Preparing for and getting into college is a lot of work! Teens have to write admission essays, personal statements, gather recommendations, take long standardized tests and so much more. Once seniors start getting into colleges, they then have to make the hard decision of where they will attend higher education.
It can be so easy to simply focus on the process of getting into colleges and forget about actually deciding where they will attend. Amid along of the excitement, teens can experience a lot of pressure and stress when picking where they will go.
Here are some factors to consider while picking where you or your teen will go to college:
- Only consider where you’d actually attend. Many students get caught up in the process of applying to more schools than they’d actually want to go. This just adds stress and complications to the decision process. Make it easier on yourself and your family by just applying to places you would actually attend.
- What college feels like home. The best way to figure out where you want to attend is by visiting first hand. Many colleges have programs that allow prospective students to spend the night with current students in dorms. Spending time at colleges helps you find where feels like home the most. It is a great way to get a feel of what a school will be like for you socially and academically.
- Academics. Most college students change their major at least once. It is important to find a college that has a wide variety of academic options just in case you change your mind, too. This is especially important if you are undecided about your major.
- Listen to your own voice. College is a very individual decision. What college feels right for you may or may not match what your friends want to do. Make a decision based on what you think and try to tune out your friends’ opinions.
- Finances. College has become very expensive, even for in-state schools. While finances shouldn’t stop you from going to your dream school, it is important to talk through what the long-term effects of paying for the school will look like. Have an open and honest discussion with your parents about how your college tuition will be paid for. Talking about finances can be difficult, so find a time to talk with your parents when everyone can be calm and under low stress.
- Breathe. You can make the most out of your college experience no matter where you attend. Deciding on a college is a big decision but certainly not the be all, end all. It may sound cliché, but it’s very true. Take deep breaths. Often. Try to enjoy the process as much as you can!
Laura Lebovitz, LAMFT
llebovitz @ growcounseling.com
Photo Cred: Sean MacEntee