offer to see if there is anything you are interested in, then finally looking up the housing offered before deciding if you want to apply. The same process is repeated for each school you look in to.

C.) Heuristics- I used heuristics when looking at colleges, because I knew I didn't want to go anywhere too far from where I live. I narrowed my choices to schools no more than 2 hours away from where I currently live. You could use heuristics to narrow your choices by location, tuition, etc.

D.) Insight- Suddenly realizing where you want to go. I suddenly realized Baylor was the best option for me when I thought about the location, medical program, and housing opportunities. You can also suddenly realize what you want to major in if you've been unsure.

Conformation Bias

An example of conformation bias would be being set on a certain college and only choosing to hear the good things about it. If people told you good things about the college, you would be open to hearing them. But, if people were to inform you of bad things about the college and reasons not to go, you would ignore them because you only want to hear good things about the college you're set on.

Fixation/Mental Set

A fixation/mental set is a tendency to approach a problem the same way you approached it in the past. An example of this would be approaching college classes the same way as high school classes. Even though college classes are different from high school classes, the way you approached high school classes earned you good grades so you're going to try the same thing in college.


Intuition is a gut feeling. It's a feeling that influences you to do something without really any explanation. For example, you could be considering schools out of state but your intuition could be telling you to stay in state close to parents or to avoid out of state tuition. You may not even really know the reason you feel a need to stay close to home.

Representative Heuristic

Hearing other people's college experiences and letting them influence your decision because you want the same experience for yourself. If you hear about their fun experience at a certain college, you'll start to take that college into consideration because you want the same fun experience for yourself. Also, if you see how successful someone is pursuing a certain career, you might take that career into consideration because you want the same success.

Availability Heuristic

An availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate information. For example, if you have a friend in college and you see all the homework assigned and see them struggling with their classes, you might start to fear college all the work that comes with it.


In high school you earned good grades, so you feel like you will be able to earn those same grades in college putting in the same amount of work you did in high school. You soon realize that you were overconfident about your grades because college requires more work than high school.

Belief perseverance

Belief perseverance is not letting anyone stop you from attending your desired college even if they tell you they don't think it's best for you. Attending the college is your dream and you won't let anyone's opinions stop you.


When choosing Baylor, I originally wanted to stay closer to home, but because of their amazing medical program, I was willing to move 2 hours away to receive that education. All the other medical programs in the area weren't as good as Baylor's so I decided that distance wasn't that big of a deal.