Picking a college can be hard. It’s an important decision that has the potential to steer the course of your life in major ways. I often work with teenagers and I’ve heard many of them agonizing over their college decisions lately, afraid of making the wrong choices.
I don’t blame them! Although my dad’s requirement was that I had to attend two years of community college first before going anywhere else, I still struggled when it came to deciding where I should go next. I didn’t want to go far away, I didn’t want to spend any more money than necessary, and I didn’t want to go anyplace where I didn’t have at least one friend already. Those were my nonnegotiables.
I got one of them. 😂
I chose a college that was 2,000 miles away where I didn’t know a soul. I was able to get a few scholarships and discovered that my private school tuition in Florida was actually cheaper than staying anywhere in my home state, but I still never dreamed I would veer so far off from my original plan.
Why did I?
It felt right. And no other college did.
For months, I’d been pretty set on a particular school a few hours from home where several of my friends went. I figured I’d get an apartment with some of them, spend a good chunk of weekends back home, and put in my two years so I could just get the whole thing over with.
So optimistic, I know.
That should have told me something right there. I didn’t love the school and I wasn’t a bit excited about it. I just thought it was a practical choice, as good as any other place. And I wanted to go where my friends were.
Ultimately, though, I listened to my instincts and I’m glad I did. Southeastern University couldn’t have been more perfect for me, and attending there remains one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was a hard one, but it was worth it. And it flew by in the blink of an eye.
There are seven things I think are important to consider in a college or university. Some of them I consciously factored into my decision; others I didn’t give much thought to but got checked off my list, anyway. Here they are:
Choosing a college is a big decision, that’s for sure. But it’s not the end-all. It (generally) only lasts four years, you can always transfer, and hey! Only 27% of college graduates actually use their degrees anyway (I suspect it might be even more at this point), so you don’t have to dedicate too much stress to that decision, either. 😉
Find a school that gets you excited and gives you peace. And then enjoy it! Your college years are like no others, and they might even be some of the best years of your life. Good luck – you’ve got this! 🎓