While I was walking through campus the other day, I saw a group of high school students on a tour of the college. Looking at their young, optimistic, and excited faces, I had a flashback to my high school days. Back to the days when I was taking the SATs, going on college tours, and filling out applications. I remember thinking to myself, “What if I don’t like the college I choose? What if I don’t even fall in love with a college? How do I even pick the right college?” Maybe some of these thoughts sound familiar. Choosing a college to spend the next four years at is a tough decision. If you’re in need of some unbiased advice, check out these “Dos” and “Do Nots” of choosing the right college for you.
DO: Choose a college campus you feel comfortable with
This won’t look the same for each person reading this article. Some people like big college campuses with a ton of students while others prefer smaller campuses with a more intimate classroom size. You might prefer college in a city setting while your best friend favors one in a small town. No matter what your preference is, make sure that it makes you feel comfortable. After all, it’ll be your home for four-plus years!
DO NOT: Choose a college just because your best friend/friend group/boyfriend is going there
The right college for your friends might not be the right fit for you. Tragic, right? However, keep this in mind: You’ll meet a TON of new people during your college experience. Like-minded people who enjoy doing the same things that you enjoy doing. And the best part? Remember that old saying, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold?” You can still be friends with your friends from high school! Keep in touch with them, but don’t forget to make new connections as well.
DO: Consider how far from home the college is.
Are you the type of person that can’t go 2 weeks without hugging their dog (I’m guilty of this)? Or are you the type of person that wants to get as far away from home as possible? Keep this in mind when touring a college that is right down the road or 300 miles away.
DO: Keep your mind open
When I was a freshman in high school I thought for sure I would be going to college somewhere in Florida. My heart was set on it. However, once I stepped foot on the college campus in my home state, I fell in love. Keep your mind open to new options and opportunities. You may surprise yourself!
DO: Ask questions during the tour
It’s what the tour guides are there for! Ask them about the campus gym, how the food is, if they feel safe on campus, what they do for fun, and what the classes are like. All those questions might help you make your decision.
DO: Pay attention to your intuition
I remember when I first stepped foot onto my college campus. It was fall, and Taylor Swift’s new album had just been released. My parents and I were driving through campus with Red playing on the radio. The leaves were beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow. The students walking down the street looked so happy (and stressed!). I felt at home and as if I truly belonged there. That’s the feeling that you want to strive for!
The reoccurring theme here? You must choose the right college for you. Not your parents, not your family, not your friends. By making the best decision for you, you’ll end up finding your home away from home.
Written by GUADS staff member Angelina