By Hope Su
As my senior year comes to a close, I have realized that my perspective on colleges has changed significantly. When I was first applying to college, I believed that the college with the best reputation and the most prestigious name was the ideal. In reality that’s not always the case. To find the right college for you, I believe that your own unique needs come before the reputation of a school.
How far will you go?
Before choosing a college, you must consider how far you plan to go in your education. Second degree students (students who have already earned their first Bachelor’s degree) are ineligible for most forms of government aid. If you plan on obtaining a Master’s degree or a PhD after your Bachelor’s degree, it would be a good idea to consider trying to save money while you can with your first degree. Also, most employers look most strongly at the school of your latest degree, so you may not need a prestigious school for your first degree. If you are not planning on obtaining anything beyond your first Bachelor’s degree, it might be worthwhile to invest in a school that will make your first four years of college very worthwhile.
What field interests you?
Another thing to consider before choosing a college is what the college can offer you in terms of the particular field you plan on going into. Certain schools may offer you more resources than others.
Location, location location
Besides the programs for certain majors, factors like location are also important. For example if you’re interested in pursuing international relations, attending a school such as George Washington University in Washington D.C is a smart choice due to the plethora of internships and opportunities located in the area.
What’s your personal preference?
The last thing to consider before choosing a college is personal preference. Choosing a college is about choosing the place where you are going to grow as a person in the next four years, where you are going to become an adult. Attending a school farther away from home will benefit many people while others aren’t ready for that yet.
For me, the atmosphere of the college I will attend is extremely important. I wanted to attend a school that had a lot of optimism. I wanted to make sure that the people around me were just as dedicated to their passions as I am.
I would recommend that you visit the college or speak to a student who attends the college you are interested in before deciding on where to go. If you are in an environment where you are uncomfortable, you will not be able to take advantage of all the opportunities college has to offer.