If you spend hours and weeks envisioning yourself at your “dream school” but an equal amount of time feeling anxious about the possibility of not getting in, then read on. It’s only natural for students to fall in love with a college or university. There are as many reasons to be drawn to a given school as there are choices. Maybe you love the school spirit. Or perhaps you want the adventure of a “city school” where you can escape your hum-drum suburban existence. You might be drawn to a school for its awesome name and reputation or view a college as some exclusive club you’d love to join.

If this description sounds like you, then I have an idea: get excited about two other colleges on your list that are “target” or “likely” schools. Wouldn’t that be like cheating, you might ask? Not at all. I’m a firm believer in the notion that multiple schools can be exactly right for any given student. The trick is, you have to believe that too. If you think carefully about the real and non-tangible factors that drew you to your dream school in the first place, you’ll realize that the same or similar combination of features can be found on other campuses. Visit schools with an open mind, or at a minimum, read the schools’ websites and take their virtual tours. But do so with the conviction that the future is full of possibilities. And finally, be realistic. Your dream school has many suitors. It’s the place that hundreds if not thousands of other students want to call home. Remain optimistic about your chances of admission, but cheer for your other favorites as well, since they too would love to be a part of your dreams.