Criteria for Choosing a College

Selecting the right college is extremely important. Your choice shouldn’t be based on the fact that your friends are going there, what fraternities or sororities are available or because that’s where “so-and-so” went when they were your age. It’s not a coin toss, it’s a process!

First and most important, research yourself! In order to find the right fit, you need to know where you will be the most comfortable. Take an honest look in the mirror. Don’t ask yourself where your parents or friends think you’d be the most comfortable, but where you feel you’d really fit in. Would you be lost on a large campus or would you thrive with the abundance of activities? Does the Greek System appeal to you? What about a designated quiet dorm? How do you best study – curled up on your bed or sitting in the library? Do you want a lot of one-on-one access to your professors or access to study groups? Do you know what you want to study or do you want to explore other majors? Are you more of a math/science person or a creative liberal arts type? Taking an honest look at who you really are (not who your parents expect you to be) will help narrow your search to the right school. Remember, you are the one living your life!

Once you have done some self-research, apply your new found knowledge to your college search.  2-professor-graphics-college

 

Research between 6-10 colleges.

It is easiest to narrow down your selections if you know what you want to study. If you’ve always wanted to be an engineer, then focusing on schools with strong engineering programs is a likely criteria.

 

Ignore the labels.

We’ve all heard of the labels associated with certain schools (often these labels are perpetuated by rival school alumni). The trash talking is fun when it’s lighthearted. But when it comes to your future, don’t blindly listen to the labels – do your own research and make your own decision. Who knows, maybe that “party school” is exactly the right fit for you!

 

Don’t let cost scare you away.

Explore all your options. There are many forms of financial aid that might make college more affordable, such as scholarships, grants and installment plans. Do your research, apply, then make your decision.

 

Expand your research to include out-of-state colleges.

Colleges want geographic diversity. Having students from all over the US enriches the experience for everyone. When you’re applying to private schools in the Midwest or East Coast you’ll be one of the few from the state of Washington and you’ll have an edge over applicants who live relatively close to the college in question.

 

Geographic diversity can pay off for you.

Scholarships are partly a function of supply and demand. On the West Coast there are a lot of students competing for a few colleges, and most of the students you’re competing with are also from the West Coast. By heading east you have two things going for you: #1 there are a lot more colleges competing for students, and #2 you’re a minority!  Be true to yourself and consider whether you could live there for four years.

 

Consider colleges of all sizes.

Consider your own personality. What environment will support your success? Larger schools are great because of all the activities, opportunities and diversity that can be found there. Smaller schools are great because class sizes are typically smaller, and you may have better access to your professors and the resources you may need.

 

Visit as many college campuses as possible.

This will give you a good feeling about housing, atmosphere, campus activity and curriculum.

 

Seek Advice

Choosing a college is your choice, but don’t be afraid to counsel with parents, school counselors and other trusted individuals. At Crystal Clear College Planning we are dedicated to helping you and your family successfully prepare for college. We have tools that can assist you in choosing the college or university that is right for you.

Let us help you make the most of your college experience, beginning with your college selection.

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