Why Dream Schools are Like Bad Crushes and What To Do About It

Feb 11, 2021 | podcast

In today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt tells you how to truly fall in love with your dream school.

Have a question? Text 610-222-5762.

Subscribe now wherever you listen to podcasts:



VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 


AL: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk. This is Dr. Aviva Legatt, founder and Elite Admissions Expert at Ivy Insight and author of “Get Real and Get In”. Today, we’re going to discuss why dream schools are like bad crushes and what to do about it. Have you ever had a crush on someone but you’re not sure why? It was just some kind of feeling that you had about that person that they were meant for you in some These feelings might feel like true love but I’m sorry to tell you it’s really just infatuation. Infatuation happens when you have a or intense admiration for someone and something but these feelings are not grounded in reality. They’re grounded in dreams. Maybe the person the crush you have is handsome, beautiful, intelligent, has great potential. Whatever qualities, you most value. When you have a crush on someone, you might be elevating some of their wonderful, qualities and overlooking some of their flaws and their quirks. But you see some parallels between having a crush and having a dream school? So let’s talk about how having a crush is just like having a dream school. Most people I know who have a school love it or they think they love it for one of the following reasons. One, reputation. What is a reputation? It is a feeling that you have about something and what the value will be to you from getting that thing. Second is the beauty of the campus. Again, a wonderful reason to be to attracted to a college, but not necessarily a reason to attend. Third, success of the alumni. So you might admire these alumni stories and their trajectories but that doesn’t necessarily mean the campus is right for you or that the school is right for you. Finally, prestige of the degree. So, prestige, again, is a very abstract kind of quality that a campus has. It’s not really grounded in something that is day-to-day in that experience. So all these reasons that I mentioned that you or someone, you know, might have a dream school totally makes sense. These are valid reasons for you to find yourself attracted to or infatuated by a school but it’s not necessarily a reason you should apply there. Ultimately, the same rules apply to a dream school as to a potential romantic partner. You wouldn’t get married to somebody that you barely know, right? For this to be a true relationship with a college and a true partnership, and ensure that you have a match, You have to get to know the school more deeply beyond the superficial qualities of beauty, reputation and success. You have to learn about the college’s flaws, its nuances, its works, in addition to its strengths. So what can you do to turn your dream school from your crush to your lifelong partner? Here’s what you do: You have to get to know your college from the inside out. To do that, you can apply one or more of these strategies. One, take a class online or on campus. If you go through a platform like Coursera, you can learn about a time a topic of interest while learning from some of faculty on campus. You may even meet other students who are taking extra classes from the college or from colleges and high schools around the world. You could also attend a pre-college program. These days, many pre-college programs are online but they are taught by faculty at the university and you will also have the chance to connect with current students in many cases. Second, if you could safely visit campus don’t just rely on the tour guide and what the admissions officer is saying at the info session. Do some secret shopping, some snooping if you will. Talk to different people on campus. Learn about them and what their life is like there. Not every day is sunshine and roses at a dream school. There are good days. There are bad days. There are great qualities about a college, there are terrible qualities about college, and not just some colleges. Every college. Finally, if you can’t make it to campus or take a class, I’d like you to reach out to a to a current student, recent alum, faculty member, or campus administrator. When you’re choosing who to talk to make sure you pick somebody whom you have things in common with so that they can help you to envision yourself and your life there. Ultimately, a dream school should turn from a crush into a long term relationship. If you truly want to make your dream a reality, follow these strategies to fall in true love.


VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222- 5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.