Choosing the Right College: A Guide for High School Seniors

Searching for a college can be one of the most exciting times, but also one of the most confusing. It’s the time when you get to decide what road you want to take after graduation. Many factors contribute to the college search, but where do you start? Before you start filling out your college application, here are some tips that will help you in your search and get you on the right path for the next stage in your educational journey.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Helpful College Search Tips

Here are some top search tips that will help you on your way to choosing a college.

Start Early

It’s a good idea to start your search sooner rather than later. Figuring out what you’re looking for and making a list of suitable colleges early on will save you time, money, and stress further down the line.

Don’t be Influenced by Others

It can be great fun to experience college with your friends but don’t choose your school simply because your friends are going there. A big part of the college experience is meeting new people and growing as a person, so make the experience your own.

Similarly, don’t choose a college just because your parents want you to. It will be your college education and future and an opportunity to grow and be independent.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t talk to your parents and hear their points of view. If they’re paying for your education, it helps if you’re on the same or a similar page.

Trust Your Choices

You’re likely going to find colleges that you just feel drawn to and that’s something to consider. The schools might be speaking to you for a reason, so trust your gut and explore them further. Likewise, if a college doesn’t feel right, trust your choices.

What Are You Looking For?

When you’re making a list of suitable institutions, think about what’s important to you. Things to consider include size, distance from home, athletic opportunities, and academics. With this list, you can narrow down your college options.

Try to be honest in the questions you ask yourself and once you’ve made the list, keep it handy whenever you’re looking at different institutions.

Don’t be Embarrassed to Ask For Help

There are lots of people you can approach for help such as school counselors, parents, teachers, and college admission counsellors. They can help with any college searches and application questions.

Each college also has a website where you’ll find information about something a specific college offers.

Do Your Research

Don’t be tempted to go into college application season without arming yourself with all the right information. Research is a valuable tool and using a college search spreadsheet will help keep track of all the details.

Apply For Scholarships

Even if you haven’t made a final decision, it’s never too early to start applying for scholarships. The private ones don’t require you to know exactly where you’re going.

Start exploring the different scholarship options and applying for them. That way you’ll have a better chance of winning some money before you head off to college.

You should also start saving as soon as you can, get smart with budgeting and learn how to spend your money wisely.

Talk to Your Friends

If you already have friends in college, ask them what it’s like. As well as asking questions, you could also ask for some top college tips.

Ask them how they like the campus, academics, atmosphere, and more. Personal experiences are more useful because they give you a unique perspective about a college.

Narrow Down Your Choices

Applying for every college that’s on your radar might not be the smartest move. Narrow down your choices to those that check most of your boxes.

A good strategy is to apply for at least one that’s slightly above your academic credentials, one that’s at your level, and one that’s slightly below your academic level.

What is Your Learning Style

Your learning style has a big part to play in choosing the right college. If you need one-on-one time with a teacher, a smaller college with smaller class sizes might suit you best. For more independent learners, large lecture halls might be a better fit.

Check Out Extracurriculars

You’re not going to be spending every waking moment in class so look for a college that offers campus groups and activities you’re interested in. Extracurricular activities provide ample opportunities for learning new things and making new friends.

Take a Tour of the Campus

If you get the opportunity to tour any colleges and universities you’re considering, do it. A first-hand visit is the best way to get a feel for an academy. You’ll be able to see what they have to offer, experience the way the campus connects with you, and get a preview of what life might be like.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the journey to college is an exciting and transformative chapter in your life. As you embark on this path, remember that the process is not just about reaching a destination but about personal growth, resilience, and self-discovery. Embrace the challenges, celebrate your achievements, and utilise the resources available to you.

 

 

About Joel Levy 2601 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography