Congratulations! You have gone through the process of applying to a number of different colleges, and now you are beginning to receive acceptance letters.
But when faced with a decision that can shape the rest of your life, what do you do? Which school do you choose?
Although there are a number of great reasons to go to a certain college, there are also several terrible reasons to pick a specific college, such as:
1. “My friends will be there.”
Choosing a college or university is a very personal decision. Your school should suit you academically, financially, and socially, and it should allow you to learn the information you need for your future career and self. Although it can be wonderful to have a well-established friend along for this ride, the fact that your friends will be attending a specific college is not a reason to select it. Instead, be open to making new friends while you prepare yourself for the rest of your life.
2. “I’m scared to leave home.”
There are many excellent reasons to attend a college in your hometown (perhaps, for example, it specializes in a rare subject that interests you). Being scared to leave home is not one of them. Going away to school can absolutely be a frightening experience. You are leaving your home, your family, your friends, and many things that are familiar to you. But going away to school can also be exhilarating once you adjust. What you learn and experience will be new both in class and outside of it. Explore all your options, no matter how far away they might be, and then make your final decision based on what is best for you, not fear.
3. “The social life is better here.”
Popular films often portray college as an ongoing social event, but this is rarely true. Most students socialize regularly, and certain people do party, but higher education is primarily about just that: elevating your education. Attending a school that will not help you prepare for your future is like eating at a restaurant with awful food just because the forks are nice. It is simply not worth it.
4. “My parents are alumni.”
Although being a legacy student can have its advantages, try to avoid selecting a college just because one or both of your parents went there. If you are interested in the same activities, environment, and majors that your parents were, and if the school will help you pursue your interests and goals, you can consider it. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
5. “It’s cheap.”
Although finances will and should play a role in your college decision, cost should not solely dictate your process. If a more expensive school meets your needs perfectly, look into the financial aid that is available to you. Conversely, do not choose a college simply because it is expensive.
6. “It has a great sports team.”
It can be fun to support a winning sports team, but the only time that the quality of the team should factor into your decision is when you want to be on the team. In all other cases, focus on what will be beneficial to you in the long run.
Choosing a college can be a pivotal decision in your life. If you have received acceptances to several schools, you should give a great deal of thought to where you will attend.
Do not select a school for any one single reason, but especially not for a reason that has nothing to do with how much growth and learning you can experience there.