Choosing the Perfect College for You
The college fit is all about finding schools that match your abilities and interests and help you attain your career goals
Selecting the right college or university can have a significant impact on your future internships and connections. Hence, it can affect your future career. There are numerous important factors to take into account.
Over the last few years, I accompanied my kids on multiple college tours, so I am well-versed in this topic. My youngsters are two very different individuals.
A university that was an excellent fit for my son would not have worked out well for my daughter and vice versa. Ultimately, both of them ended up happy, fulfilled, and successful at their respective schools.
Local or Out of State
There are many factors to consider when choosing a college. First of all, will you want to stay local, or will you venture out of state or perhaps even overseas?
The benefits of picking a local college are numerous. If you stay close to home for college, your parents can bail you out in the event of an emergency.
You can also visit home more often if you feel homesick or are especially close to your family and childhood friends.
It is always great to be close to home sweet home. Mom can do your laundry and prepare your favorite dishes. Dad can service your car and help you out with homework.
If you do not enjoy travel and feel more comfortable in your own environment, do not feel like you need to move far from home. You will still meet new people and have new experiences regardless of where you go.
On the other hand, going out of state for school will challenge you and make you more independent. You will learn how to do laundry and how to handle yourself in an emergency.
You will be pushed out of your comfort zone and forced to make choices on your own. You might surprise yourself with how well you manage on your own.
Regardless, do not forget that you will also pay higher tuition fees for not being in-state. Not to mention, you may only be able to visit home on holidays and summer vacation.
What do you plan to major and minor in? Will you be able to double major or even minor at all at your chosen school? Does the institution have a strong alumni network?
It may be best to get a degree from a school that is well known for your major. If the school is among the best for your major, you could have job offers lined up after graduation. In the latter case, you could also easily get into a top-tier graduate school if you decide to follow that path.
Conversely, if you choose a school that is not as well known for your particular major, it might not be easy to secure internships. In the long run, it may even be challenging to obtain a job in your chosen field.
Strong Alumni Network
The benefits of a strong alumni network cannot be stressed enough, as the alumni associations often provide mentoring, internships, and career opportunities to students.
There are so many factors to take into account when selecting a college that it boggles the mind.
Competitive or Collaborative
Do you prefer a competitive or a collaborative setting? Some people thrive on challenges and are motivated to work harder in competitive environments.
Other students perform best in environments where they work on classwork and study together and genuinely want each other to succeed. These collaborative schools are often less stressful since you work with others to assist and lead you.
Large University or Small College
Do you choose a large university or a small liberal arts college? A large university may offer more opportunities but may also seem intimidating to a freshman.
A small liberal arts college may be a better fit for a shy, reserved individual but may not be best for a more outgoing, social person. Making new friends can often be easier in a small group setting.
Weather is another important consideration. If you attend school in a city with severe winters, it could potentially make the commute to your home state more difficult.
Harsh winters with short days can also be downright depressing. With that being said, some people love the changing of the seasons.
Finally, the cost is a huge factor for many, as it may be impossible to attend a private university without a merit-based or financial aid scholarship. In that case, a state university might be the only option for less affluent individuals.
Alternatively, they could attend community college for their first two years of undergraduate education and then transfer to a state school for the final two years.
There are so many factors to take into account when selecting a college that it boggles the mind. It is best to list the pros and cons of each college and visit them - if at all possible - before accepting any offer.
A campus tour (including a tour of the residence halls) followed by a meal in the cafeteria is a great way to ascertain if the school is right for you. If at all possible, a question and answer panel with students and sitting in on a class in your potential major would be beneficial as well.
Once you are equipped with all the facts about the school, you can confidently make the correct decision for you.
This article originally appeared on Medium.