As the end of the year rolls along, many seniors are preparing for what’s to follow graduation. Some students will pursue jobs or military service, while others will narrow down their list of colleges and choose where to spend the next 2-4 years. Choosing the right school is not easy. How can you tell which school will be the best fit? Here are a few quick tips that may help you during this stressful decision-making time in your life.
1.) The Goldilocks Test. When it comes to college, size matters. You don’t want to feel like the school is too big or too small for your comfort level. Decide if you would like to be in an environment that is small, medium, or large (but don’t worry, there aren’t bears or porridge to consider this time around!). Smaller schools can have around one or two thousand students. This can give you the same atmosphere as a high school. Perhaps this will make it easier for you to know more of your peers. Or, maybe you will feel more comfortable in a school with tons of people. Those schools can have ten to twenty thousand students, if not more. Maybe you like the idea of being on a campus set in a big city, where new friendships are boundless. Whatever feels right to you is what you should pursue.
2.) Talk to People. The best perspectives and opinions come from the people who have experienced what you’re about to experience. The best part about that is the fact that folks generally LOVE to talk about the things they’ve experienced before you! People love to give advice and share their stories. So, take advantage and ASK! Alumni are great for this sort of thing. So are current students. Ask as many questions as you can to get a sense of a school.
3.) Tweet Your Heart Out. While folks in the admissions office can give you brochures, web links, and other resources, social media gives you the opportunity to put your finger on the pulse of a college or university. Check out some hashtags and tweets containing your prospective college’s name! She what folks are saying about a given campus, and learn whether or not you can see yourself there.
4.) Think About Your Major. While you should not be expected to know exactly what you want to be when you grow up, having an idea about what you do NOT want to pursue can help. If a school is well known for engineering, but that’s not your bag, move along! Or, try to find a school that offers a variety of majors so that you will be able to try on different hats and find the thing you wish to pursue. I didn’t know quite what I wanted to do when I began my freshman year of college. Choosing a liberal arts college with plenty of major options was helpful. It may serve you well.
5.) Do Your Research. There’s plenty of information available on sites like U.S. News, Collegeboard.org, and My College Options. But that’s just a start! Check in with our Guidance Department for additional suggestions and resources. They are here to help you! They’ve helped many others before you and can make a difference! Talking about your options and reading plenty of what’s out there will make your decision process that much easier.
6.) Don’t Be Afraid of Change. College is going to represent a HUGE transitional period in your life. Adjusting to a new scene will not be simple. Organizing your classes, your schedule, making new friends, etc, will become a vast undertaking. All of these things require a new frame of mind and little effort! But the transitional period will even out after a spell, and soon you will feel just like your normal self in a new pair of shoes. Remember to give yourself time to adjust, and don’t worry about feeling a little out of place. This is natural! Choosing school should be about making the decision that’s best for you! Don’t let your fears or apprehension about what lay ahead deter you from making a great step toward a bright new future.
We hope this helps! Let us know what else has helped you if you’ve already made the decision! Help your friends…Please contribute those ideas in the comments box below!