I teach at a community college, and many of my students want to transfer. Some of them even want to be English majors, God bless 'em. Every spring, I teach British Literature, and in that class I have students who end up transferring to all kinds of places--local CSUs, small colleges, Berkeley, UCLA, Dartmouth--all kinds of places.
A couple of months ago, one of my students said that she wanted to transfer to a school somewhere back East that had a good English program as well as a good program in another specific interest area. Well, as I'm sure you realize, that's quite a broad request. At first, I told her that there were lots of strong English programs and that I didn't know about the other. I mean, really, it reminded me of when I worked at a used bookstore, and people would ask me to recommend a book. Where to begin?!
But then I happened to think of a school that I went to for one of my graduate programs. And I realized that I could totally see this student at that school. It's not a top tier school, but it's very good, and, historically, they have had a very strong English program. I did some research and found out that they have a rather extensive program in her other special interest area. So I told her about the school (which she'd probably never heard of) and gave her some links to check out.
The result? Over the past four weeks or so, she has applied, been accepted, and plans to begin in January. As far as I know, she's never even been to that part of the country. She is very excited, and I'm really excited for her, and I think it will be a good fit. But I'm also a little freaked out about how much my suggestion has just changed the course of her life. What if she hates it or if things turn out badly?