As you are building your college list, you will realize there are many things to consider when selecting colleges. Majors, activities, and personality of a college should all be things you consider when you are thinking about colleges. You want to make sure the colleges on your list are good fits academically, socially, and financially. However, many students choose colleges for the wrong reasons. While some of these reasons are good to consider, they should not be the sole reason to choose a college. Below are 11 reasons not to choose a college.
The top colleges in the country provide excellent academic opportunities. However, colleges with lesser known names also offer wonderful and unique opportunities. Less well-known colleges can also have great outcomes for their alumni. Just because a college has an outstanding reputation does not mean it is the best fit for you.
2. Following Others
It can be scary to go off to a college where you know no one. It can also be easy to follow a friend or a significant other. However, college is a great place to start over and meet new people. The beginning of the school year always has a lot of opportunities to get students out of their dorm rooms and events to meet new people. Plus, a college that is a good fit for a friend may not be the best fit for you.
Sometimes staying close to home is important for a student. However, choosing a college that is close to the beach or a city you live is not a great reason to choose a college.
4. Going Away to Get Away
Teenagers are known for wanting to move out of their home after high school graduation. Many students think they have to go far away to get the full college experience. However, if there is a college close by that meets all of your requirements, you can still get the full college experience. Living on campus is an option for all students at most colleges, even if you live a blow away from campus.
5. Sticker Price
Sticker price is the published price to attend a college. However, many students do not pay the sticker price because of financial aid, Therefore, before putting a college on your list or not putting a college on your list because of the sticker price, do a little more research into the financial aid possibilities. You may be surprised to find that some of the more expensive colleges could actually be within financial reach after financial aid.
6. Low Out-of-Pocket Cost
The college where you will pay the least out-of-pocket can be very attractive. However, if the campus community is not a good fit for you, you might want to consider attending a college that is a better fit even if it costs a little more. This is why it is so important to research cost and financial aid options to ensure the colleges that go on your list are good fits for you academically, socially, and financially.
If you’ve lived in a cold climate for your whole life, it could be easy to put warm areas on your list because you’re sick of the snow. Or, you might want to put an area that snows if you’ve never had snow where you lived. However, the weather should not be the determining factor when choosing a college.
8. Great Football Team
A powerhouse football team can bring a lot of excitement to your college experience. It’s fun to attend college football games (or other sports), but it is not a reason to choose a college. If the college meets the other criteria, the sports are just an added bonus. But, if the only thing it has going for you is their winning tradition, move on and find another college that is a better fit.
9. Letting Family Decide
Some parents who went to college may want their child to go the college they attended. The college might even offer an extra scholarship if they attend the same college their parent(s) attended. However, the college may not be a good fit for you. In addition, the college may be a different place than it was when your parents attended.
10. Not Taking a Chance
Some students do not have confidence they will get admitted to a college and won’t take a chance. They think they can only get into a college that is considered a “safety” school and won’t apply to other colleges. While a safety school can be great, take a chance on a few colleges that might be a little harder to be admitted. Choose a few “match” and “reach” schools a well.
11. Being Too Confident
One of the top students at my high school had a perfect GPA and near perfect test scores. He took every AP test possible and received fours and fives on the tests. He participated in some activities and even had a few leadership positions. He was so confident in himself that he only applied to one school! And, unfortunately, that one school did not send an acceptance letter. The one college he applied to is considered a “reach” school for everyone because of their very low acceptance rate. Make sure you apply to multiple colleges and they are a good mix of “safety,” “match,” and “reach” schools.
There are many things you should consider when choosing colleges for your college list. However, many items should not be the sole reason for choosing a college. Instead, they should only compliment colleges that already meet the other big requirements you have for a college, such as majors, activities, and college personality.