Your senior year of high school is an exciting time. You already know the ropes when it comes to being able to get through high school, and you are looking ahead to the next major chapter in your life. For many, going off to college is a key part of that chapter.
If you, too, have your sights set on attending college at a four-year university, it is completely natural to find yourself experiencing a bit of anxiety over the entire thing. It is, after all, a major decision that you don’t want to take lightly. Figuring out what school you want to go to might very well be the first major decision that you have ever had to make.
There are many factors to take into account as you are looking for the right school for you. Some are based on your personal preferences for what your education will entail, while others are determined more by your personal circumstances. The good news is that there are several things that you can do to make sure that you choose the right college for you.
That being said, it is important to remember that no decision like this is set in stone. While you will no doubt feel a bit of pressure about it all, bear in mind the fact that you can always make a change to a different school down the line if the one you have selected ends up not being right for you.
With all this in mind, if you are a high school senior who is currently weighing your options and trying to figure out what college you should attend next year, here are a few things that you should take into consideration.
The Type of School
The first thing that you should note as you begin your search for the right college or university for you is that there are several different types of schools out there to choose from. Some are large state schools that offer what most people see as the traditional college experience. With classes on the larger size and study bodies comprised of tens of thousands of students, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by such schools.
Other types of colleges to consider are smaller private universities. Such schools, like Marian University Wisconsin offer smaller class sizes of about 13 students and thus a more personalized feel to your education.
Furthermore, there are also online universities to choose from if you feel that such a learning format is better for you. Aside from being more affordable on average, online learning is a viable option for students who must continue to work their way through school or who have other responsibilities that would make it incredibly difficult to attend a traditional university.
Take some time to consider the type of school that is best suited to your learning style. If you thrive in a smaller classroom setting, then those are the sort of schools that should make their way onto your shortlist. If, on the other hand, the big state school experience is what you have been dreaming of, then that might be the better choice for you.
The Cost of Tuition
The next thing that you need to take into account when trying to find the right college for you is how much it would cost for you to attend a particular school. It is a well-known fact that the cost of attending college is much higher than it once was, so make sure that you have run the numbers and established just how much you can afford to spend on your education.
Remember that the costs associated with going to college are not limited to the tuition and fees advertised by the school you are considering. Rather, you will also need to factor in the cost of room and board as well as how much it will likely cost for you to acquire the necessary textbooks and course materials that you need to succeed.
Some universities allow students to live off-campus regardless of whether they are a freshman or a senior, while others insist that first-year students and even sophomores live on campus in a dormitory. Take the time to do a cost analysis for each school you are considering. If it comes down to cost, then this might make the decision for you.
Another thing to investigate on this front is how much you might be able to earn in scholarships and grants. These can be incredibly helpful when you are determined to attend a school that would otherwise be out of your reach financially. You can even start applying to certain scholarship programs while you are still in high school.
Another factor that is going to weigh heavily into your decision about what college you attend next year is the major that you plan on pursuing. You might find that one school offers students pursuing a certain field of study a better education than others. Some schools even pride themselves on the success rates of students who complete challenging majors.
Don’t be worried if you don’t yet know what you want to study. Many students start their college experience not knowing exactly what they want to study, and others end up switching majors at some point or another. Simply have a think about those areas of study that are appealing to you in a broad sense and see what sort of education the schools you are considering offer with regard to those types of majors.
Ways that you can investigate this include looking at retention rates, successful job placement rates, and even reviews of former and current students online. It is also a good idea to peruse a university’s website to see how much information you can gather about the faculty and staff who work in the department that you are likely to study.
At the end of the day, as much information as you can acquire as possible will help you to make the most informed decision about where to attend college next year.