Guidelines For Making the Perfect College Choice

Everything I have learned while tackling the college process, my parents, and my peers

Opinion of Hannah Gellar

Freshman year orientation I remember Susi standing in front of us, smiling, telling us how fast these four years would go. Looking at the map of the school and barely focusing trying to figure out what the A and B wing was. I felt like college was centuries away. And now here we are, the last semester of high school trying to decide where the heck we all go from here.
All our lives we have been under the wings of our parents. Relying on them to guide us through the challenges that we encounter. We have spent our whole lives doing what we believe will make them happy, or even more so, what will make them proud. So what do I do now, when the ball is in my court? As May 1 quickly approaches, I have never been more frightened to make such a big life  choice.
For the past few months, I have struggled to decide where I want to be and what I want to be studying. The first obstacle that comes to my mind are my parents. If I go far away, mom will not be happy, yet if I study this, Dad will not be thrilled. The constant pros and cons always leave me to question my parents’ approval or happiness. It was not until I thoroughly sat down and looked at my options in front of me one by one and realized this is going to be MY home for the next four years. This will be MY next chapter in my life. I will study MY major here.
The constant pressure to please your parents is one that many students conform to, however when thinking about college, I have decided I will no longer make a decision based on others. Through constant conversation between friends, parents, and extended family, the topic of college makes me want to rip all my hair out. Not because college itself stresses me out, but the comments everybody has to say and their opinion on your top school can become disheartening.
We have all been there before, listening to people kill your vibe on a school you adore.
Oh I heard that school is a complete party school. Hmm, I have never heard of it. What schools have you applied to? I have applied to Yale, Harvard, and Northeastern.
The comments go on and on, but they do not need to dictate your choice.
As I have veered away from letting others determine my decision, I have created a list of deciding factors that have helped me narrow down my choices.
Location and Campus: The layout of the campus you choose is crucial in considering where you will be for the next four years. Try to consider temperature, school size, and boy to girl ratio. This is a time for you to decide if you want to venture off and go far from home, or stay nearby. Remember, let this decision be YOURS. This may be where you end up settling after. College is a time to become independent, let yourself really think about which college feels like a second home.
Opportunity: It is crucial to consider what a specific college has to offer you that maybe the others do not. If you are someone who wants to become a nurse, take into consideration the possible internships and hospitals nearby. I know it seems so far away, but college is a huge step into crafting who you are going to  become.
Student and Faculty Life: Each college has something different to offer, like clubs, organizations, fraternities sororities, and sporting events. Especially starting as a freshman, you want to establish a strong relationship with your financial aid counselors, and teachers. It is so important to feel comfortable with them because these people will help craft a path for your college experience. You are not going through these four years alone, so take into consideration the experienced people that will be there with you for the crazy ride.
The next time someone asks you where you are going, despite the popularity or reputation of the college, say it with pride. This is the next step in your life, not anyone else’s. The only person who has to love the college is you. Do not let anyone, no parent or friend, take that away from you.

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