As a senior in high school, I did not expect to be so overwhelmed with the college/university selection process. I thought it would be a piece of cake, but in reality it’s one of the hardest and most stressful decisions I’ve had to make at this point in my life.
Since I’d visited the campus, I had my heart set on one specific college. I knew that this is where I belonged— the only problem was the tuition price. There was another college/university that offered me a great amount of scholarship money but I didn’t like the school as much. It comes down to me either attending my dream school and being in a large amount of debt or going to a college that I’m not as interested in and having hardly any debt to worry about.
As of right now, my parents and I have come to the conclusion that I can go wherever I want. In the end, it’s my choice and I know that whatever decision I make it’ll be okay. The downside is that it’s all up to me and I have no idea what the right decision is.
While trying to pick the best college for me, I’ve came up with a few factors to consider that I’d recommend for anyone in the same boat:
You have to ask yourself if you’d rather live in a dorm away from home or commute to the college/university of your choice. There are pros and cons to both of these options, but it’s important to consider what will make you most comfortable and content down the road.
You’ll want to make sure that the college/university you’re choosing has career oriented opportunities for you, even if it just comes down to how reputable the program you’re majoring in is. Look into how the institution’s job placement ranks and what internships they offer especially.
Money can make or break a person’s decision for a college/university. When choosing a school, you have to do a lot of calculations to see how much you’re going to be paying, what kind of loans you have to take, etc. However, sometimes debt is inevitable but consider if in the long run it’s something you will be able to pay it off within a comfortable period of time.
Class sizes/Campus size
Class sizes and the campus size is another important factor to consider. For class sizes, you want to make sure the student-teacher ratio is reasonable. An example of a good student-teacher ratio is 15 to 22 students in a class. The benefit of having smaller class sizes in college/university is being able to have a bond with your professor. Getting to know your professor and having your professor know your name, rather than knowing you as a number benefits you in the long run since you’re able to have one on one time with them for extra help. If you’re going to an institution with larger class sizes, be sure to reach out to teacher assistants if they’re available. You have to think about if you would be overwhelmed with such a big campus and more content with a smaller one or vice versa.
Things to do on campus
While it’s less of a crucial factor, consider whether a campus you’re considering will provide quality learning and a fun atmosphere. If the college/university offers clubs or sororities that can be a great thing to involve yourself in, resume wise, as well as making friendships and connection-wise!
There are many factors to consider and depend greatly on what you want to study, whether you have financial support and how comfortable you are with big changes. You may choose a college/university you’re in love with now, only to discover later that it’s not a great fit for you. The same goes for majors as well, and all of this is normal. Just remember — don’t be afraid of change. If you’re in the middle of making this choice and feel like you’re being pulled in several different directions, I’m right there with you. Don’t worry, we can do this.