When choosing a college, it can seem pretty overwhelming at first. But it's important to remember that the prestige or name recognition of the university is not everything. To make this process less overwhelming, I would start by asking yourself some basic questions to narrow down the field. Here are SOME of the important questions you should be asking yourself:
- Where do I want to go to college? In the US? West Coast? East Coast? In the South? In a city?
- What kind of major/program am I interested in? Could I potentially change my mind and are there other good options if I do?
- What experiences do I value? (big football games/tailgating, lots of research opportunities, near/in a big city, etc)
- How strong is the major/program that I am interested in?
- What size university fits me best? Large, medium, or small? State or private?
- Does the student population seem like a good match for me?
- How much does this university cost? Can I afford it? Will I need lots of loans and/or scholarships to afford this college?
- Can I truly see myself belonging here or do I just really like the sound of saying 'I got to ABC University'?
- And finally, how much do I value each of these preferences? Is it super important that I be near a large city or is it something that I'm willing to compromise on?
Obviously you won't know the answers to all of these questions, nor should you. But these questions can give you a good idea of the experience you are expecting out of college and can help narrow down your scope. If you find yourself struggling to come up with these answers, try, if possible, to go on some random college visits to different kinds of schools to get a feel for what you want. You might surprise yourself, I know I did.
I know that college rankings and your scores can feel like that is all that matters in the college selection process, but there is so much more to include in your decision. Hopefully you can find a college that matches all of your needs/wants and I wish you the best of luck on your college journey.