3 Keys to Finding Your Perfect College

In some ways, choosing a college is a lot like committing to a serious relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Do you feel comfortable with this person? Are they supportive of you? When you imagine your life in five years, are they still standing next to you? High school was just a summer fling, but college is the real thing. Will it be love at first sight? Maybe. But most students have to experience a lot of different colleges before they find The One.

Throughout your college search, make sure to keep the following things in mind:

Do you feel comfortable?

When you are visiting colleges, get a good feel for not only the campus but also the city it is in. You do not want to be in a place that makes you feel unsafe, insecure or overwhelmed. Be sure to check out all the housing options. If they only show you a “model dorm” on the tour, do not be afraid to ask a current student to give you a tour. That way you can see what a freshman dorm is really like. If you have a major in mind, make an appointment to see the building that specific department is housed in. You will get a sneak peek into your academic environment.

Will your interests be supported?

Make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer you things you are interested in, whether it is academics or recreation. Do they have a good program for your major? Is there room to explore your options if you have not picked a major? Your time at college will give you knowledge in a field that will eventually define your professional career. You want to be able to spend those four years (or more) learning about something you are genuinely interested in.

Some of the colleges you look at may get labeled as party schools, all liberals or super religious. Do not let these stereotypes discourage you from looking at a certain school. Focus on the student organizations a college has. They are a great way to make friends, explore your interests and, in some cases, boost your resume. Remember that, just because a college has gained a certain reputation, it does not mean you are required to fit that reputation. Going to college is about discovering who you are as a person and, more often than not, the schools you look at will give you an ample amount of opportunities to find out.

Can you see yourself at this college?

Once you’ve done all the research, dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s, it is time to compile everything together and put yourself in the picture. You are not looking to fit yourself to a college; you are looking for a college to fit you. It is guaranteed that it will take multiple visits and a few “pros and cons” lists. Do not hesitate to ask questions about anything and everything. Most importantly, trust your gut feeling. If you find a school that is your perfect picture of academics and fun, then congratulations. You have found The One.

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Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in journalism and strategic communication. With an interest in social media, she can often be found exploring the Facebook walls, Twitter feeds and Pinterest profiles of big brands. Her laptop and iPhone never leave her side. Outside of school and work, Caitlin can be found enjoying a good TV show or two and spending time with her friends and family.
Caitlin Furin

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