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How To Choose A College

In this high stakes and stressful time, consider this advice to make your decision easier.
Graphic by Will Gaffey and Zoie Carlile

The time of year has come when high school seniors all over the U.S start applying to colleges. Everyone is writing their essays and submitting applications to many colleges, but how do you know what to do after you receive your acceptance letters? How do you pick just one college? While I may still be in high school and going through a crisis trying to decide what college is right for me, I’m well versed on the strategies.

The Location

Whether it is where the actual location of the college or what the surrounding activities are, the location of a school is an important factor that goes into the big decision. For example, if you are someone who hates the cold, I would advise you to not go to a college in Colorado. However, if you’re a pro skier, I would definitely recommend going to a colder state. Another reason to look at the location is to find out what activities there are to do that are not on your college campus, regardless if that means looking for a hiking trail by the campus, or just looking for cute restaurants down the road. You don’t want to be stuck in a city that cannot accommodate your interests or weekend activities. It is important to consider whether you are a big city or small town kind of person, or whether you are a beach or mountain person. Also, would you prefer the east or west coast?

Available Majors

I know it may sound obvious to consider the majors offered by a school, but it really is one of the most important things to look for. Schools are known for certain majors that they offer. For instance if you are looking to major in psychology then Arizona State may be a good option, whereas if you are interested in business, McCombs Business School at the University of Texas may be the better choice. The point is, research the schools you’re interested in and evaluate the school’s quality of your desired major. Rankings from U.S. News and reviews from Niche can help you make your decision.

The College Football Team

When you read the title for this reason you may have been shocked, but never underestimate the influence and importance of a college football team. Who would rather be studying for a degree when you can be cheering on the sidelines for your school’s football team? With a good college football team, you can spend your time focusing on important things, like your school’s chant and making friends. This is also important because you definitely don’t want to pick a college with a bad football team. I mean look at all of the people who enrolled at Baylor. I bet they are definitely regretting their decision after their losing streak. Going home for the holidays to face the teasing of your family and friends for attending a school with a football team like A&M’s may not be your ideal vacation.

The “It” Feeling

I have heard these words about 500 times since I entered senior year: “you’ll know where to attend a college when you get the ‘it’ feeling.” Everyone talks about it, and while I have yet to experience it, it seems to be working wonders for everyone else. I envision it as a sudden realization that you are in the place you belong. A place where the location, the available majors, and, obviously, the college football team all align with your expectations. I’ll be sure to check back in once I get to experience the feeling.

A very wise person once told me that there is not necessarily one specific college for you and no matter where you go, you’ll find your way. The best part about college is that you can always transfer! You are not bonded to one college and just because you decided to go there when you were 17, does not mean it’s your final destination. However, the reasons I just listed could be helpful to keep in mind when making your decision. But if worst comes to worst and you can’t decide, flip a coin!

About the Contributor
Libby Howell
Libby Howell, Features editor
What are you looking forward to on the staff this year? Being able to make new friends with the staff! Who are your favorite music artists? Drake, The Lumineers, and Zach Bryan What causes are you passionate about? Gun control and women's rights