The Easiest Way To Choose A College

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As a senior in high school, there is nothing that is as stressful as selecting a college. Many school counselors and parents will hint at the hours and hours of research and campus visits that need to be completed to successfully choose a college that is right for you.

I’m here to tell you to forget all of that.

Yes, if you are dead set on going into the medical field, it would be wise to research the best schools available for pre-med. Now that you’ve narrowed it down to hundreds of colleges that offer high-ranking pre-med programs, how do you choose? You can visit multiple colleges and try to get a feel for whatever university “feels right”, but in the end, this is a waste of time.

What if you’re undecided on a program or degree? Suddenly you’re trying to base your decision on what campuses feel right to you, not realizing that in a year from now, you’ll be someone totally different. Your tastes and wants might change…but thank god you wasted hours and caused yourself so much stress to choose a college that doesn’t seem to work.

I’ve seen it happen to a mass of friends; they put so much time into choosing a college or university that “fits them” that they leave their first year feeling let down and used. When you build up a college as a perfect fit, your expectations are too high, based on ideas and wants that you had as a high school student.

College helps you grow, and in the growth, your wants and needs may change drastically. Picking a campus that feels right because you love their football team and tailgating might not turn out so well when you’re struggling to study for that big test on Monday because you’re friends (and self) are telling you to party for the big game.

That small community feel you loved as a high school student quickly loses its luster as you realize that your experience might not be as well rounded because the social butterfly in you wants to soak up the diversity.

So how do you choose a college? I wouldn’t exactly suggest the method I used, applying to my second choice school during Christmas break only to luckily be accepted. But be honest. If you hate to walk or have trouble waking up, don’t choose a campus that’s sprawled out in a large city. If you’re someone who likes to be active in clubs and organizations, don’t choose a small campus whose number of student organizations rivals a hockey score.

Make a list of things that are really important to you; academic programs, Greek Life, Location. Create a list of questions that will help you narrow down similar campuses: Do I want to be far away from home? Can I handle a large campus? Do I like big cities or small cities?

Students searching for schools try to dig too deep into the community at universities to decide which ones match their personalities the best. My advice? Pick out the large traits that really matter to you; the things that would make you really unhappy or uncomfortable, and focus on those. After you’ve used these to narrow down the field to a handful of colleges, just take a risk and pick one that you’ve got a hunch about.

Have a friend pick one for you; if you’re disappointed by the choice, you know it’s not the college for you. I’m going into my junior year of college. What I’ve learned is that it’s not necessarily the campus or the location that really makes your college experience.

It’s how you’re involved, the people you meet, and the way you carry yourself that really create your love for a college. Meet new people. Open up. Keep an open mind. Any college can be a good fit for anyone, as long as you allow yourself to embrace and enjoy the experience. So forget the massive amounts of studying and worry. Pick the few important things and pick a college that fits your most basic needs. The rest is up to you, no matter what college you choose.

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