How to choose a college: The first step in deciding your fate
College is a big step in a student’s life. It is like standing in a crossroad or a fork in the road, and which path you choose can decide your fate. For this reason, how to choose a college requires much thought and discernment for it cannot be decided upon by simply flipping a coin. I have heard of high school students choosing a college the farthest away from home or perhaps where their friends are more likely to go. These may all be justified by good reasons, but the fact remains that pretty soon in life, you have to learn to deal with things you do not like and be independent.
#1 Choose your college based on your academic goals.
There are many good schools and each one often excels in certain fields or disciplines. For instance, Caltech and MIT are the top schools for engineering while those who desire to study medicine may want to get into Harvard. However, not all students with a high GPA can easily get into the top schools for there are other factors considered in your school application. You may have set your heart in studying in Yale, but only to get a “good luck elsewhere” reply in your application. This is why it is highly recommended that you make at least 3 college plans in order to ensure you will earn a college degree somehow or the other.
How to choose a college rests on planning and a lot of studying! It is best to keep a journal or have a work plan specifically for this kind of project, choosing the best school for you.
#2 Seek the advice and recommendation of people you trust.
Let’s face it! You are still young and somewhat naïve. You may not fully grasp the fact that college is very much different from high school. For this reason, it is best to ask your parents, teachers, or relatives to recommend a good school for you. They may have first-hand knowledge that will benefit you a lot. If you only knew that getting to Stanford requires you to be a smelly messy lab assistant with loads of research experience then you would have dropped any aspirations of becoming a prom king.
#3 Find more about the schools, not only the academic standards but also the social scene.
Nowadays, how to choose your college is easy by just a few clicks on your computer. You can visit the websites of the schools to know about various things like the courses offered, tuition and other fees, schedule and other valuable information. You can also learn about the population or the number of freshmen admitted every year. If you are particularly adept with numbers, then you will find these sites highly useful. You need not collect all the college brochures for everything you know is on the internet. Besides, brochures are not highly reliable for they often describe the school in superlatives that may not be entirely factual. After all, brochures are selling the school by enticing you to go and study there.
#4 Join college fairs and interview college representatives.
You can learn more about different colleges by participating in college fairs as well as talking to college representatives. Most high schools arrange college fairs so that the students may have a good start in choosing a college. It is best to make a checklist of the things you want to ask before you go and talk to the college rep for opportunities may not come again.
#5 Consider your finances or know how you will qualify for a financial aid.
College is expensive that parents would set up a college fund as early as the days you were still on your diapers. Many students consider affordability as an important factor in how to choose a college. This is a very practical stance for a year in Stanford costs $47,000. However, money should not be a deterrent in your dreams and plans for many times, the school can help you create a financial aid program suited to your needs. Moreover, there are many scholarship programs for the really brilliant students if you just care to look for them.
#6 Consider the logistics (Location, convenience, support, etc.)
Consider this scenario: You may be ready to get out of California to move to the east coast, but you are an only child and your parents practically dote on you. Commuting for several hours just to see your folks may not only be expensive but may also take its toll on your health or sanity. You may want to choose a college that fits your academic needs and yet the location is practical for the frequent trips going home. You may have your dream college, but your mind is troubled knowing your parents are terribly missing. With this example in mind, there are other considerations that may affect how to choose your college. You may want to resolve these concerns, no matter how small, because they may affect your studies sooner or later.
How to choose a college rests on various factors. This is why careful planning and lots of research is required as you take this first crucial step, which may very well determine your fate.