Choosing a college is a major decision that should not be taken lightly. Start researching colleges early on in your high school career, and by the time your senior year slaps you in the face, you will already have an idea of what you want and do not want in a school.
Take it from someone who procrastinates about everything: choosing a college last minute is the most stressful decision ever. There is absolutely NO reason to settle on a school. After all, the college you attend will be extremely relevant in every aspect of the rest of your life. As a future college student, there are a lot of things to consider:
1. Size Yes, the size of the school is very important. Do you want to be surrounded by hundreds of fellow students during each class you attend, or is it important for you to stand out in a small group of students? In other words, do you prefer your professors to know you by a number or a name? Some students would rather have more one-on-one time with a teacher while others would rather work with fellow students in study groups. Would you rather live on a small campus where everything is close together, or would you rather take a bus from your dorm room to a different location for classes? This is very important to consider when choosing a school.
2. Academic Selection Many incoming college students do not know with 100 percent certainty what academic areas they would like to study in school, and that is okay. Do your research and discover what classes, minors, majors, and degrees each school offers. You might not know what you want to study yet, but you do know what subjects you do and do not like learning about. If you love different electives and/or classes that you have taken in your educational career thus far, see if any colleges you are considering offer courses along the same lines.
3. Do not choose a school because your friends are going to that school I cannot stress this enough. It is okay to not know anyone when you enter college; it is supposed to be that way. You should not choose a school because your friends are going there and think it will be convenient for your social life. You will make friends at the college or university of your choice, and you will remain friends with your high school friends. It is important to take your own steps and make your own choices, and to steer clear of following someone else’s footsteps. Your future is on the line.
4. Picture yourself at the different schools Imagine what life will be like when you wake up on school days and on the weekends. Can you see yourself there? Do you see yourself happy with your choice or dreading it? Little things like location (being in a city when you are frightened by the city life) might not end well for you in the long run. It is okay to move on to a different school if something is bothering you, but remember that the perfect school does NOT exist. You will have to compromise somewhere.
You should look into these things sooner rather than later because by the time senior year comes around, you will be on a time crunch. You will take college match test after college match test and look for colleges that seem right for you, but on top of this, you will be worrying about keeping your grades and GPA up, applying to scholarships, and thinking about how much you would rather be in bed sleeping than doing schoolwork.
Take advantage of the time you have and start your college research as soon as you can.