Guest Post: Buyer’s Remorse


Hello out there to everyone browsing the blog! My name is Jimmie Foster, Jr. and I am the Director of Freshmen Admissions at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. I was recently asked by Dean Flagel, the site’s creator and mastermind, to become a fulltime contributor to the blog. As you can see, I’ve accepted and I can’t begin to tell you all how excited I am to be a part of your discussions.

I’d like to bring up a real issue that I think many students wrestle with and few counselors get the chance to advise their students on because it happens throughout the summer; that issue is “buyer’s remorse.” You know what I am talking about, that emotional feeling of regret after a purchase; the sense of doubt that the correct decision was made. Did I have enough information to make the decision; did I make the right decision?

Some of you have known where you wanted to attend college for a long time and you were able to make that a reality, but for a large group of you the May 1 deadline was a date where you were forced to choose. Now you wait for your orientation with some anxiety and hope that everything feels right once you get there.

If you are one of those anxious students, my advice to you is, don’t allow that feeling of buyer’s remorse to settle in. I mean technically, you haven’t even been able take your new investment on a “test drive” yet. And honestly, orientation won’t be enough of a “test drive” to determine much more than a feel for the institution and the sample of students that attended the same orientation as you. It takes at least a semester for most students to decide if they made the right decision and many find that they have. Being able to live, eat, and study alongside your new classmates (for an extended period of time); that is the ultimate test drive. So, after a semester or two, if you start to feel “buyer’s remorse” settling in – then I think you have the right to second guess your choice and explore transferring, but not the summer before you even taken your first class. This is an exciting time in your life. Don’t let second guesses spoil your summer. After all, you still don’t know what’s in store for you at any place you would have or will attend.

If you get the chance, check out my profile under the “Contributors” tab to see more about me and also take a look at some of the other new contributors that have joined the blog as well.

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2 Responses

  1. Great point. I’d add two thoughts. First, some of you, especially those away from home for the first time, may confuse buyer’s remorse with homesickness. I see a lot of students during their first semester at other colleges (of course, no one EVER wants to leave Mason!) that want to transfer out of their current school, saying they just feel unhappy. Very often this is more about making the adjustment to college, missing old friends, etc. Almost universally these students are over the “hump” by the end of first semester and have decided to love their schools.

    Which leads to the second point – if you’re having doubts, there is nothing wrong with exploring transfer, especially since 60% of college students in the U.S. do transfer before obtaining a baccalaureate degree. Don’t however, feel obligated just because you apply. Applying to transfer should be your BACKUP plan in case things don’t work out, and if you start to feel great about your school then by all means STAY.

  2. I too want to echo Jimmie’s advice here. As a fairly recent college grad I have very clear memories of my “buyer’s remorse.” I was thrilled to be accepted to the “school of my dreams,” but after attending orientation I thought I made a huge mistake. Even after my first semester and some adjustment I was not convinced I picked the right school. I even applied to transfer to other schools, but when it was actually time to transfer I felt much more reassured that I picked the right school all along and so I stayed. I think a lot of this anxiety is related to how the entire college search process is centered around the idea that every student must find their one DREAM school (!!!), when in reality there are probably a number of places where most students can be happy and successful. You will need time to adjust and get in your groove at any school, so try not to go insane second guessing yourself and instead give whatever school you chose a sufficient shot and get the most out of it.

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