Choosing what college is right for you is a difficult task. It can shape and mold your entire future. You want to choose a college based on your preferences, size, location, and course offerings. However, some high school students make the mistake of choosing a college based on these reasons alone:
1) Your parents
Perhaps your dad is a third generation graduate from Harvard. Your choice of college will probably not even be contemplated. He may assume that you will follow in his footsteps. You can listen to his advice and guidance, but be sure to choose the school that you want to attend. Although it may feel good to continue the legacy, getting a degree where you want will also feel good.
2) Your best friend
Packing up and leaving home can be a scary thought to many high school students. You may think that going to the same college as your best friend will be easier. You will know somebody and can still remain in part of your comfort zone. However, you may be surprised to find that your best friend likes to drink and party. Your reserved lifestyle may no longer fit in with her new group of friends. You can still have your old friends, but go to college expecting to meet new people and gain independence.
3) Online Matching
Some guidance counselors encourage high school students to take an online quiz that will help narrow down what major or schools would fit their interests and preferences. While these quizzes may serve as one tool in helping you with your decision, it shouldn’t be the only reason. Just because a test told you that you would make a great law student at Harvard doesn’t necessarily mean that is the right choice for you.
While a lot of people do factor in sports when choosing a college, it shouldn’t be a deciding factor. The college may have a title winning football team. However, be sure to find out that your desired major is offered there. You don’t want to accept a college offer to play football at a college that doesn’t offer what you want to do. You will have to change your major or eventually transfer out.
5) High school sweethearts
The absolute worst mistake teenagers make is to choose their college based on their high school boyfriend or girlfriend. They may think they are in love and that going to college together is the only way to maintain their relationship. However, college can often make or break a relationship. As you meet new people and explore, your high school relationship may get a little too serious or overwhelming. You may find that you have too many responsibilities to handle a serious relationship.
In the end, the choice should be your own. You can look to your friends, family members, and parents for guidance. However, you should look at many different factors when choosing a college. Do not narrow it down to one school based on its major offerings or sports teams.
In your junior year spend Saturdays touring school campuses and collecting brochures of information from a variety of schools. If the size, location, and major all seems to satisfy you, apply to that college. You may also want to apply to your second and third choice as back up options.
Where you decide to attend will be your choice. Keep in mind you will spend four years of your life there, so choose wisely.