How to Choose Where to Go to College
When I was in high school, there were people freshman year who knew what they wanted to do and where they wanted to go. These ambitions drove them to becoming the class president, valedictorian, the "overachievers." I am not saying these people are the examples of the high school experience.
A lot of students who do not know what they want to do for their careers or in the middle percentile of their class feel that when it comes to college they are unprepared, that they are "too stupid" for college.
This is definitely not the case!
Many seniors do not really know what they want to do, much less what college they want to go to. Many college students end up changing their majors realizing that their career idea was not like they thought it would be. So how do you know what is the right college?
GPA: If you do not have the GPA to go to a four year university, community colleges are there to help you. They offer all the liberal study classes that you are required to have at a four year university. These classes are also designed to help you get a higher GPA for the four year universities to accept you.
Money: Money is an issue for many college students. Loans are debts that take years to repay and scholarships need to be won. At community college, you pay for each class you take. It is much cheaper and working is easier to do. After you earn your associates degree, you can transfer these credits to a four year university.
Location: Location is a factor for many students. At universities, many require you to live on campus for a certain amount of time. Others are too far away to live at home. It is okay if you are not ready to be on your own. Community colleges allow you to live at home, keep your job, and still get an education. You can make your class schedule work to your needs.
4 Year Universities
GPA: Most 4 year universities require a 2.5 (2.7) or higher to be admitted. You will be competing with 3.5s and 4.0s as well. Universities do not have to accept you. You can be rejected based on your high school academic standing. This is not to make the school look better, but it is to see if you are ready to handle a university classroom environment.
Location: These universities are everywhere. They could be located right next door or an hour or more away. Some reside in the mountains (like mine), in the cities, and on the beach. You need to choose where you will feel more comfortable and is not a big distraction from your school work (aka the beach). The weather is also a factor. If you have to drive through snow to get to school, this would not be a wise choice. This happens at my school a lot, but a lot of the students live on or very near campus that it is not a problem.
Program of Study: Check to see what the school specializes in. What makes this school different than the others that you applying to? Does this school have a good program for what you are interested in? ALL universities and colleges have a school website to try to appeal to students. They list their achievements and specialties.
Money: If you cannot afford or do not have student loans, financial aid, or scholarships, DO NOT go to the school. If you cannot pay, you will be kicked out for not paying tuition anyway. It will become stressful. Money is always the biggest decision maker when it comes to choosing a university or college.
Be Proud, Be Loud
The most important factor in choosing a university/college is where you feel comfortable. How will you know that without doing research? How will you know if you never even seen the campus?
Before choosing where to go, make sure you do these steps.
- Research: Contact the recruitment office, they are always ready to answer any questions. Ask a student who goes there already.
- Campus Tours: They are really informative and give you the chance to see the campus. Your tour guides are students who are ready to answer your questions.
- Compare/Contrast: If you are between schools, write a pro/con list for each school. Then write a list of what you want out of your school experience, then compare this list highlighting which school has what you want. The list highlighted the most will most likely be the best choice.
- Count your pennies: Apply for financial aid, loans, and scholarships. This will help you see how much money you have to go. If the college/university is too expensive, then you obviously cannot go.
You have to be confident in your choice. You need to be proud that you are a future insert mascot name here. You also should feel the need to tell EVERYONE that you are going to this college/university. This shows that you are excited and ready for college!