What NOT to Look for in a College

September 5, 2018
Posted in Student Tips
September 5, 2018 ACS

Most of the time, college freshmen report feeling happy and satisfied with their choice of college. They’ve done their research, they visited campuses during their senior year of high school, and now that they’ve finally arrived they enjoy their newfound freedom and a fun learning environment.

But occasionally, it goes the other way. Sometimes a college freshman reports feeling less than thrilled with their college choice once settling into their new school. In most cases, this happens because the student gave too much priority to the wrong factors when choosing their school, such as…

Basing the decision on someone else. Your dad really wants you to attend his alma mater, your mom wants you to stay close to home, or your best friend has already been accepted to a particular school. So, you base your decision on what makes those people happy. Worse, you choose a college based on where your boyfriend or girlfriend is going… only to break up midway through freshman year, leaving you stuck at a school that isn’t really a good fit for you. The people in your life are important, but because they love you, they will understand when you make a college choice based on what truly matters to you. Trust us on this one.

Rebelling against expectations. There’s a flip side to the above scenario. While you certainly shouldn’t choose a college based on the wishes of others, don’t choose one just to spite someone either! Make sure your reasons for choosing a school go beyond escaping or making a statement.

You’re the school’s biggest fan. School spirit is certainly important, and you will definitely enjoy sporting events when you’re a fan of the team. But college life is about much more than sports, so take the time to make sure the school’s academic programs, student life, and campus feel like a good fit for you otherwise.

You want to party. Here’s a secret: You will find parties at pretty much all universities. So, have no worries about enjoying an active social life anywhere you might go. Make sure you don’t choose a school solely because of its reputation as a “party school”, or else you could find the environment lacking in other ways.

Relying on prestige. It feels good to gain acceptance into a prestigious institution, and your future degree might seem a bit more impressive. But make sure you proceed through the usual steps to choosing the school; visit the campus, sit in on some classes, and stay overnight in a dorm. If the school doesn’t feel like a good fit for you, there’s no need to torture yourself for four years just to gain an “impressive” degree. You can always apply to other prestigious schools that feel more like home.


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