4 Easy Steps To Choosing The Right College For You

As a high school student, I was overwhelmed with the amount of colleges out there in the country. I kept getting my email and postal mail flooded with advertisement and promotions from big name schools to small schools I never even heard of.

All of these possibilities for furthering my education and I had no clue where to start. Which college was for me? What am I looking for? Where will it be? How can I pay for it?

These are the questions I asked myself and discussed with counselors and my parents. So I created this easy 4-step process, which while it might involve a lot more investigation and thought from your part, will ultimately give you a rubric for achieving happiness the next 4 years.

What are my grades?

What colleges or universities can you get accepted to should be the first and foremost question to ask yourself. If your grades are quite high and your SAT or ACT scores are high as well, your opportunities into different universities expands greatly. The same is for the exact opposite spectrum of terrible grades and horrible standardized test scores. However, if you are caught somewhere in the middle with grades and scores, then it’s worth investing time and effort into figuring out which schools best align with your academic profile.

What colleges interest me?

After reviewing your grades and standardized test scores, you should have a pool of schools you are realistically able to get into. Once you see the selection of schools, you must ask yourself what I want from these schools. Do I want them for their academics programs that most likely coincide with my major? Do I want it because of its specific location that perhaps will allow me to receive different benefits than others? And what kind of culture or social setting am I looking for? Such as a campus life or a more urban campus like NYU or CUNY Hunter. 

Where do I want to live?

Once you dwindle down your choices to a narrower list, you must decide whether you want to live at home or away from home in the dorms. In the dorms, you will receive certain benefits and some disadvantages. Some of the advantages will be a greater sense of independence from home and your family. Not to make them sound bad or anything to that effect, but sometimes it is best to leave the nest in search of more to life. You start maturing and figuring out how to live on your own and with other people without the having to be watched all the time; a sense of freedom if you will.

However, this is not for everyone because not everyone is mentally ready to be on there own and you must truly ask yourself  “can you sustain yourself mentally and emotionally without your parents”. Disadvantages might also be the fact that you may not be able to pay for the room and board at the university. Staying at home has the exact opposite effects of dorming. The independence is not entirely there, and neither is the ability to mentally grow. However, you will be attending college rent-free in an environment that you are familiar and comfortable in.

How will I pay for college?

When you finally choose the schools you would like to attend, the next question is how will you pay for them? Well first you should figure out if you can pay the school through financial aid, which is mostly based on your parent’s annual salary. The school will inform you of your eligibility, but even this is sometimes not enough to cover all the expenses.

If not, perhaps an academic, athletic, or an organizational scholarship will help pay for the tuition. However you must be aware that they are hard to obtain and vary in amount. You could also use student loans to help pay tuition costs, but I would honestly stay away from them unless they are absolutely necessary because you only drive yourself into debt straight out of college. And lastly if you’re affluent enough or your school doesn’t cost as much as others, then perhaps paying it out of pocket is the right choice for you.

Thank you for reading; I hope this helped you on your path to college!

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Matthew Marquez

Matthew Marquez

Matthew Marquez is a sophomore at Hunter College pursuing a career in film with a concentration in directing, producing, and screenplay writing. He works part-time for a company called PriAmerica. Outside of school, he loves to play soccer, watch movies, attend film festivals, make short films, write, and also hangout with family and friends
Matthew Marquez

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