Planning for College

Courtney Finley

1. Concept/Prototype of college

My concept/ prototype of college being a four-year public university can play a role in which school I choose to go to by limiting me from choosing schools such as private universities or vocational colleges.

2. Problem Solving Methods

  • Trial and Error- Although definitely not a recommended plan of action, one could go about choosing a college by attending a few before picking one to attend permanently.
  • Algorithms- Using an algorithm, one could systematically factor all of their desired elements (such as distance from home, school size, student-teacher ratio, etc.) into an equation to mathematically decide which school is the most desirable.
  • Heuristics- Similar to the algorithm approach, one could focus on the core components they're looking for in a college (such as major and housing options) instead of factoring in every single element they're looking for into an equation.
  • Insight- One could experience insight when choosing a college when they discover that Texas State offers a great housing program for psychology majors and that's all they've been looking for in a university.

3. Confirmation Bias

If already settled on a college (say, Texas State), one might only search for reasons to go to Texas State. They will focus on the good things of the college even if they read things such as negative reviews from current students.

4. Fixation/Mental Set

Another problem that comes up when planning for college is moving out and into a college dorm or apartment. One might experience fixation during the housing process if they're set on renting an apartment and then are unable to see the bright side to moving to a dorm room when they realize freshmen are required to live on campus. Being used to having choices, they're unable to see a new perspective other than the fact that they're being limited.

5. Intuition

When choosing a major, the majority of people will admit to having thought it over for a while before making a choice. Some, however, follow their intuition, picking the major that feels right to them. They listen to the effortless automatic feeling or thought they experience to choose their major.

6. Representative Heuristic

Someone who wants to attend a highly-regarded university may look for specific details such as lavish architecture, posh students, and a large library. If a school does not appear to match this mental concept/prototype, he or she might decide that they don't want to attend the school, regardless of its reputation.

7. Availability Heuristic

Someone who wants to attend a college due to its reputation of crazy parties might use the availability heuristic to predict the likelihood of them occurring by judging the amount of parties they've attended on the campus. If they've attended a party on campus just once and the memory is vivid enough, they might inaccurately believe that parties occur more often then they do.

8. Overconfidence

When considering a major to follow, a student may experience overconfidence with their choice and overestimate their judgement and knowledge of how the major suits their interests and career plans. It is not an uncommon occurrence for students to change their major.

9. Belief Perseverance

Belief perseverance can influence a student's choice in schools, as well. Although given plenty of reasons as to why UNT is better than Texas State, the student may continue to readily accept studies supporting their belief in Texas State superiority over UNT rather than studies that argue against it.

10. Compensations

Originally I wanted to stay close to home and attend UNT but I've learned that Texas State allows housing with students with similar majors and the housing opportunity has made me rethink my ideal distance of the college I want to attend.
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