The Truth About “How to Pick a College” Advice

The typical “How to Pick a College” article/blog/website will tell you a variety of things.

It will ensure your college decision is one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make it. It will inform you of some sort of planning guide in order to narrow down your decision. It will provide you with loads of links to college websites to begin your search.

At times, the typical “How to Pick a College” article/blog/website will seem too repetitive and tedious. For the hundredth time, I get that a pro and con list of the things I like about this school and things I don’t like about this school is a great technique to use in my college decision.

However, I am here to say that this repetitiveness and tediousness works. The content in these articles offer quality advice and information for future college students who are having decisiveness troubles.

How do I know? Here is my story.

I started my senior year of high school without a clue as to what the college world was like. Being the oldest of four kids, my parents and I really had no idea where to start. Should we just dive into the financial side of things and focus on that? Or should I research schools myself then worry about the rest later? I was lost.

This is where all those typical “How to Pick a College” articles, blogs, and websites came into play. I am not saying that these articles, blogs, and websites made or broke my end decision; they just set me off on the right foot.

One of the best pieces of advice I remember reading was to narrow down three or four main things you wanted in a college, and then look for schools who will meet that criteria in (for the most part) all areas. For me, I had three specific things I was looking for: an established journalism program, the chance to play softball, and a location near a city.

Next on the “how to” list was to start researching schools. Websites like that contained an abundance of colleges and allowed for a refined search are key in the college pursuit. This way, I could type in my specifics and see all the schools that fit under them.

Come spring of my senior year in high school, my college decision was made; North Central College in Naperville, IL was to be home the following fall. As sappy as it sounds, this was, by far, the best decision I have ever made.

These “How to Pick a College” articles, blogs and websites do more than just preach picking the right college for you, they show you how to pick the right college for you (hence the “How to”). They show you specific steps to take and encourage an action based college search. Reading through these articles and stories and websites influenced me on another level; they are the reason I am able to sit here and pass along helpful college information to you!

This would not be a post about the “typical ‘How to Pick a College’ articles/blogs/websites” without listing a few tips and tricks to starting your college search. Here is some of the, I believe, best of the best advice in the college picking process.

  • Make a list of specific things you want in a school and prioritize them.
  • Stick as close to that list as you can and research schools using big college search websites.
  • Don’t procrastinate!
  • Utilize the time you have to take plenty of college visits/tours.
  • (Alert: Cheesy one) Pick the school that as soon as you walk on campus you feel an extreme sense of belonging. (Trust me, you will know.)

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Jordan Johnson

Jordan Johnson

Jordan Johnson is a junior at North Central College in Naperville, IL pursuing degrees in journalism and interactive media studies. When she is not in the classroom, she balances her time playing for her school’s softball team and working at a local frozen yogurt shop. Jordan enjoys watching movies, thumb wars, and occasional trips into the windy city.
Jordan Johnson

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