How to Choose the Right College

April 12, 2017

[OP-ED] If you’re anything like me, you probably procrastinated for the majority of the college process. I started my college visits late, and chose what schools to apply to kind of randomly (and I applied to a lot, around 14). Even if you are prepared, there are definitely things every prospective student should do to pick the college they will fit best at. 

1. Tours and information sessions, for the most part, do not matter. Except for maybe 3 actually relevant pieces of information, every tour at every college repeats the exact same jokes about the school being safe, how many clubs the school has (‘and you can even start your own!’), how students can really get to know their professors, and so on. While going on these tours is useful to demonstrate interest, and to see the campus, most of what is saying is not very special to the school, and does not give a good sense for the school at all. If you have a bad tour, that does not reflect badly on the school.

2. Stay overnight. I did not do this during my college process, and I highly regret it. I applied early decision to a school that, looking back on it now, I would be miserable at, and I would have realized this if I had spent the night with a student (I was deferred from this school and ended up at a school I absolutely love). Unlike tours, staying overnight can actually give you a sense for the school and you can talk to real students that will be honest about everything that happens.

3. Look at the surrounding area. For me, I always knew I wanted to be in a metropolitan area, so exploring the surrounding area with my family helped to give me a good sense of where I would be spending time as a student. The restaurants, and stores, and movie theaters and more are where you will be spending time as a student, so it is important that you can stand the area.

4. Go with your gut. No matter how much a school may seem like the perfect fit for you on paper, if you get the feeling that you can’t really see yourself there, then don’t force it. In the end, it is your choice and you should be happy with it. If you hate a school you thought would be your top choice then don’t worry. Everything will work out and there are so many other options out there.

Hopefully these tips will help you figure out where you want to end up!

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AdmitSee Staff

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UMD ‘20


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