Choosing a college can be exciting, fun and scary at the same time. There's a lot of stress involved in arriving at the right decision. After all, you'll be spending the next few years of your life on campus, becoming who you want to be and getting ready for your career and future.
Finding the best college for you, however, won't be a walk in the park. During this process, the opinions of others along with your desires and emotions begin to weigh into your decision. While you're in the selection process, you could make blunders.
You'll want to avoid these mistakes when deciding which college to attend:
- Assuming Rejection
If you do not apply to a college or university because you think you won't get in, you're selling yourself short. There's a chance you can achieve more than you think. Many school counselors, in fact, suggest applying to those schools that people consider "a reach."
Here's an example: let's say you want to apply to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York. You've heard that the acceptance rate for RIT is about 57 percent. Even if you feel that this rate is less than stellar, you should still give your college application a shot. After all, you will never know what you can achieve unless you try.
If that particular "reach" falls short, don't despair. You can apply to other schools where you'll likely excel and enjoy your stay. Just don't let the idea of rejection mess with your college choices.
- Choosing a College Solely for Its Reputation
The top colleges and universities in the United States provide stellar academic opportunities, but so many lesser-known educational institutions. Don't be distracted or too focused on the name and reputation of the school. Look past those and carefully think about whether the college you want will be a good fit for you.
- Considering Only the Colleges Your Best Friend Wants
When you're choosing a college, your aim should be to find the right college for you - not your best friend. If your BFF wants to become a law student at a prestigious law school, for instance, you won't choose the exact same college unless you plan to become an attorney in the future.
The point is that you have different educational ambitions and goals. You may, for example, do well with discussion-based classes while your close friend wants lecture-based classes.
Find out who you are and what you want in a college or university. Then, go look for a college that suits your needs and ambitions.
- Allowing Your Family to Dictate Your College Choice
Many parents want only the best for their children. Unfortunately, they sometimes exercise too much influence in helping you choose a college.
Although your parents will be taking care of most of the expenses, they will not be the ones attending classes, submitting school requirements and consulting with professors. While you should listen to their opinions, you also need to explore the college choices on your own to determine the one that feels right for you.
At the end of a comprehensive search and much discussion, there can be some form of a meeting of the minds between you and your folks.
- Not Taking Enough Time to Research College Options
If you leave your search for a good college or university to the last minute, you won't be able to perform thorough research and discover the many learning opportunities that colleges provide.
You, therefore, should start considering future college choices with the help of your parents as early as sixth grade. Failure to consider all available options adequately will result in a decision based on factors that merely brush the surface of what colleges or universities have to offer.
- Neglecting Your Values
Every student looks forward to a fun and fulfilling college experience. The chance to make new friends, enjoy a club or two, participate in on-campus activities and attend football games are all part of what makes college life great.
You, however, should also look for a school where student life aligns with your values. If you want to develop yourself socially and academically, you'll need to look for a college that supports your values.
- Missing Deadlines
There's no universal deadline for securing financial aid or college admission. Each college, however, has its own set of deadlines. Take note of them and do your best to submit applications a couple of weeks in advance of the deadline. Note down the deadlines in your phone calendar or desk planner and stay on top of them.
Take your college search process seriously. While you're in the middle of your selection process, do your best to avoid these mistakes.