How to Choose the Right College for You

We are about to enter one of the most stressful periods of time in one’s high school career: college application time. As fall begins, many high school seniors will start the process of submitting college applications. Choosing which colleges you want to apply to is a very important decision, and it is definitely not an easy one. There are a few key questions you should ask yourself while choosing the colleges you want to apply to: How close to home do you want to be? Does the school offer good programs for what you are interested in? Do you know anyone that has attended the school? What did they think? Would you enjoy living on the campus? These are just a few things to think about. It is important to remember that when applying to colleges, you should try to be as informed as possible about the schools you are interested in.

If you are completely unsure of where you want to go to school, a good place to start is by asking those around you for recommendations. This could be counselors, teachers, friends, or family. If you know anyone in college, you could ask them how they like the school they are at and what other schools they considered or applied to. Asking students who attend the school can be particularly beneficial because they have firsthand experience of life on campus and the overall atmosphere. Through these recommendations you can receive people’s honest opinions, and they will tell you about both the good and bad aspects of the school. After getting recommendations, you can also research the schools on your own and see if any of them interest you. Another good way to learn information about different schools is through attending college fairs. At college fairs you can speak with representatives from different colleges and ask them any questions you have about both the application process and the school itself.

Colleges should interest you not only personally but also academically. You should think about your academic goals and then decide which colleges would best help you achieve those goals. Some people know exactly what they want to do and want to be trained in one specific line of work. Others prefer a more liberal arts education that provides them with general knowledge and skills suitable for many jobs. If it is important for you to be able to take classes in many different subject areas and explore your interests, a liberal arts school may be the way to go. 

Keep in mind that academics are not going to consume your whole life while you are at college. If you are planning to live on campus, find out what the dorms, food, and places around campus are like. You will be a student, but you will also be a human being who has a life outside of academics. Take a look at the extracurriculars that the school offers and see if there are things that you could see yourself getting into. College should be a fun place where you hang out with your friends and have a good time before you have to be an adult in the real world. 

Everyone is going to have different things that are important to them when choosing a college. What makes one college someone’s dream school may be a deal breaker for someone else. Ultimately, you want to pick schools that meet your personal needs the best. Good luck to all of the seniors applying to college this year!

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