Picking the Right College

If you’re a junior or senior in high school  chances are you’ve been told to make a list of colleges that you plan on attending. Researching colleges can be time consuming and sometimes you might get overwhelmed as the information might be too much to take in at first. In this guide you’ll learn what information to focus on so you can pick the best school for you. 

Type of College

The first step in choosing a college is understanding what your academic or career goals are. Most students on the path to college apply to 4-year universities, but that’s not the only option. Some careers only require an associate’s degree so 2-year colleges are a good choice for that. If you’re interested in the trades then trade, or vocational, school is for you. There you’ll focus on developing your skills to prepare for technical and practical jobs such as an Electrician. Finally, community college is also a valid option many people typically overlook. A popular advice to students has been that they can do 2 years of community college to finish their general education classes and then transfer to another school or complete your education without transferring. This will not only save you an abundance of money but also alleviate a lot of stress. 

Location 

The next factor to take into consideration is that you have to understand that you’ll be moving away from home for the first time, so moving away to a comfortable location is crucial. When picking a school make sure you know you’ll like the environment, the atmosphere, and the culture there. If you’re adventurous and you want to explore the world then moving to a new state or county or a college that is in a different setting than your used to would be perfect. In North Carolina we have amazing state schools with settings geared towards people who like the beach at Wilmington or people who like the mountains like Appalachian or even people who like the big city like Charlotte. Another way to choose a school can be based on how close it is. Most schools require freshmen to stay on campus, but after that you can go where you please. Moving into a location that has affordable apartments can help you save money or even commuting from home to school can save you thousands of dollars. 

Cost 

This one’s a no brainer but choosing the right school also comes with making sure you don’t graduate with a mountain of debt. Make sure you’re diligent about your research on the types of aid packages they provide or the types of scholarships they have available. Although it’s hard, working while you’re in school can also help towards cost of living and education. 

Campus Life and Student Culture

One thing high school students who plan on attending college look forward to is the college experience. Of course your education is important, but what’s life if you can’t have a little fun. You can talk to current students, college representatives, browse websites, and visit the school to see how the students are and what they do for fun. Look for clubs and other extracurricular opportunities that are available. On the other hand you could look for what’s missing and then implement it into the school as a new activity when you attend. 

Overall, finding the best college for you is a long and tedious process, so making sure you take your time and start early. Incorporate your own values, educational goals, the campus, and financial needs when picking a school. If you follow the guide outlined above you’ll be able to find the perfect match for you. 

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