How I Made My College Decision

With high school seniors receiving their acceptance letters to college, now begins the process of deciding where they are going to attend school for the next four years. For some, this process is more stressful than the actual college application process. With that in mind, I decided to share why I chose to attend UF, and what factors I considered while picking a college. Hopefully this will help prospective students as they undergo a very important decision in their lives. To me, these were the most important factors I considered while making my decision.

1. Costs
The tuition and fees were, by far, the biggest factor in my decision. I understand that some high school seniors may have their dream school, but is that dream school financially feasible? I was accepted into one school that would have provided me with great opportunities, but I just could not afford the out-of-state tuition at that school. College is very expensive, and if you take out loans, you could be stuck repaying those loans for several years. If you are set on a school that may be pretty expensive, look into scholarships. See if you can get a job on campus. Finances must be taken into consideration while choosing your university because the financial burden could weigh on you for several years after graduation.

2. Programs
Do not believe you have to get into an Ivy League school to get a good job. While the academic reputation of the school is without a doubt important, for me, the programs that each university offered were more important. What do you plan to study? Which schools have a program for what you want to study? How good is your potential major at each school? Instead of looking at the academic rankings of my potential schools, I looked at the journalism programs, which is what I wanted to study. For me, the opportunities that UF’s College of Journalism and Communications offered were too great to pass up.

3. Location
Consider where your potential university is located. Is it in a small town or a big city? Do you like the surrounding city or town? For me, Gainesville reminded me of my hometown, so this was a non-issue. But for others, going to college may put you in a place that is completely unlike where you grew up, and this can be difficult to adjust to. Make sure you like the location of your university before you send in your deposit.

4. Comfort
Finally, determine if you are comfortable at your university. Will you enjoy being there the next four years? Can you see yourself enjoying yourself on campus? For me, this is the most important advice because this is how I ultimately chose UF. I saw myself fitting in and loving life at UF, so I picked this school in the end.

To all future college students out there, my best advice is to follow your heart when choosing a school. Use these factors and some good judgment, but ultimately, choose a place that you love. Your time in college should be one of the best times of your life, so choose a place where you'll be happy.

Photo Credits: University of Florida, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications