Choosing the right school for your college experience is an exciting process, but it can at times seem overwhelming! You’re probably inundated with information from colleges and universities, your high school counselors, friends, family, and just about anyone who may have an opinion about where you should go to school. The opportunities (and opinions) are endless, but most important is for you to decide what school is the best fit for you. After all, you’ll be spending the next 4 years of your life there.
The “best fit” could mean many different things to each individual student. What is right for your friend, may not be right for you. It’s important that you determine what you personally need, and want, from your college experience. Here are some primary things that you may want to consider:
Location and size: Are you interested in staying relatively close to home? Or are you looking for an experience far from where you grew up? Are you interested in going to school in a big city or a small town? Is the climate an important factor in your decision? Do you prefer to attend a large institution, or a small school? Answering some of these questions can help you begin to narrow down your choices.
Academics: If you are pretty well decided on what you plan to study in college, it is certainly important for you to find out if the colleges you’re considering offer your program of study. If you are undecided on a major, that’s okay, too. Looking at schools that offer a wide-range of areas that interest you may be the best fit because they will give you options when you do decide on your major.
Co-curricular/Extracurricular Opportunities: Much of your time on a college campus will be spent outside the classroom. Your experience, and résumé, will be significantly enhanced and enriched by these out-of-class experiences. Are there activities you are already involved in that you hope to continue in college? Is there a new opportunity, such as study abroad, that you are excited to explore? Do you play sports? Are you in the marching band? Would you like to pursue undergraduate research? Opportunities are often plentiful on a college campus, but take some time to explore what the colleges you are considering have to offer.
Financial: Cost, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities are certainly an important consideration in the college search process. However, make certain that you look beyond the numbers. What are students doing when they graduate? How will the school support me during my time in college and after I graduate? Consider the value you receive for your investment in your college career.
While you can consider many options from afar and begin to narrow down your choices, one of the most important steps in making your decision, is to visit campus. Once there, you can begin to get a true feeling for what it’s like to be a student on campus. How you feel on campus is very important. Sometimes, the best school on paper, may not be the best for you once you experience it in person, or that campus visit may just confirm how highly you thought of the college all along! Embrace how it feels to be on campus. To quote the great movie, The Sandlot: “Follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.”
Senior Assistant Director
Office of Admissions