31 Mar How To Choose The Right College
With the deadline for college decisions right around the corner, you’re probably in the midst of figuring out which school to attend. If you are lucky enough to get into your first choice, then deciding on a college should be an easy decision. But if you’ve gotten into multiple equally desirable schools, you may need to ponder over where you will want to spend the next four years of your life.
There are numerous factors to consider when determining which college fits you best. Here are some steps based on tried and tested strategies:
A college is not only its ranking, campus culture, or location, it is all of these things, and so much more. There’s lots of different factors to consider when comparing schools, which is why you should never make a judgement based solely on one aspect. Your college decision should be formed through a holistic evaluation of a school.
The first step in this process of evaluation is listing out the main school factors, such as the cost of attendance, quality of education, and location. This list will serve as a reference point that you can use to judge a school’s fundamental strengths and weaknesses, for your specific case. Run each of the schools which you are considering through this list, and visualize how the schools stack up against each other. If you have a large prospect pool, applying this method will help narrow down your options. Take a look at the table below to see some important school qualities that you might not have considered.
Good Information Helps Making Good Decisions
After you’ve completed the preliminary step of weeding out your lesser options, you should be left with only the best possible schools. At this point, you may find that these schools seem almost identical in terms of their qualities. How do you choose between two or three schools that appear to be the same in terms of academics, prestige, and extracurriculars? To decide between seemingly identical schools, you must do your due diligence.
By conducting in depth research, you’ll find that no school is exactly the same. Although two schools may appear to be identical academically, does one school specialize in a particular field? If diversity is important to you, how is the school’s political, gender, and cultural diversity? If you have any pressing personal questions or concerns, does this school address these issues? There are many points of differentiation between schools that can’t be determined by looking at a simple overview. Ideally, you’d get the answers to your questions directly from students or faculty at that school. Good places to find information include forums, online databases, and student review websites. Additionally, EduPeer makes it easy to consult with a student at your school of interest and ask any questions that you may have related to college admission and selection. Invest your time and do more research, because good information helps make good decisions!
In going though the first two steps, you’ve now narrowed down your prospect pool and completed a comprehensive evaluation of your top schools. Now it is time to do a bit of self reflection. Take some time to really evaluate your personality traits, interests, and goals; think about what truly matters to you. There are some things you can eventually get comfortable with, and there are other things that can’t be compromised. If you need to be in an environment that is peaceful and quiet to be happy, could you get over living in a busy city for four years? If you learn best in a small classroom setting, how would you feel about sitting in a lecture hall with hundreds of other people? The answers to these questions can only be realized with a little bit of self-reflection.
To get the best college experience, and to be happy the next four years, you have to understand yourself. Who are you? What do you want to become? What do you want to get out of college? After going through this college decision process, you should have the answers to these questions, and the tools to decide on the best college for you. Trust your gut!