A lot of students deciding on college worry about choosing the “right” or “wrong” school. In reality, there is no “right” or “wrong” school for you. You can only decide where to attend for the “right” or “wrong” reasons!
It’s definitely important to have a strong idea of the type of school you’d like to attend, but keep in mind that there are many schools that will fit the criteria you’ve chosen. Don’t set your heart on your “perfect” school — it doesn’t exist! One school might fit more of your criteria than another, but ultimately you are in charge of your happiness and success at any university you attend. Seriously – you have that power!
The buzz in the halls during your junior and senior years of high school will most certainly be about where everyone is going to college. Where are your friends going? Where is your boyfriend or girlfriend going? Where are your – gasp! – enemies going? Often, groups of friends will try to apply to all of the same schools. A girlfriend will follow her boyfriend to his dream university instead of her own. The problem with basing your decision on someone else’s vision of the future is that your vision for yourself gets clouded. It’s super important to remember the criteria you’ve chosen for yourself and be honest about what will make YOU happy. College is one of the best opportunities to expand your awareness of the world, so don’t be afraid to stretch yourself and meet new people.
Take it from Amy Yao, a freshman at St. Lawrence University in New York. She followed her boyfriend to college and couldn’t figure out why she spent her entire freshman year as a miserable student, when she had been so excited about college before. Amy was so gloomy that she considered transferring. When the transfer date came and went she finally leveled with herself and realized she considered St. Lawrence beneath her because it wasn’t her dream school. Amherst and Tufts had been her frontrunners. She chose St. Lawrence for the wrong reasons and because of that found it difficult to accept any of the good criteria the school could offer her. Fortunately, now that her tune has changed, Amy is taking charge and turning the “wrong” school into a great collegiate experience. A good attitude makes a big difference, but starting college your way will certainly make the transition easier.
It’s tough when you are facing pressure from loved ones, friends and significant others when it comes to choosing a school. Its even tougher when you put pressure on yourself to find the perfect education. The best you can do is go with your gut and follow your own interests!
Here are some other tips for avoiding mistakes when it comes to choosing a college.
What mistakes in choosing a college have you or people you know come across? Leave a comment in the section below!