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If you’re like some people, you have known what college you want to attend since the beginning of high school. For others, however, choosing the right college to attend is a nerve-racking decision. And why not? I mean, college is a BIG deal! Looking back at my decision two years ago, I realize how different my life would be if I had chosen to attend a different college. I wouldn’t know hardly any of my friends. I would have different life experiences. I would not have met my boyfriend Jordan. Some of my favorite memories would not even exist. The list goes on and on. Looking back now, I wish someone had given me a few tips on how to narrow down which college is the one for me. For those of you who are juniors or seniors in high school, here is a short and sweet list of ways to help you decide which college is the one for you.
1. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR COLLEGE OPTIONS.
Although you may not know exactly which college you want to attend, most people at least have a few colleges in mind. So, before you really start narrowing those down, it’s best to write the names of the colleges you are interested in on a piece of paper. Also, make a column titled “What I Want.” Be sure to leave plenty of extra space under each name. It may be less time consuming if you go on and pull up each college’s website in different tabs on your browser. To help with this, I have created a printable list which you can grab by signing up for my newsletter at the end of this post!
2. HOW BIG ARE THESE COLLEGES?
Now that you’ve printed this and written which colleges you have in mind, look on each of their websites and see about how many students each college has. Write this down under the name of the school it goes with. Now, what do you want? Is a big school something you’ve always wanted? Or are you more comfortable in a small setting? What was your high school like? If it was big, did you like it? If it was small, did you like it? Think about it and write this information under the column “What I Want.”
3. HOW FAR FROM HOME IS EACH COLLEGE?
This is a big factor for most people. If you are a family oriented person, then you may want to consider a college that is within driving distance of home. Even if you aren’t very family oriented, homesickness can and will happen. Sometimes it’s just nice to be able to go home and get a break from everything going on at school. Also, getting to have a home cooked meal every once in a while is pretty great too. Something else to think about when deciding how far from home to go is safety. If something happens such as your car breaking down, having your parents somewhat nearby can be comforting. However, if you are someone who wants to experience new things, maybe going to a college out of state is the right choice for you! In the end, it’s your decision. Write down the distance from home that each college is, then figure out what you would prefer and write it in your column.
4. HOW MUCH DOES EACH COLLEGE COST?
Sadly, college is expensive. Extremely expensive. So, when deciding which college is right for you, you will need to keep the cost in mind. As with the steps before, find the costs of each college and write it down. I know that sometimes colleges don’t like to post a solid number for yearly average prices (annoying by the way!) so you may have to do a little bit of math to get a solid number. But don’t worry, because once you start having to pay that tuition, you’ll be happy you did some research on it.
5. WHAT MAJORS DOES EACH COLLEGE OFFER?
This one is important guys! I know quite a few people who came to my college with a couple different majors in mind only to find out that some of those majors weren’t offered. Once they decided on their major, they then had to transfer to a different school to finish their degree. So, check each of the colleges on your list to see if they offer the majors that you have in mind. If so, put a check.
6. CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF GOING TO THESE COLLEGES?
Last but not least, do you think you would enjoy attending that college? Does it have sports you like to watch? Are there enough activities on campus? Do you like the town it is in or nearby? These are all small deciding factors that can help you make a positive or negative decision about each school.
Before you decide what college you want to attend, I suggest that you go out and visit each of them. Take your parents. They know you better than you think and will be able to give you good advice. Also, parents ask a lot of the right kinds of questions. Visiting these colleges will help you get a better feel for each of them and help you to really narrow down which one you prefer.
I hope this list helps you make your college decisions!
Need a little bit of help narrowing down your list?
Download our College List Worksheet: