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Trying to Choose a College that's Right for You

written by: Barbara•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 4/6/2010

You've been to the Career Center and spent hours thumbing through thick books containing hundreds of colleges with huge price-tags. You've been trying, but you need more advice. Follow this advice when trying to choose a college.

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    Where to Begin

    After making it to senior year with a decent G.P.A. (Grade Point Average) and combined SAT scores in the 1250-1400 range, students can feel competitive in the college application process. Adding to the portfolio, solid recommendations letters, exceptional community service tutoring middle school students at risk and students can feel like they've reached the summit of Mount Everest.

    Trying to choose a college that's right for you can prove to be more daunting than the climb up the mountain. With hundreds of colleges in the selection process and thousands of students vying for each college spot, any student could feel a meltdown coming on in trying to navigate the college selection process. Read on and take notes on the steps that will get you in the competitive game of finding the one college that is right for you.

    Begin with having a solid portfolio described above and the rest is pure gravy. Here is some advice to use on your college journey.

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    Advice to Weigh when Choosing a College

    Before you begin looking for a college, think about what you want to do in your adult life in terms of career, future employment and following a life-long dream. Prepare a game plan and include the following reflections on the scorecard.

    • What's your major?: For some students, the major is the least of their worries because it is family prescribed (i.e. family lineage may determine the college choice and the college major for a small percentage of students). Whatever college accepts them may be a major determinant for a greater majority of student. Being in that group of students who can choose a college is a special gift indeed. If you know the major you want to choose, then you choose the college which offers it.

    • Where do you want to go?: Location, location, location. If you want to put 3,000 miles between you and your high school experience, select colleges that are 3,000 miles away. If you want to major in Aeronautical Engineering and build 777's, you might want to apply to colleges that are located in cities near Boeing or Airbus that provide internships to work and design planes or aspects related to planes. Also, do some research into the area you want to live and your future job prospects. If you get a degree in teaching, is the market for teachers saturated, that is can you get a job after graduation?

    • Use the Internet: Start your college search using the Internet to scaffold your search into smaller chunks of specified information. You can save airfare and gas by traveling the Internet to do the groundwork in narrowing down your college search.

    • Use the Library: The local library contains a wealth of resource guides, career guides and other books that can guide you through the college application process. One library visit and you can leave with at least your top twenty choices of colleges, then go back to the Internet and research the colleges on the top 20 list.

    • Make sure you apply: The application process requires a lot of paperwork that includes the high school portfolio and post-high school credits earned at a Community College. Remember if you don't apply, you aren't in the game. In order to be considered for college admission, you must complete all of the paperwork (i.e. application, supplemental paperwork, financial aid form etc.).

    • Make sure it's the right college for you: Congratulations, you've been accepted into five of your top ten colleges, now it's time to make that crucial decision in selecting a college that is your personal "best fit."

    The college process can be daunting, but if you follow the steps, you can make an informed and definitive decision in choosing a college that is just right for you.

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