Choosing A College


Kailynn Miller, Editor-In-Chief

How do you choose a college that meets your needs?

A major step in seniors’ lives is choosing which college to attend. Not many people know how to choose which college that they should attend because what are you supposed to look for in a college? You want a college that has a good program for the major you are wanting to pursue. You also want to make sure that they are in a location you wouldn’t mind spending several years at. Do you want to stay close to home or get as far away from home as you can? These are all valid concerns when it comes to choosing the right college for you.

 What is the first thing that you should do when picking a college? The first thing you should do is to create a college list. This means, sit down and find colleges that have programs that cater to your major, interests, and personal goals. You want your college list to contain at least 10-15 colleges so that you have a wide variety to choose from. This will make choosing the right college in the end easier. You can also create a list of pros and cons for each of the colleges on your list. 

What College is Right For Me?

The next thing you should do is make a ranked list of your wants and needs for college. Do you want more of a social experience while in college or do you want to put all your focus on your academics? You also want to consider the classes that you want to take and have available to you. By doing this you have a clear idea of what exactly you want out of the school that you choose. You may not hit all of these wants and needs but by having a list of them you can determine which college hits more of them than the rest. Some things to consider when figuring out what criteria you are looking for are things such as: Geographic location, the majors available, the academic quality, school size, cost of attendance and living, the campus environment, and much more. 

After doing both of these two steps you can cross off certain colleges from your list, if they did not meet your criteria as much as other colleges did- cross them off. After crossing them off, you will have a smaller list of colleges and with this you should plan trips to go visit them. College campuses are a lot different in person than they are in pictures. By going to these colleges you can get a more personal feel for what life would be like while on campus. You can also observe the other people who are currently going to that college; you may even find yourself asking them questions. 

After these steps, you should have narrowed your list down even more. When you were on the campus it might not have felt quite right so you know that you can cross that one off of your list. You should then apply for the colleges that did feel right and met your requirements. Then you play the waiting game. You want to wait for acceptance letters as well as financial aid award letters. These can help you narrow your options to the very last few colleges. You may not be accepted into some of the colleges that you applied for and that is okay because now you have less options to think about. Then, different colleges will offer different financial aid awards, some colleges will offer more than others and you will want to take this into consideration when picking your final college. 

Now you have an even shorter list of colleges, now you want to double back and weigh the pros and cons of each of these last few colleges. Sit down with somebody you trust, a parent, a school guidance counselor, etc. Have them give you an outside perspective and weigh the pros and cons with you. 

After following all of these steps you should be finding yourself happy with your college decision and excited to attend college in the coming school year. Good luck!