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How to Choose a College

When you’re close to high school graduation, everyone has a question for you: “where are you going to college?” Your parents, friends, neighbors, teachers… everyone wants to know the same thing. Wouldn’t you love to make a random pick and end up with the right choice? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to decide for your own future. The importance of this decision may be intimidating. What if you make a mistake? Will you be able to fix it without consequences? How can you make the right choice when many options seem appropriate?

The following tips will guide you in the right direction.
1. Remember: it is your own responsibility! You parents will probably want to impose their opinion, since they know what’s best for you. Unfortunately, parents are wrong in many cases. You can take advice if you need it, but the important thing is to stay focused. Do you already know what type of college program interests you? Do you have a priority about your future? Then you can accept other people’s opinions as advice, not as a direction that would take you off course.

2. Location is important. The prestige of the schools you apply to is important, but so is its location. Would you feel better in a big city or a smaller community? Would you like to stay close to home or challenge yourself with education abroad? It is very important to make these decisions before you start looking for suitable colleges that fit into your criteria.

3. What about the major? Your skills, interests and goals should determine the choice of a college. If you intend on studying a particular major, then examine the offers of different colleges and see what the course curriculums include. If you don’t have a clue on what major to choose, then go for a college that offers plenty of opportunities for selective courses and extracurriculars.

4. Size matters. Do you picture yourself in a big campus that offers countless degree programs and lots of events to keep you busy? Do you want to break free from the limited high school community and enjoy the advantages of anonymity? Then you should definitely apply to big colleges, which offer a wide variety of courses of majors, housing opportunities, sports programs, and a great deal of student activities. Some students, on the other hand, feel more comfortable in an intimate environment. They want to get personal attention from professors and career advisers, and enjoy the feeling of belonging into a community. Some of the greatest benefits of small colleges include hands-on learning experience and reduced class sizes.

5. Consider the campus life. Although you should be primarily concerned about education (this is what your parents say, right?) that doesn’t mean that the campus environment is not important. What recreational activities does the college offer? What are the residence hall requirements and food plans? Does the college offer part-time employment opportunities on campus? Are you interested in becoming part of Greek organizations?
All these considerations are important.

Remember: Don’t rush the process

It takes a lot of time, research and effort to find the right college for you. The application process is lengthy and nerve-wracking, but that doesn’t mean you should rush through it. Your choice of college shouldn’t be guided by intuition; it’s a serious decision and you need to be informed about different options before making the final choice. Once you make the needed considerations according to the tips listed above, you will end up with a short list of colleges. Revisit it many times and think of the advantages and disadvantages of each school. It’s never too early to start the search for the perfect college!
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