Picking the right college can feel like the most important decision of your life. And for most of you, it basically is. In this post, we go over some angles you should start thinking about before jumping into the selection process.
Colleges are not one-size fits all. A massive school with a robust Greek life may not suit someone who is destined to study engineering at Lehigh. The only way to determine what size works best for you is to tour a bunch of schools. In our experience, it’s intuitive. After visiting, most kids can just kind of feel it. However, a lot of kids walk onto their first campuses of schools with 2,000 and 25,000 students, respectively and say, “I could do either.” The truth is, you should really narrow it down. So, start by visiting and commit to leaving your tours with a decision to either go big or go small.
Choosing a Program
Some kids just know that they want to go to an undergrad business school, or study biology, or declare an English major. If you’re one of those kids, we salute you. Your life is going to be a bit easier than your less decisive colleagues. Stick with it for now. On the other hand, there are a lot of kids who enter into the college process undecided. Then, there are those undecided kids who are kind of leaning in one direction, but are hesitant to commit. If you are a leaner, let’s say you have some inclination that you want to study undergrad business, then just go with it. If you’re in the truly undecided majority, that’s okay. Choosing a major when you’re really not sure can be overwhelming. We have our undecided kids start off by identifying their favorite classes and also discuss the things they enjoy doing most in their spare time. Then, we have them look at the classes offered for each schools’ related majors. Typically, fewer than 10 stick out. We’ve never met a kid who said they are really down for every single one of those classes. So, be very honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to choose. Start this process early, because it takes time. Then, look at all of the schools that have the programs you think you like. Being specific and selective is crucial!
Location, Location, Location
The only real decision to make here is whether or not you want to get on a plane. If you don’t, great! You’re looking within a 5-hour radius around your house. Hot and cold weather are secondary factors, but we caution against weather informing your decision too much. We know a lot of kids who are from New York who say “I only want California or the South.” That outlook is really limiting. But you can, on the other hand, decide that Buffalo is just too cold.
Part of your touring process should be to talk to people who aren’t associated with the school. What we mean by that is that, although tour guides are real students, they’re working for the school and you’re not likely to get a real impression from them. So, don’t be shy. Go up to students on campus and ask them real questions, like, for examples, what they do for fun on a Thursday or Saturday.
None of this list matters if you haven’t considered your realistic chance of getting in. Who doesn’t love everything there is to love about Yale?! It’s perfect. So, get real about your own stats and write them down.
Need help finding the perfect schools for your to apply to? Reach out to use here. We’re great at helping match students with the right fits for them.