tips for choosing a college
This is a really exciting time for high school seniors/transfer students who are getting accepted to universities! But now it’s time for the most stressful part: deciding which school to go to. I was in the exact same place last year that you are in right now and I thought I would share some tips for making this difficult (but exciting!) decision.
Research, research, research. Online resources are the best. On the school’s official website, look at their course catalogs and major requirement sheets. If you’re coming in undeclared, look at their list of majors and see if you think they have enough options you’re interested in exploring.
Also think about what it will be like to be a student at that school. Don’t only focus on the practical stuff like rankings and academics. Look at the student orgs, events, and student resources. Follow their social media accounts (especially Instagram and Snapchat) to get a sense of the school’s vibe. You can even creep a lil and look at current students’ posts to see the campus through their eyes. Search for YouTube videos as well. There might be some vloggers who go to the school you’re interested in and you can see the day in the life of a student.
Take tours! Attend any admitted student days or come to campus for a regular tour. This is soooo important. You will get to learn about the school from an actual student and they will tell you more than you could ever find online. At the very least, walk around the campus yourself a little bit to get a feel for it. If for whatever reason you can’t go to campus before you have to choose, contact the admissions office and ask for some extra info. They might even put you in contact with a student who is in your major who you can talk to.
Once you have narrowed it down to a couple schools, ask people which one they think you should go to. I did this and realized that whenever they told me a different school than UCSB (which I ended up going to) I would feel disappointed. I would always be like, “But why not UCSB?” You could also do the same thing by pulling names out of a hat. Think that whichever one you pick out, you will go to and see how you feel about it. While choosing a school should definitely be about academic opportunities and other practical factors such as financial aid, I think your gut feeling should play a role as well.
Do not worry about what other people will think. Everyone has an idea of what certain schools are like. It might have to do with rankings or other reputations that the school might have, but try to disregard that as much as possible and form your own opinions. Don’t worry if people don’t think the school is good enough or anything like that. After all, you are the one who will be going there for years, not them.
Think about distance! I definitely underestimated how important this was for me. Consider how often you plan on going home. If you’re going to go home every weekend, a local school will probably work best in the long run. If you’re the total opposite and plan on rarely going home, a school much farther away will probably work out well for you.
Talk to current students if you can. Reach out to alumni from your high school or community college who currently go there. If you do stop at the school for a visit, feel free to stop some students for directions then ask how they like going to school there. Check if there are any studyblrs who go to the schools you were admitted to (me if you were admitted to UCSB) and ask them any questions you have.
So those are all the tips I can think of right now. Enjoy this time in your life because it is so exciting and you have so many options. If you have any questions about college or UCSB feel free to send me an ask! Good luck, and congratulations!