Making sure you choose the right college for you can be a daunting task. There are many things you can do to make sure you're prepared for your college decision, but few people discuss the things you should avoid. So here's a few things to try NOT to do while making your college decision:
1. Rush the decision process
Finding the right college fit takes time, not to mention research. Waiting until the last minute takes away the opportunity to make sure the college is a right fit for you. So take the time to visit the colleges you're interested in and learn as much about them as possible in person, online, and through word of mouth as well.
2. Follow Someone Else's Footsteps
Choosing a college because your sibling, your parents, your significant other, or your best friend went there may seem like a good idea at the time, but your college decision needs to be about YOU. College is one of the most pivotal points in your life, you're making long term career decisions as well as lasting relationships. Pick a college that can offer you ALL of the things you find important.
Some people only consider colleges that are far away from their families or friends, but this is not always beneficial either. Don't choose—or not choose—a college out of spite. Choose a college based on what you want, not based on someone else.
4. Assume the worst
Not applying to certain colleges because you assume you won't get in limits your potential college choices. At least make the attempt so you know for sure one way or another and if you do get in, that'll make your college choice that much easier!
5. Choose a College for the Major
The majors that a college has to offer are, of course, an important decision-making factor. However, odds are you will change your major at least once during your college career. There's nothing wrong with that, but make sure the college you choose has something to offer other than just the major that you want!
6. Focus too much on extracurriculars
We've all got a favorite sports team or our favorite party spot, but that doesn't mean the college will be the right educational fit for you. Make sure the college you choose is offering you a good educational experience since that's what you're paying for in the first place.
7. Rely on reputation.
A highly-ranked or ivy league school might not be the right school for you. Reputation is important, but it isn't everything. You might need smaller classes and more one-on-one interaction to thrive.
8. Worry over finances
Some people only consider the cost when choosing a college. Obviously finances are a huge hurdle, but don't let it blind your decision making process. Financial aid is almost always an option!
9. Have a one-track mind.
You might be the kind of person who has wanted to go to the same school since you were little. And I agree, there is only one right school for you, but not exploring ALL options is a mistake. You can still end up at the school you've always dreamed of. I'm just saying to check out some others too.
10. Skip your college visits
Simply researching a college online will not give you a realistic idea of what it's like there. Talking to other people will be helpful, but it is ultimately up to you so you need to see for yourself what the school has to offer.
Have questions about anything specific that is making your college decision difficult? Let me know in the comments and I'd be happy to help!