It’s coming up on that time of year where high school seniors and college students are filling out college applications or beginning the transfer process, respectively. It’s a challenging time without a doubt and it doesn’t help that students are bombarded with college advice, statistics and rankings information from countless sources. How do you know what’s legitimate information and what’s not? Here are three factors you should definitely consider before submitting those applications.
Reputation: Of course you’re going to consider a school’s history when deciding whether to go...but the best school with the best reputation might not necessarily be the best fit for you. This goes for all aspects of reputation as well: Recognize that anything in excess is never good and just as you don’t want to get overwhelmed academically, you don’t want to get too caught up in the social stuff, either.
Price: The fact that college is expensive is old news but you can’t let cost limit your options! Many schools are well aware of the economic hardship that many families are dealing with and their financial aid packages reflect this: Colleges contributed an average of $11,500 per full-time students as of the 2009-2010 school year. Every little bit helps!
Recommendations: While choosing the right school is your own decision, it doesn’t hurt to get feedback from some direct sources. Talk to students who attend the schools you're interested in and find out about their experiences. Check out a school’s Facebook and Twitter pages and find out different resources you can contact to get a better idea of what the student experience is like.
Applying to college is a big step, as any of these institutions could be where you spend all or part of your college career. In the end, the most important factor is to pick the schools that you can picture yourself being happy. The decision is ultimately yours – it’s truly the first step in taking your future into your own hands. [...]