Your students have lots of questions and concerns about their future. First, they need to decide if they are going to go to college or not. If they’ve chosen to pursue higher education, the next question they’ll have is about how to pick a college. Many factors influence their decision, including the job they want, finances, location, campus culture and more. It’s one of the most defining decisions of their life, and you can be a guide by debunking myths from the start.

Why is it important to clear up myths about picking a college?

Misinformation in the digital age is abundant, and students need a trusted ally to weave through it. They may also have misconceptions they’ve gained from other influences, including family and friends. Biases exist, as well, which can cloud judgment, so providing objective facts and advice enables students to navigate how to pick a college without rose-colored glasses.

Myth No. 1: The most prestigious colleges are always the best choice.

Prestigious colleges have a reputation and history that speak volumes. They have excellent programs and resources but often come with a steep price tag and are highly competitive.

“Best” is a very subjective descriptor, too. What is best for each student depends on their individual needs, preferences and goals. A more prestigious college won’t always be the best fit for a student when they’re evaluating offerings, location, the campus experience and costs.

Having tunnel vision on attending a college they perceive as prestigious causes students to overlook reality. Instead, emphasize to them what really matters when picking a college — the skills they want to attain, their unique attributes and their career goals — to help narrow down the list.

Myth No. 2: Smaller colleges have fewer resources.

Small colleges often have fewer majors than large universities. However, they may specialize in specific programs, which can translate to the programs being stronger. The size of the college doesn’t dictate the value of the education a student receives or if attending it makes students career-ready. The goals of your students and their preferences are what matters.

Some students may prefer a smaller school because of the culture. Transitioning from high school to college has its challenges. For some, it may be overwhelming to attend a school with tens of thousands of people. A smaller school may fit the comfort level of those students.

Myth No. 3: Cost and value are the same.

The cost of tuition and other expenses isn’t the same as value. Just because a college costs more doesn’t equate to it being a better school. It may have name awareness, but that doesn’t automatically translate to value in the job market.

Students need to assess their options based on the value they’ll receive, which also includes the experiences they’ll have at a school. Ultimately, value matters much more than cost.

Myth No. 4: Only Ivy League schools guarantee success.

The belief that only attending an Ivy League school can create a prosperous future is a myth ingrained in our society. No school or program provides any type of guarantee. Some schools have the potential for an advantage initially, but as students age and gain experience, the name on their degree means much less.

Research suggests that Ivy Leaguers are more likely to earn in the top 1%, attend an elite graduate school and work at a prestigious employer. However, there’s more to this than the degree they earn. Looking into the study, you must consider the context of the socioeconomic makeup of many of these students — they are typically from the top 1% to start with and have advantages not afforded to most of the world.

It’s crucial to discuss this misconception with this added information. Those who graduate from public universities or non-Ivy League schools have the ability to find career and financial success. Having drive and seeking opportunities to network, intern and build skills are much better predictors of success, ensuring a student can be adaptable and ready for the future of work.

They need to understand their skills and abilities so they can formulate a plan. Providing them with modern career management software and solutions, such as pepelwerk’s platform, will be essential for this. You’ll be able to provide them with an AI career guide, assessments and learning opportunities. It’s all measurable as well.

Myth No. 5: It’s not worth attending college if you don’t know the career you want.

Students don’t have to have their entire future planned when applying to schools. They have time to experiment and decide. Using the pepelwerk platform supports them in coming to these conclusions based on their attitudes, aptitudes and abilities. The AI Career Guide is a path for them to explore. 

Watch the video below to explore how schools are proactively approaching the integration of AI.


However, be sure they know that they still have the ability to change the course they start on. While they don’t want to switch majors multiple times, they do have the freedom to change their minds.

Support students in picking a college with pepelwerk.

You can set students up for success and debunk myths with these insights. pepelwerk’s platform and solutions simplify technology, improve student outcomes and empower educators. A key aspect is the AI Career Guide. Learn how it works and the value it holds for helping students to pick a college.

Reimagine how you help students find careers with pepelwerk events.