How to pick a school

Sarah Abraham, Staff Reporter

The hard part is over… you’ve gotten into college. Nothing can be harder, right? Wrong. You might be wondering how you’re going to decide which school to attend. Read on to learn how to narrow down the list and find your new home!

CostI hate to put this first on the list but price is pretty important for most of us when deciding where to go. If you can afford it, maybe you go to the most “prestigious” school you got admitted to. If you can’t afford it, you might feel like you’re left without the option to attend your dream school but there are some things you can do.

If you haven’t already, fill out the FAFSA or the CSS profile on the College Board website to see if you qualify for any government assistance based on your household income. If you don’t qualify, try to apply for any and all scholarships at potential schools, as well as in your community. As a last resort, you can take out a loan but make sure it’s a practical option for you as you’ll spend many year of your post-graduate life paying these dollar bills off.

LocationEvery teenager dreams of spreading their wings and living far away from their family at some point leading up to college but as decision day nears, think about what you really want. If you’re sure you want to leave the area and experience life somewhere completely new, go for it (it’s only four years).

If you think you’ll miss your friends and family too much, it’s not “weird” for you to stick around. Picking a school that’s in-state will not only cost less, but you’ll be a good distance from home so you’re living on your own but can see your loved ones whenever you want!

OpportunitiesMaybe you’re undecided on what you want to major in so this won’t be applicable but if you’re steadfast on what you want to do, make sure the school of your dreams fits whatever plans you have for yourself. Some schools might not even offer your intended major, while others will have accelerated programs to get you where you want even faster — so make sure that you are double checking.

Around this time, a frenzy of emails will flood your inbox but don’t just click delete on all of them. A lot of these emails contain important information on any honors programs or special studies at the schools you’ve gotten into that pertain to the major you’ve selected. While there are often additional applications (and maybe even interviews) for these additional opportunities, these are things you want to take advantage of now to facilitate your future.

What You WantThere’s no clear cut algorithm for finding the best school for you. If the first three tips aren’t clearing anything up for you, where do you really want to go? College is a big step and it is the next four years of your life. If you’re going to be miserable at the school you choose, it’s probably not the school for you.

Take the time and visit each campus, discuss the matter with your family, do some research and follow your heart — wherever it takes you!