Deciding on which college to attend is an important decision because aside from affecting your ability to continue education, your chosen college can also make or break your chances of building a career in the future. When going to college, you pursue which course fits to your interest, skills, and dream career. It’s a big and overwhelming decision for many as there are a few factors that you have to consider first before picking “the one” for you.

Don’t worry, there’s always a college for everyone. All you have to do is narrow your choices by going through these points below to guide you on which college to commit to.

Who are you as a student?

The choice starts and ends with you. Spend some alone time first for self-reflection and see if you’re really determine to go to college now. It’s best to be a hundred percent sure of your choices, so you won’t have to regret your decisions later and end up wasting all your time and money for an unfinished education. After you arrive at a definite decision, that’s when you can start choosing your college.

You can make a long list of preferred colleges from College Rank that you’ve always dreamed of enrolling to or loved the structure of the building when you first saw it on the internet. But those are just shallow reasons for you to consider when picking. You must start evaluating yourself first on who are you as a student.

Start by assessing your academic capabilities, your skills, and the major that you want to pursue. Figuring out what you really want out of your studies can help you narrow your college name-list. When you finally figured out which career path you wanted to take, then good job! We can then move forward to checking again your list. 

Do those colleges on your list have the major that you wish to take? If it doesn’t, you probably should take a look at other options. It’s important that you choose a college not because of its popularity, brand name or campus size, but because that college has the qualities that you need for your chosen career. 

Who are you as a person?

Now that you have narrowed down your list, the next thing that you must assess is you as a person. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you want to be in a big crowd or a small one? Are you self-sufficient or codependent? Are you comfortable being away from your family for a long time? 

These guide questions can also help you decide. Usually, when you’re an introvert, you prefer to be in a small campus to avoid too many people in one class. If you don’t mind socialising with new people regularly, then large campuses can be a great option for you. Pursuing a degree in a big college can become your platform to expose yourself in diverse clubs, and compete with students who came from different parts of the world. You can even have a campus tour so you can see for yourself what these colleges have and how you feel about the place’s atmosphere. Just imagine that one of these campuses that you’re visiting will be your home for the next four years.

Don’t ever base your decision from what other people may tell you or what your friends’ college choices are. If you base your choices according to theirs, you might end up unhappy and disoriented later on when the time comes that your needs weren’t met at all by the college that you picked. You have to understand that in college, it’s inevitable that you’ll be separated from your loved ones, close friends, and family, but just think of this as part of your milestone in reaching adulthood.

Does it match your goals and objectives?

Another major factor to consider in choosing your college is if it matches your goals and objectives. It’s recommended that you research the programs that your pre-chosen colleges have to offer. See if they offer internship opportunities and researches with professors.

Make sure that their programs and opportunities will be exciting, challenging, and will help you grow as a student and as a person. This way, having more exposures and experiences can be a big boost to your profile when you’ll be job hunting soon.

If you don’t know what you want to specifically study yet, you may consider taking up the general field or area you might be interested in and look for colleges that have strengths and offered programs in those areas. Don’t worry as your professors will guide you all throughout and also provide helpful advices for first-year college students.

Are you financially stable?

Every now and then, some students take on some debt just to apply themselves on prestigious colleges. It can be an option but excessive loans may lead to financial problems and downfalls in the future. Instead, make sure that the college you choose is affordable. You can also investigate and ask for help and advice from sponsorships in your local community.

Private schools are more expensive than public colleges and state universities. However, these private institutions tend to have larger endowments and they also offer more grants and scholarships. This can lessen the cost of tuition to some degree.

It’s difficult to talk about money, but if it’s an obstacle to you, you may want to consider living at home instead of attending out-of-state colleges. Some students start off at community colleges to build up their academic credits and general requirements before transferring to a four-year university. This has been very common to a lot of people not just for affordability, but to vastly improve their academic ability as well. Studies have even shown that community college students are more successful with their academics than those who pursue courses right away on large universities.

Bottom Line

Overall, college is not mandatory for everyone. It’s a personal choice. Just because a lot of people tell you to rope yourself with an expensive degree doesn’t mean you should pressure yourself into getting one even if you’re not yet ready for it. You don’t have to go to college right away and it’s never too late. After all, we all have our own timeline when it comes to our life plans, education, and career paths. Take your time and always remember that your success is not measured by your college degree or brand-name of the college that you’ll graduate, but it’s measured by your perseverance, motivation, and determination to achieve your goals and fulfil your plans, and making yourself proud of whatever you’d soon become.