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How can I do my best to find the college that suits me best with the things I want?

Like colleges that have a good softball program, colleges that offer a good marinebiology or zoology program?

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Janet’s Answer

Hi Breanna, I would start narrowing your search by asking yourself if you want to go to college in the state you are in or if you would be willing to go out of state. Next would be what you will be able to afford and the size of college you would like to attend. You may find a great college that has a marine biology program but the tuition is too high. Be very realistic about where and how you will get the money to attend college. I attended a junior college for 2 years to get my basic classes out of the way, then went on to a state college and came out debt free, which doesn't seem like a big deal until you spend the next 20 years paying for it. From there you can look more specifically at your interests and what you want to major in. It's great to get academic scholarships, which is what we are encouraging our 2 teens to do. Good luck!
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Chris’s Answer

Hi Breanna,

I would start by doing your research. There are many sites out there that rank schools such as usnews that allow you to search by major. If you are looking at schools for sports I would also suggest taking a step back and being realistic in your skill level. There is a very wide range of skill levels in college from Division 1 to club sports and everywhere in between. All of these levels can have good programs, but it is important to ensure you align with the program that is right for you.

Once you have narrowed it down, I would strongly suggest talking with current and former students who also are in those programs of interest as no matter how much research you do, there is nothing more valuable then talking to someone who has, or is, enrolled in that school. They will have insight and experience you likely won't be able to get from large research sites, such as information on culture, the teaching staff, "day in the life", etc.

Finally, you should certainly visit the schools. After all this place will be a part of who you are the rest of your life and where you will spend the next four years of your life. If you are interested in sports, try and time a visit with the season and reach out to the coach to see if you can stop by and have a conversation or just observe.

One thing to note as well is if you aren't 100% certain on your career, I'd also pay attention to what other programs they offer. Remember college is also a time to find out more about yourself and what you want to do. You may go in thinking one thing and after a year decide you really are more interested in something completely different. Finding a school that has a good selection of programs makes trying out different study paths easier, and if you do decide to change up majors, you can still stay at the same school.

Good luck!
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daniel’s Answer

Hey Breanna - I would suggest making a list of your top choices. Once you have a defined list of schools you'd attend, start doing research on each school. Each institution will have different things to offer so it is up top you to determine which one is most suitable for you. Ways in which you can do this is joining Facebook groups or any other social media platform that contains people currently attending. Another suggestion would be to visit a few of those choices and tour the campus and get an overall feel of what each school will posses. Ultimately, you will want to find one that not only suits you but one you can easily see yourself attending for all four years.

Good luck on your journey!
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Hayden’s Answer

Hi Breanna,

Besides narrowing down your choices based on location, price and major I would also consider touring the campus and talking with current students a major factor.

You will meet a lot of people in college and being around a group of people you enjoy and can network with both while in college and after you get out is important.

The other thing to look at as well is the total cost as opposed to just the tuition. You might get a larger scholarships at a more expensive school making it more affordable.

Niche and Rate my professor are good resources to learn more about programs and read about what people like and don't like about their school.

Best of luck with your search!
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Iyanna’s Answer

Hello! First, I would say take these 3 things into consideration:
1. Tuition - You want to be able to afford to attend the college you choose and leverage the scholarships that maybe offered.
2. Location - Take into consideration how far you would like to go and if you are comfortable being out of state.
3. Major - Lastly, start to think about your interest because you do not want to pay for classes and then later down the line switch majors and have to start over again. Don't feel pressured to have everything figured out but have some sort of idea to save yourself time and a lot of money!
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Brandon’s Answer

Hey Breanna,

I would start by making a list of the things you're looking for in a college and from there highlighting the ones that are most important to you.
Due to COVID restrictions in the past, a lot of colleges/universities are offering digital or online tours of their campuses, which would a cheaper alternative than physically visiting each campus you're interested in.

Also see if you could join any Facebook groups w/current or perspective students within your age demographic.
From my own experiences in the past, this is something I leveraged with making my decision and also provided me a "jumpstart" at making friends.

Best of luck!
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