Spring has sprung and pre-collegiettesTM all over the country know what that means: it’s time to make The Big Decision. After four years of hard work, college acceptance letters have arrived. And now, after a few long months of anticipatory nail-biting, the tables are turned and it is up to you to decide which school you want.
But, unfortunately, this isn’t always easy. With all your options, and the pressure to make the right choice, how can you possibly know which is the best option for you? Is it the small private college your mom likes? Or the big state school your dad is rooting for? What about the mid-sized liberal arts college all your classmates seem to be into? AHH! Why is this decision so hard?
Well, don’t worry—I, and countless pre-collegiettesTM before you, have been in the exact same position. And here, from us to you, are some words of wisdom about what we wish we knew when we were in your place.
Making the Decision
One thing that’s for sure, among all the collegiettesTM surveyed, is that you should make the right choice for you and not for anyone else. Your parents, friends, teachers, and coaches all just want what’s best for you, but sometimes they don’t know what that is. And when it comes down to it, rankings aren’t as important as fit. Laura, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, says, “Your college will be your home for four years, and trust me, rankings won’t be what matters when you get there.” The only one who really knows what’s right for you is you, and if you make that right choice, everyone else will come around and support you in it. Your happiness and success is everyone’s mutual goal!
So if rankings aren’t that important, what is? Some major deciding factors should include academics, size, location, affordability, and passion. Is there a school that speaks to you? Then it’s probably the right choice for you. Keep your parents involved in the decision-making process, research the schools (if you can, try to visit them to get a feel of the campus), and talk your choices over with a college counselor or trusted confidante. “I researched my options and made sure I was educated on the universities I was choosing between,” says Kathryn Sullivan, a junior at University of Tennessee-Knoxville, “I got information about the academics as well as the fun stuff!” As Kathryn did, it’s important to think not only about whether the school offers all that you want academically, but also all that you need to be happy. You’ll thrive wherever you feel happy and comfortable, whether it’s a northeastern Ivy League university or a mid-western state school.
Lynda Lopez, a freshman at the University of Chicago, says, “I wish I would have known more about the importance of selecting the right school for me, beyond the prestige quality.”
Overall, it seems like it’s all about the fit. “When I ultimately picked my college, I went with what felt right,” says Laura from UNC-Chapel Hill, “Things like size, major, and location were all big factors in where I applied, but when it came down to the final decision, I went with my gut instinct on where I could really see myself living for four years. I couldn’t be happier!”