College. It’s the amazing time in your life when you learn so much–not just about a particular area of study, but yourself. You get the chance to go anywhere you’d like. You could move across the country or even to the other side of the world.
Going to college is really exciting, but choosing the right one can take a lot of meditation and time. So how do you figure out what’s the perfect college for you? Follow these guidelines for a look:
Put your researching skills to the test. One of my biggest fears is regretting things. If you’re anything like me, then picking a college can be a huge task because you never want to feel like you’ve missed out on any one option. Make sure to go online, buy some “college books,” (the bigger, the better!) and really immerse yourself in researching the types of schools you like.
Priorities, priorities, priorities! When you’re selecting a school, prioritize what’s important to you. Not feeling a rural school? Then don’t even think of applying to one! City schools seem intimidating and they’re something you’re not ready for? Then avoid touring them. Make sure you factor not just academic reputation but how likely you’ll get in to a certain college or university. Also know its size, location, proximity to home and all the opportunities (like study abroad, internships, etc.) that come with the school–then you’ll feel like you really did your homework!
Enjoy the view. Visiting colleges is awesome. Trust me, you’ll never have so much fun in your academic life. You have the chance to visit someplace totally amazing and really envision yourself there for the next four years. For me, I knew I’d visited my dream school when I took a tour. Be sure to take a tour and enjoy what the campus has to offer. Of course, ask lots of questions, too! Current students are your best resource when it comes to choosing a place to go to school. Usually they’ll be relatable and honest so don’t by shy!
Test the waters. While you’re visiting a school, test out what it’s like to really be a student there! Ask the admissions office if there’s any way you can sit in on classes or visit a residence hall while you’re touring the school. Be sure to also take a peek into whatever department you’re interested in–if you’re interested in engineering, stop by the Science Center. Same thing goes for an interest in any other major! Schools love curious prospective students and you may stand out when you express your interest to those sitting in the admissions office.
Be flexible and open. You may find your dream school but when you get there on the first day of classes you could realize it’s not the place for you. You could also have your options limited by acceptances and financial aid. On each college tour, make sure to really absorb the school community, feel and student body, even if its one your parents made you go on. You never know where you may end up, and it may all turn out for the best. Make a list of the qualities you want in a school and resources you feel you need to get the best education, then see how your list of schools stack up. You be surprised by which schools fulfill the most of your wish list, regardless of how you felt about the school while on a tour.
Have fun! Remember to enjoy the whole college experience. College really is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to grow as an adult and person. Pick a place that plays to your strengths and run with it! You’ll meet so many amazing people in the process and learn a lot about yourself and others.
Good luck in your college search from all of us at GradGuard!