There are literally thousands of colleges in the United States. Each one has its own pros and cons, but they all attract students and have value. If you’re currently looking to find the right one for you, then it’s important to avoid the top college search mistakes now.
Take note of these top college search mistakes to make your own process easier and select the right school for you.
Don’t Apply To Only One School
It’s ok to have a dream school, but don’t limit yourself.
There are literally thousands of colleges and universities in the United States alone. Each one has its own specialties and benefits to consider.
It’s ok to have a dream school but also consider creating a list of secondary choices you like. To help narrow down the selection, consider the following search factors:
- Majors of Interest
- Desired Geographic Area(s)
- Schools Matching Your Academic Profile
Your college search should reflect what you’re most interested in and not where you think you ‘should’ go alone. Cast a wide but qualified net and see what you like.
Don’t Choose Based On Major Alone
Don’t rule out a school based on a major you think you’re interested in.
If you’ve already settled on a college major early, that’s great. It’s tempting to rule out schools that don’t cater well to it. Don’t do that though. Why?
Because chances are good that you might change your mind about that major later on. Plenty of freshmen start off on one academic track and end up switching to something entirely different.
Changing your mind is fine, however, don’t hamstring that new opportunity by picking a school that overly favors one major. Use college to explore your options, and that includes majors too.
Don’t Rely Too Much On Outside Opinions
Ask for advice, but don’t ignore your instincts either.
Every year there are new “Top 10” college lists published. Beyond those lists, your friends and family will also chime in on what they think is a ‘good school’ or not.
While it’s fine to listen to those sources for school ideas, don’t consider them as gospel. Chances are good you may end up interested in schools that might not be hugely popular but host programs you’re interested in or are located somewhere you want to go.
You don’t have to simply stick to a popular school because of everyone else’s interest. Apply to schools that you have no hesitation about spending 2-4 years of your life in.
Don’t Let Price Dissuade You
Don’t let a high price tag intimidate you during your search.
Let’s get this point clear: college is expensive. Any education of value won’t be cheap. Now that we’ve established that point, don’t let a school’s price tag alone drive you away.
Every school offers a variety of financial aid options, and not everyone is a student loan. There are many local, state, and national institutions that sponsor various scholarships and grants.
More importantly, many large schools offer their own scholarships to lure students too. If you’re looking at a high-cost school, don’t get discouraged. Instead, work with your school counselor on looking at the costs, and then research your financial aid options.
Look for opportunities like:
- Pell Grants
- Organizational Scholarships
- School Scholarships
- Federal Loans
Remember that the more scholarship and grant money you can secure, the less likely you’ll deal with student debt after graduation.
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