It can be so hard to make a decision about where you want to go to college. It is usually easy to decide where you do not want to go, but once you get down to the last two or three it can get very hard to decide.
How do you go about picking the best college for you? You need to make as many visits as you can to Universities with majors you have an interest in pursuing.
You are deciding where you want to live for the next for years and where you go to college can have a tremendous impact on your future. This is a lot of pressure and definitely on o the biggest decisions you have made in your life so far.
Now granted, you have plenty of time to figure out your future and the option of transferring colleges is always open. So, don’t feel that you will be stuck wherever you decide because you won’t. You always have plenty of options to find a place where you think you belong.
Sometimes it takes going to a certain school for a semester in order to realize that isn’t the place for you and that’s okay.
Now there is no complete science to this it really just depends on what you like, how you interact with others, and what you make out of your experiences.
Each person reacts to the change of being a college student differently and each student needs different things out of a college. No one is ever going to have the exact same opinion about you when it comes to which colleges are the best for you.
Here are some tips on how you can go about deciding to choose a college that is best for you the first time around so that you hopefully enjoy every year as a college student.
I got lucky enough to love where I am going to school after attending for the first year and I hope that I can help you have the same experience.
Don’t Choose a College Based on Someone Else
The biggest problem that a lot of students have when it comes to choosing a college is pleasing everyone else.
It is important to realize that you are the one that is going to be attending this school and actually living through it. This means that your opinion is the only one that really matters. If any of your family members are threatening to not help you if you attend, then honestly you shouldn’t want or need their help.
You need to make decisions that will better you and help you achieve all of your goals. This also includes where your friends are going.
One of the worst decisions that you can make is going to a school simply because your friend or a boyfriend/girlfriend is going there. All that this will do is cause you to resent them once you start feeling regret about where you chose which will hurt your friendship anyway.
If you are meant to be dating or friends with someone, then it will happen.
Choosing a school just for them isn’t going to make your friendship any better it honestly might make it worse. This means that you shod also not pressure your friends to choose the college where you are going. This is a decision that they need to make for themselves.
Trust your Instincts
The best thing that you can do in these types of situations is to trust your gut instincts.
Don’t worry about what anyone else says to thinks and just trust where your’re gut feeling is telling you feels like home. You don’t want to ever try to force yourself to like a school because all that shows is that you weren’t in love with it in the first place.
Trust yourself and the options that you have formed because the worst thing that you can do is choose to go to a school and pay for something that you aren’t going to like.
Pay Attention to Location
If you are going to be living on campus, then the location of the college you choose is going to be your home for at least four years. This is going to make an overall huge difference in your life, and you want to make sure that you are choosing a college that is located somewhere that you enjoy and can see yourself living there for four years.
Sometimes you don’t realize how big of a difference the location of your school is until you start actually researching, visiting, and applying to colleges.
Believe it or not, one of the main reasons that students transfer after the first year is because they disliked the location of their college of choice. This means that if you are not fond of small towns that you probably shouldn’t choose a super small school in the middle of nowhere.
Look Beyond Academics
Do your research and look beyond the academics at your school.
See what opportunities they give you because that is a huge part of student life. You want to choose a school that will be focusing on helping you find a career to the best of their ability.
You want a school with many job/career/internship fairs and that helps with resumes so that you can have the best opportunity to obtain your dream job. This can also mean looking for clubs and student organizations.
Some of the fondest memories that people have from college actually have nothing to do with the academic. Of course, academics are still the most important part and you want to receive the best education you can, you also want to make sure that you are actually enjoying your life as a student.
Pay Attention to Current Students at your College Choices
To see what kind of students you will be surrounded by, do the research and see what the current students at your schools are like.
You can look up data and reports to see the academic and statistical side to see what you will be surrounded by.
Take a look at social media accounts and other things to look further into it.
You want to make sure that you will be surrounded by high achieving students who you see yourself making connections with. A lot of the college experience really depends on who you surround yourself with, so don’t forget that.
Talking to a current student about their experiences is actually one of the best things that you can do to gauge what it would actually be like to be a student at that specific university.
Figure Out What is Most Important to You
The best thing that you can do when it really comes down to comparing schools, is to figure out what aspect of college is most important to you.
If that is academics then pick the school that has the best program for your major, if that I location then pick the one with your favorite location, etc.
You want to make sure that you are happy and don’t regret your decision. You should start researching and visiting colleges around the end of your junior year so that you can look at every aspect that you need to.
You have plenty of time in high school to really figure out what you think you want at least. Of course, it is a lot different once you are actually going there and you are an actual student.
Go on a Visit
Going on visits is so important because colleges can seem a lot different online and through word of mouth than when you actually go. You may be set on a college and then when you visit you realize it is nothing like you thought it would be.
You want to figure these things out sooner rather than later so you can find the right college for you. You would rather figure out you don’t like it on a visit than if you chose to go there and realized your first semester.
Now there are obviously a lot of things that you don’t get to see on a visit, but overall you see and hear the most important things including housing, food, opportunities, etc. This is your time to ask any questions and really dig deep into college life at this university.
Don’t be afraid to ask the tour guide questions because that is what they are there for. Visits can really make or break a college for you.
Here is The Ohio State University FAQ sheet on scheduling a visit.
Overall there are so many factors that go into choosing the right college for you and it is so important to stay true to yourself and pick where you can see yourself best.
College is such a great part of your life and you want to enjoy every bit of it. Make sure that you do all of your research in high school and spend a lot of time thinking about your college decisions because of it ill early make a difference in the end.
Make sure that you put yourself first in this situation because it will only benefit you in the end. Help yourself be successful and choose the college that is the best fit for you.
You can get even more information by reading what to focus on when choosing a college.