There are so many colleges out there that finding the right one can be a daunting task.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It is that time of year for seniors. Most of us are freaking out about what we are going to do with the rest of our lives. (I know I am.) There are so many factors to consider, not the least of which is choosing which college to attend.When it comes to making your college decision, here are some things to consider:Location, location, location. This is probably the number one thing on a college-bound senior's mind. Do I want to move far away or stay close to home?Most kids will choose a school about two or three hours away from Mommy and Daddy. This is just far enough to finally be adult but close enough that if you get homesick, you can still go home.However, some kids go completely outside the lines -- the state lines, that is. Some seniors move hundreds or even thousands of miles away.In my opinion, moving very far away is a good thing, even though the idea probably scares most of you. If you move far away, you absolutely cannot lean on your parents whenever you find yourself in a jam; you actually have to begin your adult life. Also, in moving to a different state, you see a whole new world and meet completely new people.If you end up going to Marshall or WVU like most local seniors do, then you are going to know most of the freshmen class and are going to cling to your old high school buddies. It's hard to grow up if you can't get past your high school days.So when picking your school's location, ask yourself this: am I ready to grow up just yet? Your answer will determine where you go.
The second thing to think about is "Does it have my area of study?" You could find the perfect school on the beach surrounded by everything you could ever want in a college town, but what if you want to be a history major and it has a very weak history program? Chances are you are going to have to let that school go.My advice when looking at schools is to look at their programs first before you fall in love with the campus.Speaking of campus, how big do you want the campus to be? If you are like me, which you probably are not, I want a tiny campus with no more than 2,000 kids. I want the campus surrounded by a small town where everyone knows everyone.However, more than half the kids at my school are looking at WVU because of the parties and the excitement. They want a huge campus with tons of people.Maybe you fall in the middle. You might be one of the kids who is OK with a medium-sized school like Concord or West Virginia Wesleyan.The last thing to think about and unfortunately one of the most important is tuition. You may have found the perfect school in terms of location, programs of study and campus size, but -- and this is a big but -- it might cost a small fortune to go there.The first school I fell in love with had tuition of more than $30,000 a year, so I definitely had to let that one go. Then I started looking at schools that were around $5,000. I now have my dream school.
There are so many things to consider when picking a college, so if you are a freshman, sophomore or junior reading this, I wholeheartedly suggest you start looking now. If you find that you need help filtering through schools, there are numerous websites designed specifically for that. My personal favorites are www.CSNAV.org