Some people know from the second they apply which college they want to go to. They have their dream four years picked out and they know it’s the perfect place for them. Others don’t have this blissful experience and often struggle with finding the right places to apply to and ultimately the right place to pick. If you are struggling or know someone who is, here are a few things you need to be asking yourself when picking a college.
1. Can I handle this financially?
College is a massive financial burden whether it is a community college or a private four-year university. Any option is more than most 18-year-olds have in their bank account. Now I understand you aren’t going to handle it all right away, there are scholarships, loans, and grants you can easily apply for and find. But you need to figure out if you do decide to take out loans, are you an organized person where you will be on top of paying them off after college. That is a big jump ahead to think about after college but when taking out loans you must be responsible enough to think ahead. In four years you might not have the top-paying job or you could, no one knows, but if you are the type of person who is not on top of due dates and payment plans then a high-cost school might not be the place for you. It’s not just about the amount of money and getting enough to pay it off, it’s about being responsible enough to add that into your schedule.
2. Can I see myself here longterm?
Do not sacrifice your mental health just to go to a good school. If you do not like the campus or the town then maybe it’s not right for you. Always prioritze your mental health because you are the one living there and dedicating your next four years to this not your parents. Maybe following in Dad’s footsteps isn’t the right fit because his college isn’t something that fits you. If you can see yourself spending long nights studying and weekends hanging out with friends in these areas then it might be the right fit!
3. Does it have what I’m interested in?
First off check and make sure they have your major. Sometimes schools don’t have what you are looking for. Also, look for possible minors you could like and clubs you might want to join. Getting involved in school is key for a good resume and a happy busy week. See if they have clubs that benefit you or fulfill your needs. Not only will these clubs build your resume but they will expand your social circle allowing you to make more friends, more connections, and help you network for jobs or internships.
4. Outside Expenses?
College expenses aren’t only the cost of tuition but travel is also a big factor. If it is far away from home, would this be the ideal situation you want to be in? Can you afford to pay for meals when the dining hall is closed because you didn’t fly home for break? Another question is if you bring a car with you is it expensive for parking or gas? If the town is very nice it the cost of living there more than you are used to? Always remember to take a look at your expenses that aren’t school-related because if you can’t handle a part-time job well while doing school then will you be able to afford the town you live in?