Why You Shouldn’t Base Your College Search on Your Friends

high school friends

Flickr user Anuj Biyani

Friends were no doubt a big part of your high school life, and it can be hard to say goodbye when the time comes. So hard, in fact, that some students want to attend the same college as their high school friends so they won’t have to say goodbye or feel alone. Basing your college search on your friends, however, can be a big mistake.

Your Friends Aren’t You

Friends a part of you, sure—“You are who you spend time with” they say—but they aren’t you. They might not need the same things you need. You might not have the same interests they do.

You need to be the #1 concern in your college search. What majors are you interested in? What career aspirations (if any at this point) do you have? Do you want to stay close to home or travel a bit farther? What does your family budget look like? What sporting programs or student orginizations were you thinking about joining?

These are just some of the you-centric questions you’ll ask yourself during the college search process. This is going to be your college experience, your education, your future.

College is a Big Step Forward

It’s understandable if you feel nervous about leaving familiar friends behind to go join a college full of strangers. But here’s the thing—you’ll make new friends. College is all about networking and forging relationships. Classmates, co-workers, roommates, people on your dorm floor, people in your student org, friends of friends, you’ll meet a ton of new people, and odds are you’ll find many with similar interests and passions as you.

This is not to say, of course, that you’ll be replacing any of your old high school friends. Don’t think of it as a “goodbye” so much as a “see you later.” You can still stay in contact with your old friends—texting, calling, Skyping, heck you can even write physical letters.

The Point Is…

Focus on you. Follow your own path (cheesy as it sounds). In my senior year of high school my best friend refused to tell her boyfriend which college she’d accepted until he made a decision of his own. She didn’t want to affect his choices. He ended up making his own choice, which truly was the best college for him and his interests.

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