Beyond the basic decision to go to college, choosing the right college is just as important. Before applying to school, ask yourself the following questions.
What do you want to do when you graduate? What are you passionate about? What kind of atmosphere do you want on campus?
In addition to the reputation of the college, there are several factors you and your family should think about and discuss to make sure you choose a right school.
Below, we explore the two essential factors to help you understand how to choose a college.
1. Focus on what makes you happy rather than what others are doing
It's common for students from the same high school to apply to the same colleges. There could be many factors behind this phenomenon, but it seems unlikely that the same school would be the right fit for the majority.
Try to set aside what you think you may know as well as any preconceived assumptions about post-secondary institutions and remember there are many quality schools ready to discover.
In addition to trying to stand out from the crowd, it’s also important to look for meaningfulness and fulfillment, and only you can define that for yourself when choosing a college.
2. Focusing on the ‘right fit’ over ranking and why it’s important
When looking for the "right fit", keep in mind who you are. The more you focus on determining the best fit, the more you will gain from your 4-5 years there, which will move you in a more positive direction.
When choosing universities and colleges that is the right fit for you, look at:
Its choice of majors and minors and whether or not they have what you need in order to achieve your career goals
Its curriculum and whether or not it’s something you can manage
Its campus life and whether or not it has the atmosphere you crave. The odds are, you won’t be in class all day, and therefore it’s important to look at the world around the school. Does the school offer extra-curricular activities of interest to you? Are there strong work-study positions? What is its student association like?
The city around the college. Is it a place with an interesting history? What is there to do around the school? Are there enough activities to keep you occupied?
When choosing a college it’s important to research, and then research some more
With the above information in mind, make a list of the colleges you’d like to attend and then dive into researching all of them further.
Commonly, the focus is on whether or not you can get into your chosen college and how said institution can open doors once you graduate. But it’s important to keep in mind the time between the day you get in and the day you leave - 4,5 years when you’re actually part of the school.
When researching, look at:
The college life
Diversity of the campus
The size of the school and its location
Cost - can you afford to attend and if not, are there scholarships available?
Make sure to use multiple sources when researching colleges
From college brochures, to school websites, their social channels, college publications, current students and alumni as well as reviews, there are numerous places to look when choosing a college.
The more you equip yourself with knowledge, the better decision you’ll be able to make. In addition to using the college’s resources, here are some helpful links for research:
Once your research is complete, you will be ready to apply. In the end, believe in your ability to make decisions, participate, and succeed - it's all in your power.