How To Choose a College: Pick the one with the cheerleading Grandma’s!

You thought picking a prom date was hard? Try picking a college. It is no easy task. The decision you make will not only affect the next four (or five) years of your life, but will also decide the next 80 or 90! Where you go to college plays a part in determining who your friends will be, what your career will be and maybe even who your husband or wife will be. Where you end up and what kind of person you become may also be chosen based on what college you go to.

Whoa. That’s a lot of pressure.

How do you choose!?

Take a deep breath, grab some soda and relax. Really, it’s easy; you just have to do your work:

1. Ask around: No one knows the college scene better than college students and graduates. So, ask them. They really are the best resource. Find out why they went to a school (Was it sports or social life? Academics or ass?), what they liked and disliked about their school, and tips they may have for you while you spend the next few months deciding. Students and graduates will give you the most honest answers ‘ the stuff you won’t find in a college guide book.

2. Visit the Career Center: Most high schools have one. Most students never step foot in one. Be a trendsetter and head on over to talk to the person in charge. Not only do they love having students come by to keep them from mind-numbing boredom, but they are also experts in all things college and can really help you make a decision. The career center should be the first place you go because they can tell you what you need to do before you choose a school ‘ applications, financial aid, graduation requirements ‘ as well as give you hundreds of college catalogs to peruse, study and aid you in your decision-making process.

3. Campus Visits: I know, I know ‘ you don’t want to be that dorky high school senior walking through a cool college campus with your parents and your varsity jacket. How embarrassing! But, visiting a college campus is really the only way to get a feel for a school ‘ and, trust me, you need to feel it. The college books, websites and catalogs are all great for informational purposes, but they really don’t show you what being on a campus is truly like. Going to a school, walking around, visiting classes, seeing the students interact and feeling the spirit of the college experience at each campus plays a huge part in a lot of people’s decisions. And, while you are there, don’t be embarrassed to ask the tour guide questions; they signed up for the job for a reason and they love talking about their school. So, leave the varsity jacket at home, bring the parents (they will pay for your meals!) and get to campus (all of them!).

4. Read: Books, websites and surveys are a great way to get a lot of general information fast. These are great resources for people who have no clue about what school they may want to go to, or what they are even looking for in a school. The information tends to be a bit skewed (it is promotional material, after all), but it is a great source of facts, stats and data.

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