Choosing a College: Tips for Making the Perfect College Choice


(Image via Education Corner)

Amelie Verlinden, Resources Editor

Right about now, if you’re a junior or senior in high school, you’re beginning to think about what you’re going to do after you graduate. You may be completely sure that you want to go to college, or you might not be! Either way, it’s good to know your options for whatever path you wish to take and how you are going to get there. 

To begin formulating your plan, you first need to ask yourself what you want as a career path. Do you lean more towards STEM subjects, or are you someone who enjoys liberal arts, such as art and writing? You could also even be interested in trades, like woodshop and welding. Even if you aren’t sure exactly what you want to do, having a good idea of what you love learning about and doing is an excellent way to start. 

If you are interested in a trade such as woodshop, electricity, or welding, your best option would be a trade school. These schools are perfect for jobs in trade fields because they are specialized in specific trades and have the shortest programs, so it is easy to learn quickly and get right into the job force. Trades pay very well, so your greatest worries would be how to pay for school and where you would need to stay. If you have concerns about paying for a school, trade schools also offer scholarships, as well as other grant and incentive programs.

If you decide that you would like to give college a try, this is where things get tricky, because a college experience is made up of multiple different factors that you need to consider. 

Here’s a short list of questions, some of which go into greater detail on

-Where would your ideal college be?

-Do you prefer a smaller college or a large school?

-What is your price range for tuition and fees?

-Would you like to go in-state or out?

-What is your area of interest?

-Do you prefer small towns or big cities?

All of your answers to these questions will go towards finding the perfect college for you. When it comes to college, it isn’t just the academics that can make or break an experience, it is also how happy you are outside of class. Looking at clubs, things to do in your college’s town, and experiences the college has to offer will also help shape your idea of what your college will be like.

When it comes to academics, knowing what you enjoy learning about will also help you decide both your major and your college. Look into the curriculum for majors you’re interested in; do the classes sound appealing to you? Does the major seem well-rounded and thought out? Make sure to look into other classes the school has to offer because exploring various topics will help widen your ways of thinking. You should also be asking yourself what jobs are available with the majors you are interested in, and what their standard pay rate is. 

Now, even though this time in your life is scary, walk into it with your head held high. You’re beginning your transition into adulthood, and while it can feel hugely complicated, it doesn’t always have to be. Organizing your thoughts on a list or spreadsheet might help you feel a bit more grounded in the process, and you can always reach out to various counselors or family members for assistance. 

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