Recent recipient of a College Raptor scholarship, Grant Parker is a high school senior narrowing down his college options. He interviewed 6 people that were close to him and asked them for their number one piece of advice for choosing a college.
Here’s what he, and they, had to say:
College is an important decision, that’s why using tools like College Raptor is extremely helpful. Now that being said, it is important to ask for and listen to other people’s advice as well. Sometimes people have a different point of view and may throw a spin on your ideas, allowing you to see things in a different light, therefore, making your overall decision more sensible. I asked six people for their number one tip when selecting a college and here’s what I came up with:
Backstory: I have the opportunity to go to a local college, or a college that is very far from home. I know several people at the local college, and nobody at the more distant college. The more distant college is ranked higher academically. The below responses are mostly specific to the situation I have described.
“Consider your options, and choose the college that best accommodates your future.”
This piece of advice is hard to hear. Although it is extremely logical and sound, it’s hard to focus on your future when you are so used to being in one place with one set of friends. Moving to a new place, new school, new overall situation, on top of having no friends, would be extremely difficult in my opinion. This may even lead to terrible grades if you are unhappy.
“Choose whatever college is best for the field you are entering.”
Again, this response makes perfect sense. I understand in the long run I am going to want to have the best degree from the best college, but attaining that degree may never happen if I were to focus solely on the academic level of the college and not my personal comfort in the new setting.
A Friend’s Advice (Christopher):
“You need to go somewhere where you feel comfortable.”
This response I like from a personal standpoint. As I have made clear in the first two points, I feel it is a necessity to go to a college where you feel comfortable. If you get homesick because you don’t know anyone it could be detrimental to your grades. Now the flip side of that is; if you go to a college merely based on social relations you could be holding yourself back and hindering your own future.
Sister’s Advice (A College Sophomore):
“Make sure you visit the college before making a decision.”
I think this is an excellent point. I know a lot of people have their minds completely made up before doing any research or scouting for themselves. They base their decision on their friends, or parents, or siblings’ opinions, and that is not ideal. Remember, college will basically be your new home. If it’s not a good fit, college could be miserable. I think it is a good idea to take your time and look around a bit before jumping to any conclusions.
Another Friend’s Advice (Ross):
“Choose a college that’s most beneficial to you in a financial way and also to what you’re trying to accomplish with an education.”
This response applies to almost every student ever. With money being such a problem for college kids, and the average amount of debt coming out of college being so high, it is only reasonable to consider price when considering a college. If a college is out of your price range and it will leave you in more debt than you know what to do with, it is probably not the best choice for a college.
A Teacher’s Advice (Mrs. Neff):
“Choose a college that best fits your degree and won’t cost you more than you’ll make.”
This tip is very similar to the one above, and like I said, it makes sense for everyone. This is a one-size-fits-all tip and everyone needs to hear it. The big university name may seem awesome, and it may seem like the perfect fit, but if it will cost you an arm and a leg to get there… is it really worth it? Struggling monetarily could ruin a college experience and place upon you undesired stress.
In conclusion, I believe it comes down to an overall assortment of reasons when selecting a college, and no one tip can narrow down the search to just one school. There are tons of variables in the college world, and it make take some searching to find the college that is right for you. The one tip I would give to you would be to keep an open mind. No matter how determined you are to make a specific decision, keep your mind open and listen to others, they may know something you don’t.
Want to know more about Grant Parker’s college prep journey? Read about it in his Q&A here!
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