Picking The Right College: Five Best Tips For High School Seniors
The month of May is a time many high school students begin to make a decisions about the college they will call home for the next four years. This decision process is stressful, and with all the many factors that go into choosing a school, how does one decide which college will be the perfect fit? Below are five tips you should consider when choosing a college that is right for you:
1. Location. For some high school scholars, college may be the first time they will be away from home for an extended period of time. The idea of going to school far away from your parents, seems awesome until you realize that there are disadvantages to this decision, one of which is the cost of transportation. This is not to say that you should not go to a college far away from home; your main reason for choosing a school should not be the distance it will put between you and your parents.
For some students however, the first year can be an extremely difficult time adjusting to college. Therefore, if you feel like you will be tempted to go home every weekend, then maybe picking a school a little farther away from home is not such a bad idea. The first year of college is a great time to make new friends and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Therefore, pick a school in a location where you will be happy.
2. Type. make sure to carry out in-depth research on the kind of schools you want to attend. Do you want a school with a religious affiliation or not? How about whether it is a public or private school? The type of university you attend may have an impact on various aspects of your life and learning for the next four years. Religiously affiliated school may require theology classes, private schools may cost more, and so on. In knowing what you want, you can make a better decision about what school will fit your needs.
3. Majors. In looking at schools, many students focus on the aesthetics and overlook the basics, such as whether the majors offered meet their educational goals. Knowing what majors are offered and what the university specializes in are important factors to picking the right school — this is especially important for students that are undecided. It will be an unfortunately reality if you decide you want to major in something your university does not offer simply because you forgot to do your research.
3. Scholarship. This may be an obvious aspect of deciding on which school to go to, but the importance of scholarships can not be reiterated enough. A psychology degree is a psychology degree no matter where you graduate from. There are some schools that may have stronger programs than others, but coming out of school with little to no loans will be better than having to pay them back for the next 30 years.
4. Big School vs. Little School. Take into account the number of students that attend your top choice school. Going to a university with a large football team and a lot of school spirit may seem like fun, but when 300 people are in your English 101 class, it can be a little bit overwhelming. Pay attention to how you learn. If you are someone who needs a lot of hands-on attention then a smaller school might be a better choice for you.
5. People. When you are visiting colleges make sure to look around and see if the students look like people you could hang out with. A major part of the college experience is making new and meaningful relationships. If you visit a college and find that you do not vibe with the students there, then the school might not be the best fit for you.
Also, it might be difficult to tell if you will like the people at the school simply from a 30 minute tour. If you have the chance, stay a night with a student that attends the university, or simply go with them to a couple of classes. This will give you better insight into the type of people that go to school there; it will also be helpful to you as you narrow down your choices for where you can call home for the next four years.
What colleges are you deciding on? Will these five tips be helpful to you as you prepare to pick your top school from your list of choices? Let me know in the comments below or find me on twitter @whatsthesich.