Picking the Next Four Years


For most seniors, it’s  time to pick a college. Before picking a school, take into account how these important factors may influence your decision and your future. 

With “ivy day” being Mar. 30 in 2023,  most colleges and universities’ decisions have been released. For some, the college decision may have been relatively easy, especially for those who applied Early Decision. For others, they have gotten their acceptances and now are debating on which school to pick. Here’s some factors to take into consideration when choosing which college or university to attend in the fall. 

The Program

Normally when applying to college , you have picked or at least have a major in mind to study while at college. Every school has different specialities and resources. One place may be more of an engineering school while another is more known for their journalism school. If you have a major that you are confident you will stick to, take that into consideration. Some choose to go to a school solely for the program they have that relates to their major/field. For example, student A might choose to go to Virginia Tech over VCU because student A wants to major in mechanical engineering and likes Virginia Tech’s engineering school. Oftentimes you can go online to see the rankings of programs for the schools you are considering. So be sure to take in account what their programs are. 

The Cost

College costs a lot and that is no secret. In order to help pay for college, things like FAFSA could to help cover some of the cost. When you get an acceptance, soon after you also get your financial package. In this, you will see how much money the school is wanting to give you in grants, scholarships, and loans. For each person, this amount of money will depend on your FAFSA and for some schools, the CSS. If you wish to graduate college with the least amount of debt, then you may want to choose the school that gives the most money. But for others, the money aspect is not much of a concern for them so they might go for a more expensive school. For example, student B chooses to go to Brown over Dartmouth because Brown is giving them more money. Regardless of where you decide to go, it is always a great idea to apply for scholarships as they can help cover the costs of school. Scholarships often can be found on the application and student portals of schools and independent scholarships can also be found on sites like Naviance. Thinking about money is a great thing to keep in mind. 

The Location

Oftentimes, people associate college with “moving away” from home. “Moving away” can mean different things for each person. College gives many people the opportunity to be able to move a little or a lot away from home. For some, location is a major factor in their decision. If you wish to get as far away from home, then a farther away school may be the better option for you. But for others, staying close to home is important. Staying close to home may mean commuting to school or a school where the travel isn’t much. On a similar note, location can also change how much you are paying for tuition and housing. If you go to an out of state school, in most cases you will pay out-of-state tuition. So if you want to keep the cost of attending lower, then in state may be a better option for you. Also, think about housing outside your freshman year. Some schools may be located in a hot city which usually results in rent being higher. For example, student C really wants to go somewhere far from home. One school is  two hours away and the other is 12 hours away, so student C might choose the second school because of the distance from home. On another note, location isn’t just about distance from home, location is also about what the area around the college is. If you want a more city vibe, then a school in the city might be best for you, but if you want a quieter place, maybe a suburban college. So before picking a school, be sure to think about how the location will affect things. 

These are just some of the main factors to take into consideration when choosing what college to attend. There is no “right” reason to pick a decision. If you want to go to a school just because of the location, then there is nothing wrong with that. Same goes for the other options. For most people, they will find a school that has a good mixture of those factors and is the right blend for them. Even if you don’t end up picking the right school, no worries at all because transferring is always an option. At the end of the day, the only person who can pick the right school for you is yourself. So regardless of where you choose to go, look onward to the future with a positive outlook because now you are now moving onto the next chapter of your life