College: Decisions, Decisions!

4,168. That’s how many colleges and universities there are in the United States alone. 373: This is the number of majors to choose from. Add to this, other factors such as location, size of the school, class sizes, athletics, cost of the school, and one can easily see that choosing the right college becomes a monumental task.

So how do you choose? How do you decide which school is right for you? Many people will tell you that you just know when you get there, but what if you never get that feeling? What if your ideal future rides on this decision?

First of all, as a present senior, let me tell you this: Calm down!  This is a huge decision and you need your head clear when you make it. Don’t let your emotions take over (even though they want to); just think, think about your favorite attributes of each school you applied to. Think about what you really want from a school. Think about what you want for your future and which school can get you there and let you achieve everything that you want.

After you have calmed down, talk to your parents. Let them give you some insight on which school they think is the best fit for you. Take into consideration what they say and tell them why you love each school. Together you can come up with half of the solution. Then ask them if you can visit the schools again. It’s always good to talk to more people, so talk to counselors, professors and other students; they are there to help you. Other students know what a hard time this is; they are going through it too, so don’t be afraid to share your thoughts or ideas.

Once you have visited for a second time, you should be able to cross at least two of the schools you have been accepted to off your list. Then really think about the two or three schools you have left. Are they far away from home? Do you want to stay close or go away? Do they have a great program for your major? What about their endowment? (Large endowments mean grants. The word grant is a parent’s favorite word.)

In making your decision you can also consider the schools involvement in activities and the community. After what seems to be a laborious question, of course the final decision comes down to this: Can you financially and emotionally afford it? To your surprise the school you thought you would be attending might be wiped off that list already. Or it could make your decision for you.

Overall this is a very stressful situation, but it doesn’t have to be. As a senior I have looked at all of the resources around me, all of the people who were there to help me; you don’t have to go through this alone. To all students, but most importantly upcoming seniors, don’t wait until the last minute; decide what you want for the future and embrace it because the future is yours and no one can take that away from you.

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