As I am going into my junior year of high school, the pressure to make the right college choice is only getting more intense. I know I am faced with the same choices and problems as every other high school student. However, everyone is different and wants different things. What do I want out of my college experience?
One of the most important things I consider in a college is the academics. That’s crazy, right? We are going to college to learn? Yes, college is a social experience, but we can’t forget why we are actually there. When looking for a school, academics should be your first priority. Look at what the college offers academically. Is it known for programs in your desired major(s)? Is the college in an area where internships are available? These are just two of the questions I ask myself while researching colleges.
2. Social life
You will also be faced with new social experiences in college. It will most likely be the first time you will be on your own. Living away from home and being surrounded by hundreds or thousands of new people will be life changing. The social aspect of college brings another decision to your already long list. Do you want to go to a small, quiet school? Or do you want a raging party scene and exciting football games? Or maybe something in between? Only you can make this decision. Choose a social scene that you are comfortable with, but don’t be afraid to step a little bit out of your comfort zone too.
Now let’s get to the “not so fun” part of the college search. College comes with a huge price tag. However, it is an investment in your future. You need to make sure you are making the right college choice, because there are no refunds. Look at different options available to you. Apply for scholarships and fill out forms, such as the FAFSA, to get financial help for college. Since I am going to be a junior, I am starting to apply for scholarships just to get an early start. Many articles I have read have advised starting the scholarship search process early to save yourself some stress.
I consider academics, social life, and cost to be the three most important things to look for in a college or university. But if you feel another aspect is more important, focus on that. As I said, everyone is different, and everyone has different perspectives and values.