Your mom and dad may dislike me for this one, but they will get over it, I hope. Your parents want the best for you. I know that, and so do you. But, they don’t always know what’s right. You know yourself better than anyone, and you know what will work for you. Your parents may want you to go to an ivy league, and maybe you have the grades and extra-curricular activities to go there but if that’s not what you want, don’t do it. You are only going to be successful at the university/college that you want to go to. The truth of the matter is if you pick your school, and then you hate it, you are going to do everything not to let anyone know that you feel that you made the wrong decision. You are more likely to work hard to succeed at the wrong university you picked than at the right one chosen by your parents.
So let’s get to picking, shall we? The first thing you need to do is to make a list of all the things that are important to you. Maybe you want to go to a school where sorority life is valued. Perhaps you want to go to a school that puts on concerts or has dance programs. Maybe you like painting, so you want to go to a school where art is highlighted. Make a list of all the things your school must-have, the things you could do without and the things it does not need to have.
You also need to consider the places you would want to go to school. Take in consideration the weather. If you like the winter, you may want to go to a school that’s in a state that has white winters. If you don’t like the cold, you can look at schools that are in warm countries. Do you want to be close to the beaches? Do you mind the humidity? How hot is too hot? These are all things to consider.
You can also look at the demographics of the school. Maybe you want to go to a school that is mixed or a school where your race is the majority. You may want to go to a Christian school or a school where all religions are appreciated. Maybe you want to go to a school that is liberal or a very conservative school.
Some schools are 99% education and 1% fun, schools that are the opposite and schools that are pretty much 50/50. You can determine what you want your college life to be like and then view the schools that provide that. People at individual schools are more friendly than at others, so if forming friendships are essential to you, you would want to go to a school that encourages bonding.
After you make a map (list) of what you would want your college experience to be, research schools in the areas you have selected. School websites tell you a lot! You can tell a boring school from a fun school by the way their website is designed. You can even google the school names to see what people are saying about them.
I always chose the place I wanted to go to before I decided my school. Once I knew the city, it was easy to find schools there that met my requirements. I understand that it may not be that easy for you and maybe you are more interested in what the schools have to offer rather than where they are located. Once you have your first messy list, make a second list and order the things from what is most important. A google search for the best university to play the guitar at, for example, could be the perfect place to start for you, whereas, the best universities in Los Angeles may work for me.
Where to go once you have your list
You may have already heard of Kaplan, but one thing you may not know is that people can rate their colleges on Kaplan. You can go to http://www.campus4d.com/ and click on view rankings. Look for the schools that you are interested in and see how well they match your list! You can also see the top-ranked big schools and the top-ranked small schools.
You may even want to start from this website first and work from that. The most important thing to do is to calm down. The fact that you are researching this means that you are on the right path and hope you don’t have to make a decision today. Don’t stress yourself out, and you are going to make the best decision for you in the end. If your parents are pressuring you to go to a particular school, let them know that it’s not what will be best for you. They love you and want what’s best for you so they should be able to understand that. Don’t ignore the topic with them and stress yourself out more. Let them know that you are going to make the right decision for yourself, and then you will let them know what you chose.
Good luck with all your educational endeavours. College can be fun, and you will meet some great people there that will be with you for a lifetime. I met one of my best friends on my first day of college and can’t imagine life without her now. So it’s going to be a great experience once you get through the process of picking the right school for you.