Choosing the Best College for You

Senior year of high school is a stressful time ─ figuring out your future is not an easy task for anyone. While some people have always known where they want to attend college, the majority of students are faced with the difficult decision of determining where they want to go. 


When you finally receive all of your admissions decisions in the spring, sit down and take the time to reflect on your options. There are many different factors to consider when choosing the perfect school for you, so it’s important to look at them all. 


You want to give yourself the best chance of being successful and happy at school, so it’s important to take the initiative for your future and know what you want. Of course, this is easier said than done. However, as I was once a senior in high school myself, I know exactly what I would’ve wanted to hear to help make my college decision. 


First and foremost, you want to make sure that you can actually see yourself attending the school you are thinking about. Four year is a long time and you want to make sure you are setting yourself up for success. Touring a university helps solidify any feelings you have about a school. Once you step foot on a campus, you immediately get a good feel for the school overall. Taking a tour when class is in session is especially helpful because you get to witness students on a normal school day. Keep in mind the school’s reputation as well. For example, if the school has a big “party” reputation, you might have a tougher time fitting in if you aren’t into the party scene. Or, if the school is known for the lack of social events and you like to go out, you might have a harder time finding things to do. However, don’t get too carried away debating a school’s reputation, but rather keep it in the back of your mind. 


Make sure that the school is able to give you what you want in a college experience. Lots of schools have Greek life, intramural sports and dozens of clubs to join. If rushing a sorority interests you, go for it! If football and tailgating are important to you, go to a school that offers these things. Southern schools are especially known for their big game days, tailgates and school spirit. The opportunities that a school offers, socially or career-wise, are important because that is how one becomes involved at school. 


The location of a school is an important factor as well. For me personally, I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable living outside of California. If you want to stay closer to home so you have the option to go home on weekends, it might be difficult attending an out of state college. Additionally, a school’s location should offer opportunities for internships and even future jobs that pertain to your major and job interest. If going farther away from home scares you, don’t let it hold you back. Reflect on what you are comfortable with because even though you may be apprehensive about distance, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go! 


Keeping academics a priority is very important, as it is vital that the school offers your major. In addition to this, it is also important to look at reasonable alternatives to your major if you decide to switch. Many college students change their majors more than once, so you don’t want to be stuck with something that you don’t want to study. You might also want to look into the process of switching your major, as with some schools it is difficult to change into a different major. 


Checking out the on-campus living requirements is something to consider as well. Some colleges, such as SDSU, now require students to live on campus for the first two years of school. Other schools may not even require first-year students to live on campus at all. Although this shouldn’t be a determining factor in your decision, it may be an added benefit or disadvantage towards a school. It is also helpful to look at the costs of living off campus. Depending on the area, off campus living might be very expensive.


My last piece of advice would be to reach out to individuals who go to the school you are thinking of attending to get their personal take. A quick Instagram DM to get someone’s opinion is a very reliable way to get a feel of a school from a current student. They might give you advice or tell you other information that you wouldn’t get from a tour guide. Don’t be scared to reach out to people because the advice you receive is worth it.