How to Research What College is Right For You
The search for the perfect college can seem overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin! As you start looking, it can be difficult to understand the subtle differences between each school. Keep a list of pros and cons to easily compare all of your options. Here are some things to consider when researching what college is right for you:
- Specialization: Before you set out to find the perfect school for you, have an idea of what career path you want to follow. Once you’ve determined an area of focus that interests you, then you can more easily narrow down which school will work best for you. Research the colleges and universities that specialize in the area that you are interested in. Before considering location, open up your search to cover the entire country, or even outside of the country. There might be something out there that would be a better fit for you, even if it isn’t in the location you were hoping for.
- Requirements: After finding the best colleges in the area of study that you want to major in, look to see what their academic requirements are. Even if your scores don’t meet their average requirements, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply. There are many exceptions to the rule, and it never hurts to put your name in the hat. Apply to several colleges that would be a good fit for you, ranging in different academic requirements. It’s best to be accepted to several schools, rather than put all of your eggs in one basket.
- Price/Scholarships: After the requirements, you’ll need to figure out what the financial payment will look like. Apply to as many scholarships as possible, and talk to the Bursar’s office to find other means of financial aid. Crunch the numbers to see if it’s something that you’ll be able to feasibly afford. Keep in mind that the cost of living, books, meal plans, and other college living expenses are a factor as well.
- Location: The location is important, but it’s not as important as the education that you will gain. After the schooling is over with, you can relocate to a different part of the country that is more desirable to you if you don’t love it there. Moving away from home is a big jump, and it takes courage. Both parents and students can have a hard time with a college that is far away from home. Remember that no situation is permanent, and that growth only happens when you add in a healthy dose of change.
It’s always best to get first hand experience to truly determine if the college is right for you. No matter where it’s located, if you are seriously considering it, then visit. Talk to some students and faculty, and even sit in on a class or two. That’s the best way to see if you feel at home, and can see yourself there. There are some things that intuition can tell us that facts can’t. Trust your gut.