College Counseling: Choosing the Right School

By Elizabeth Sirianni

This is the second installment in a series of pieces meant to guide students through the college application process. Follow along for tips, insight, and exclusive interviews with experts.

When it comes to college you may know what you want to major in, but how do you choose which one to go to? There’s a lot of different factors that go into this decision, so whatever elements are most important to you should serve as the guides for selecting a school.

Firstly, it is critical that you have an idea of what you want to major in. For example, if you are interested in majoring in journalism, search “Best colleges for journalism PA”. This is a great starting point because not only does it narrow down your options, but it also shows you what schools are best curated towards reaching your career goals. If you only have a general sense of what subject you would like to major in, consider taking a career assessment test, as doing so may help you get a more specific career path in mind. You could also consider going undeclared until sophomore year of college, meaning that you just take your required classes during freshman year and then pick a major next year. This will give you time to weigh your options, and you may even find a new passion for a subject that is taught in your required classes.

On the other hand, location plays a big part in finding the school best suited for you. You could find somewhere close to where you are now or go to a whole new state if you have the funds to do so. Consider how close or far away you want to be from your friends, family, and neighborhood – if you plan to visit home often or to regularly hang out with friends, I would suggest finding a school that is, at the farthest, about two hours away from where you are now. Also, certain states are better suited to certain majors, such as how Columbia is known for having the best journalism schools and California for Geological Science. Obviously, if your focus is on something like swimming or snowboarding, it would be smart to go to a hot or cold location respectively.

Lastly, think about not only the physical size of your school, but also how many students are there. Introverts like myself should stick to smaller schools that aren’t known for big parties. However, for the more outgoing personalities, go somewhere where there’s lots of socialization going on – just make sure to focus on your academics. For the hardcore extroverts, maybe look into schools that offer dorms if having a roommate sounds like a good time to you. Look up reviews for certain colleges you are interested in and see what people have to say. Lots of the reviews mention what the school’s personality as a whole is like and what kind of students would be best suited there, so read those if you want unbiased recommendations.

In conclusion, there is a lot to consider when picking a school. At the end of the day just make sure that wherever you go makes you happy and gives you a good head start to your career path. The sky’s the limit as long as you can handle years of paying off student debt.