How do you know what college or university is right for you?

Millions of high school seniors are trying to figure out where to go to college. What are some ways they can be sure to make the right decision? Please include links if applicable. Thanks!

35 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I've faced this dilemma and chances are: most of us have faced an issue that is similar to this. One of the most important factors that an incoming college freshman should never do is base their admissions on college rankings. Most of these rankings do not include majors and how does one truly measure how good a school is? There are always going to be students who are at the higher end of their studies and students who are not doing so well. Many of the college rankings are based on what colleges send the surveyor and if the college doesn't supply certain data, to remove this hierarchy between colleges, they are simply placed lower or even removed from the rankings list.

    Second, I strongly suggest going on a campus tour and really get to learn the environment and the people you will be sharing your academic life for 2-4 years. Even if a college is amazing in a certain studies, it doesn't mean anything if you are receiving bad grades for not adapting to your surroundings.

    Third, see if your actual major is offered at the college and if there are other courses than slightly differ from it. For example, if a student realizes he/she wants to do business and they are not enjoying business administration, then maybe they can switch to marketing.

    Lastly, is never pick a school based on where your bestfriends/"special someone" is going. It is alright to go to a school if the location is a concern, but chances are you will make more friends and better relationships on any campus you attend regardless of your previous friends.

    Most importantly, never rule out a school because it is too expensive. Schools WANT students to attend, they often offer such large scholarships that even make them cheaper than local colleges. Also never disregard community college. You can always transfer after getting a feel for your major and you can save A LOT of money this way! Even spend less years in college if you find out what you want to major in faster this way.

  • 1 decade ago

    Speaking out of experience, it depends on many things. Language, culture, type of people (on average), environment etc. The University I attended ( for four years) was mainly Afrikaans and I'm English which made studying (the main thing) tough. The degree I received was also in Afrikaans (which is a bit bad). The environment was tense due to quite an amount of racism. People were friendly but never had respect. The culture amongst students was lose and not very sophisticated (some students wore pj's to class including their slippers!) The guys and girls there never knew romance and a guy like myself could never score with a girl because I could not find a lady to suite my gentleman like lifestyle. When I tried kissing them on their hands, they would pull back! It was a very lose place and only some really achieved because the University never cared about what the students done but allowed many students their freedom and at the same time sucked money from their parents and allowed them to be exploited by the markets around their especially the accomodation & clothing markets. I finished at least and now I'm successful enough but still not there.

    Source(s): Experience
  • 1 decade ago

    Think about your major. Some schools have an amazing English department but a terrible physics department.

    Think about what part of the country you want to live in (sunny, rainy, hot, cold).

    Think about the size of college you want. Huge can be overwhelming, or liberating, like living in a small city.

    Talk to everybody about the best book to buy that has a summary of every college.

    Try to get into the most competitive college you can, but relax about it.

    Start the process long before you have to so the whole process is fun and relaxing.

    Choose several colleges to look at closely. But you DO NOT have to examine every college in the country. That would be crazy.

    And trust your own judgement. The criteria that matter to you, matter to you. If you are happy there, you will do well. If you're unhappy, that can be a distraction. So find the place that makes you happy, for whatever reason!

    Remember: Don't be discouraged by tuition. If you are very poor, the school will give you all kinds of financial aid.

    I knew someone who's parents disinherited him! And the very expensive school he applied to bent over backwards to help him be able to afford to go there, and he did, with no problem. :)

  • 1 decade ago

    The ONLY way is to know someone who recently went there. Marketing of colleges is HUGE, and they are worse than used car salesmen at hiding the flaws of their "products". Unless you know someone, like a family tradition of going to a certain university, the best you can do is read, read, read, and then do what just feels right. Sorry to say about such a large investment in your life, but guess what, same thing when you buy an expensive car (Vette's have things wrong with them too, they don't tell you about), marrying a woman/man (you never know until you're ACTUALLY married and living together how it will be), or buying a house (appraisers, real estate agents, owners, lenders, will all sell you their bill of goods). Best advise EVER.....NETWORK!!!!! Get to know people who are likely to to what you want to, but before you, so you can learn from their experience, and not what the moneyhounds want you to think.

    Best of Luck.

    PS I attended LSU-Shreveport and Northwestern State University in Louisiana, the nursing school, and they were both excellent. The main campus of NSU in Natchitoches, LA, sucked!!! The nursing school is in Shreveport and is not the same as down there.

    Source(s): Being alive 44 years and being messed over a lot; lived and learned. Listening to your "elders" is not always a bad thing!!!
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  • 1 decade ago

    You don't. You can't just walk onto a campus and "feel" this university is "right". The perfect university for a person, depends on their goals and future plans, their budgets, what the person is able to deal with, and the school's purpose. I've been to different variety of universities and schools, private, public, community, religion-based, in and out of state w/in a 6 yr period that they all were right. If a senior were looking for their own institution, then they would have to research the school: location, budget, school demographics, school purpose/statement, school requirements, majors/minors offered (in variety, if the senior is undecided), weather, and then take into account your own personality and characterists that could meld into the college of choice. Note: all work and no play will ruin you, but too much play will make you a loser/drop-out.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, this an excellent question, Mike. I say this because the right answer will be different for everyone who wants to go to a college or university. First, the person should have a good idea of what he or she wants to be when they grow into adulthood. If there is an idea, then the choice of study the school offers matters a great deal. Second, they must have the financial aspect figured out: loans, grants, work, special reduced tuition for the middle and lower economic class (Stanford). Third, where is the right school for your personality? Is it a party school or are you mature enough to want to learn enough to be prepared to accept a job offer that will start you toward becoming a Republican or will you develop a social conscious and excel in an area that will move you into the progressive Democratic domain?

    The first and second statements are rather mundane and object oriented but the third is really about your capacity to fit in even though you might not be rich enough or poor enough, above or below the accepted median SAT score, or whatever else you can think of.

    It boils done to knowing enough about yourself to understand that this is going to be the first day of the rest of your life so you need to think carefully because it will direct the course of your life from the day you graduate.

    Source(s): Been there and done that source.
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  • Sabine
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I am so lucky to have excellent colleges and universities nearby. However, I think that depends on each individual's career choice. There are three things a good college MUST have, and that is; diversity, an experience faculty, and a great variety of academic programs. At least for me:)

    Source(s): college student.
  • 1 decade ago

    It is all based on your personal preference, and your goals. I wanted to attend a Catholic college, so I focused on those when I was looking for colleges. I also wanted to attend a small private college. I ended up getting a great scholarship to a particular college which was more than the scholarships which were allocated to me from the other colleges that I applied to and were accepted at. I liked the feeling of the campus, and it had what I was looking for in a major.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That is an issue that most young people are confronted with. First you must ask yourselves a couple of questions before you even consider trying to approach the issue.

    1. Do you have an idea as to what profession or career field you want to pursue. If you have decided that the search becomes easier.

    2. What are your financial resources. If you can qualify for scholarship that helps. Funding an education can become a stress so it's important to choose a school that is within your means.

    If you have the answers to these two questions you are ready to start the search for the right school. Visit your school councilors and ask for suggestions. They have your records and can give you a good idea of what profession to pursue if you have not decided. Visit or contact the human resources department at businesses of organization in your area that are associated with the profession you have chosen to pursue and ask for their suggestions.

    Your interested enough to seek advise so I sure you will make the proper decision. Good luck!

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