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What should I consider when choosing a college?

I'm a senior in high school. #college

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Zhebei’s Answer

I happen to have a junior at home and can share with you how I helped him choosing colleges.

First, know what you like or dislike. We looked six categories: economics/finance, business management, applied math, computer science, applied engineering, biomedical sciences. My son dislikes all except for biomedical sciences. He wanted to be a doctor since 7 years old. Through this elimination process, he knew for sure that he would want to major in biomedical sciences.

Second, leverage the system your school offers and college ranking websites to get a list of colleges that you like. You should have some colleges that you dream to attend and some colleges that you'll get accepted if you apply for. Go visit their websites. All colleges offer virtual campus tours. If doable, try visit some campus in person. My husband took our son to visit 7 campuses in Summer. He wanted to study in metropolitan areas before any visit. He now wants to study in a college in a suburban area or a college town. The college acceptance rates were reported low due to increased number of applicants we saw post-COVID. So don't filter out too many colleges at this step.

Once you finalize your list, go visit their websites to understand the application process, qualifications, and application deadlines. If your profile doesn't meet their minimum requirement by the application deadline, you'll have to remove the college from your list.

Thank you! Daisy L.

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Brandon’s Answer

When considering a college, you should look up the programs that they have that align to the degree/career that you wish to pursue. For example, if you want to go into healthcare, one school may offer one of the best healthcare programs in the state, while another school is more popular yet the healthcare program is terrible. Choose the option that suits your career the best.

Tuition is another thing that you need to consider. Can you afford to pay the tuition of the school? Scholarships and financial aid are also an option that you can do to lower the price, but at the end of the day can you afford it? Think about how much it would cost over a years worth of tuition to give a rough estimate.

How far is the college? For a majority of the time, you will probably need to commute in order to go to school (unless you are doing remote schooling). You need to properly estimate the commute time and whether or not you can realistically go travel there.

Something that is not often thought about is the utilities and activities at the college. Do they have potential clubs or activities that you find interesting? What about your personal hobbies, do they have activities for those? It is important to not only think about your mental health and making sure that you feel happy. Take this from somebody who had to go to work after school in order to pay for classes and not have any time for after school activities.

Thank you! Daisy L.

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Kamron’s Answer

As someone who is finishing up college right now, I will tell you the most important thing that I have experienced is pick somewhere that you could call home for at least 4 years (if that's how long you are attending). I was deciding between two majors, which each would require me to go to a different school in different states. One school was in Oklahoma and one was in Arizona. After visiting both schools, seeing the campuses and the surrounding city. One campus made me feel at home as soon as I got there and had a lot of activities that I enjoyed doing, whereas the other school didn't make me feel that same way!

I will tell you that these values are not the same for everybody!! You might have different things that you value more than the possibility of the place being your home for a while (example: quality of education, religious factors, etc.), so I would suggest ranking your top 3 factors in deciding a school for you and going from there!

Sidenote: don't allow others to make the decision for you if you're not comfortable with it. For example, your mother/grandpa/bff/etc., might want you to go one place because its convenient for them or because of something they heard about the school. THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT THE ONES WHO HAVE TO GO THERE! You will be the one going to this school and making it work.

I hope this helps! Best of luck to you.

Thank you! Daisy L.