of Choosing a College
Although everything else in your life seems complicated
at the moment, picking a college really comes down to some simple
concepts. The steps you’ll need to take include learning the ABCs
of getting started, familiarizing yourself with the basic types
of college choices, understanding the college application process,
and knowing your options once you’ve made your choice.
Apparently, a whole lot of people got together one day
and decided they would pick the prom king and queen of higher education.
But don’t make the mistake of allowing your ultimate college choice
to come down to an opinion in a magazine you never even read. Rankings
provide great publicity for the few colleges that get selected as
the “best,” but in the end, the only judgment that matters is your
own. You wouldn’t let a group of reporters choose your next boyfriend
or girlfriend. Letting them choose your next college might not be
such a wise move, either.
Oh, the Advice You’ll Receive
Think the national media has a monopoly on college opinions?
Not to worry, because if you haven’t heard from them already, pretty
soon your parents, friends, and teachers will more than likely share
their opinions with you on what makes a college great. One of the
most difficult things you’ll have to do, in fact, is gently remind
all those well-wishing advisors that you’re not just looking for
the best college.
You’re looking for the right college.
By all means, take all the advice you can get, but take
it all with a grain of salt. Start a list of all the people whose
opinions matter to you and seek out their advice. This will usually
include your parents, your siblings, your classmates, your teachers,
and your high school guidance counselor. But think of this advice
as a starting point.
Once you’ve got a list of colleges, start thinking about
what kind of college you’d like to attend and ask yourself, “What
qualities am I looking for in a school?” What follows is a guide
to the many types of schools out there, and how to decide if any
of them are right for you.