How to Choose a College

by Writer Ben Myers

Deciding which college to go to can be difficult. You may want to go somewhere close or somewhere far away. You may want to go somewhere your friends are going or you may want to go somewhere that your family has gone to. You may even just be completely unsure.

Rather than allow college decision making to get you down, why not use the following tips to help make it a bit less stressful.

1. Know what's best for you.

You may want to go to school far away just to try something new, but if you're very close to your family, it may not be the best option. You may also want to go to school with all of your friends, but that school may not offer your major.

Before you can determine where to go, you need to figure out what type of school would be best for you based on you, your values, your goals, your personality and your academics. If you're unsure, you can always seek the advice of your family, friends and even school counselors or teachers to help you determine your best options.

2. The name of the school doesn't mean anything.

How successful you are in college and after graduation depends on you, your experiences and your drive. It has nothing to do with the name of the college you went to. Just because your friends are attending a popular college does not mean they'll be more successful than you if you attend a lesser-known university. You have to look at what you're going to learn and how you're going to apply it to the real world. Having a degree with a fancy school on it isn't going to land you a job; your experience and determination will.

3. You don't need to determine your profession now.

Every college application is going to ask you what your major is, but you don't have to know it. You're going to have to get all of your general education classes out of the way anyway, so you can always claim to be undecided and take the first few years to figure it out.

If you think you have an interest in a profession, take a few classes that deal with that major. If you don't like it, you can always choose something else. Even if you claimed a major, you may soon realize that you don't like it, and that's okay. Plenty of students have changed majors and even changed schools when they realized what they wanted to major in.

4. Don't be swayed by price.

Some colleges are much more expensive than others, and you don't have to let that limit you. There are plenty of grants and scholarships you can earn to help pay for college, along with plenty of financial aid and studentloan options. Plus, some schools even offer a work study program that helps with the cost of tuition if the student works on campus.

You should always apply for financial aid through FAFSA, and you can check the college's website for information on their payment, loan and scholarship information.

5. It's okay to be a non-traditional student.

Though most people attend college the year after they graduate, it's not for everyone. Some students opt to go to a local community college for a few years first until they decide which college they want to attend. Some students decide to work for a few years before going back to school, and both of these are okay. There is no law that says you must attend college straight out of high school or else you'll fail. Everyone has different goals and life choices, and sometimes attending college doesn't fit in with that directly after high school.

There is also no law that says you have to attend college before a certain age, so even if you attend college 10 years after you graduate high school, that's perfectly acceptable.

So when it comes time to making the decision as to where you’re going to go to college, use these tips to help alleviate most of the stress, and you’ll then make a more informed decision.

This post was written by Writer Ben Myers

Ben Myers is a college English professor.  He is currently grading a huge stack of essays on Of Mice and Men.  In his spare time, Ben likes to study about learning methods and learning disabilities.

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