It is most likely the biggest decision you have made thus far in your life. It is most likely a decision that is terrifying, exciting, and confusing. It is most likely something you are stressed about.
I am here to calm your nerves.
Make some tea, grab a blanket, and relax.
Choosing the “perfect” college was something I had been fixated on since middle school. I was obsessed with the though of a huge campus with classic architecture and a big football team.
Today, I am a junior at UC Santa Barbara. This school dose not have a football team or traditional huge buildings and pillars, and I could not be happier with my choice.
So how did this happen? How do you make a decision like this? What things are the most important in a school?
- Determine if you want to go large or small. I will say that you can never make a small school bigger but there are many ways to make a big school seem smaller. If you want a small community, you should not have to compromise. This seems to be one of the first distinguishing factors in a college selection
- In state or out of state? In state offers cheaper tuition and less travel expense. Staying in state, however can leave many kids wishing they made a bigger change and went further from home. Living out of state provides an opportunity to start FRESH, and learn how to be truly INDEPENDENT. I particularly love this article from the swirl blog on out of state advice
- Create a rough wishlist of things you desire in a college and find 9-10 schools you would like to apply to
- Check out my college admission planner. I created this planner for my tutoring clients in this exact position. You can purchase it from my etsy shop here.
After you have received admission letters:
- If you have not yet, tour! There is no better way to get a feel of a campus than actually visiting.
- Consider where you would live after the dorms. I know this seems really far off, but the atmosphere of the town surrounding the college can end up being just as important as the school itself.
- See what kid of activities there are outside of campus. Will you be locked in your room all winter? Do you want to try new hobbies?
- Talk to friends or people you may know that are going there. It is amazing having a friend or someone from your background give you honest advice on their school. College kids remember very well how terrifying the decision and process was, so they would love to answer any questions you may have about their school.
Once you have made a decision:
- Go in with an open mind
- Get involved and create your new home
- Accept college as a challenge, and have the strength to rise to the occasion.
- Get ready for some serious FUN
UCSB was a safety school for me. I was heartbroken when I didn’t get into UCLA or Berkeley. I cannot believe how lucky I was to be denied to those schools, or else I never would have even considered moving to Santa Barbara.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and with a positive attitude there are very few things you cannot enjoy.
Feel free to comment you questions about college applications or advice you may have to those making the decision!