Choosing a college is a big deal. You’re deciding where to spend the next four years of your life, where you’ll get the base you need for your career, and where you’re going to make life-long friendships. So how do you choose? My senior year of high school I had my heart set on a particular university, I had practically already committed and everyone knew it. But then something happened, another school caught my eye. I was torn. How could I choose between the two? If you’re in a similar situation as I was, you will find these tips super helpful and I hope after you’re done reading you will know where you belong! Read on for tips to help you choose between two colleges!
1. Look really close at the people.
One of the things that really helped me feel confident in making the final decision on a college was looking at the students. These are the people you’re going to spend four years with, you’ve got to make sure you can get a long with at least some of them right? Talk to some of the students, find out what it’s really like to live there, if they’re happy, what the environment is like on a regular basis. It really makes a difference.
2. Which school will give you more scholarships?
Yes finding the right school is important, but the financial aspect is a big deal too.
3. If you know someone at the school ask them to give you a tour.
Having someone you know (even if you barely know them) is great because it is more personalized! Students are always eager to show off their school, and it gives you a great look into what the university is really like behind closed doors. Maybe spend the night! I did this at one university that I thought I was in love with, and found out it wasn’t at all like what they advertised on the brochure.
4. Go to a school event that is not planned by the admissions office.
Go to a football game or an open club event and get a feel for the personality of the student body. Admission events are fun too, but they only show you what they know you’ll want to see.
5. Sit in on a class.
Get a sense of how challenging the academics are by sitting in on a class if you can.
6. Research what clubs each university has that you’re interested in.
Clubs and organizations are a HUGE part of college life. If one university doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can cross it out. Look into how competitive certain teams and groups are and make sure you can get involved!
7. Look at the ranking of the program you would be studying and the curriculum.
The rank of your college is not everything. Most employers now look more at what experience you have in your field rather than the name of your school, but still, it is good to know if the major you are pursuing has a good program at the universities you’re choosing between.
8. Explore the town.
Most college towns love their students, and you can tell. Check out some of the restaurants and shops you would be frequenting if you chose one or the other.
9. Look at colleges that are completely opposite of what you think you want.
Sometimes you have an image in your head of exactly what you want and you never even bothered to look at schools that didn’t fit that vision. Touring a school that’s a little bit different from the rest will either confirm what you want, or make you realize you want something else.
10. Look at the school’s transfer rate, graduation rate, and job placement rate after graduation.
I think this is really important when choosing between two schools. If one has a lower percentage on all of these categories, you know that students aren’t enjoying it there, aren’t getting their credit hours done in time, and aren’t finding jobs in their field after they graduate (which is the MOST IMPORTANT THING!
11. Trust your gut.
At the end of the day, you can look at all the stats and hear all the opinions you want, but only YOU know what will make YOU happy. Trust your gut, it won’t fail you.