• Zoe Nellum

How to Choose a College

Updated: Feb 19

Anyone who declares that picking a college is "not that hard" or doesn't produce as much stress as people say either has it really easy or they don't want to admit they're in the same place.


When you're picking your next step out of high school, you are planning the foundation of your career, your connections, and the very person you will become. I wouldn't advise anyone to pull a random name from a hat (unless they're your top choices and you have excellent intuition).


So what is a good way of choosing a school? While there is no exact structure or order, there are factors that affect everyone's experience. We'll give you a head start:


1. Identity

If you already have a clear understanding of what you want and who you are, it's time to find a school that reflects that. You can start by looking at their mission statement or About page (too many of us overlook it).


Find out if the school has religious affiliation that may intertwine with the curriculum, or if they are well-known for a specific major.


Maybe you want to go to a HBCU or single-sex, and it all comes down to what you want.


2.Comfort

College may be about the education, but there's no point if the atmosphere doesn't meet your expectations. No campus should make you uneasy, cramped, or isolated.


You should consider the kind of size you want not only overall but for your classes as well. Some schools have classes as small as 1,000 and some as big as 30,000.


If it's a 4-year commitment, be sure of how far you want to be from home. It can make you feel more independent to have some distance, but you should also consider transporting back home during the holidays.


You should also research annual weather, relative distance from towns, and the offers on housing.


3. Cost/Scholarships

It's on everyone's mind no matter what; do I have enough money to go here? As every situation is special, the most efficient way to handle finance is to complete FAFSA profiles and use all possible resources.


That means checking websites and scholarship requirements, going to your school counselors, and even coming into CME so that we can assist you with some opportunities! Some academic programs have financial aid locked in after completion of high school, so be on the look out for that, too.


The cost is important but that should NEVER stop you from pursuing your dreams.


4. Clubs/Programs

You're going to want some kind of sport or committee to retreat to after writing your ten page thesis, so knowing what your school offers is key to a balanced experience.


Be on the look out for things like ambassador, debate team, improv/theatre, culture clubs, or perhaps volunteer work- the point is, you don't want to be cooped up in your dorm all day. Going out to meet different people is essential to growth and can be quite fun!


And if it's not clubs and socialization you're looking for, then start to find some solitude hobbies and recreational activities. That could be writing, drawing, dance, fishing, maybe some relaxing meditation.



If you're still concerned with such things (and it's completely normal if you are), CME makes annual trips across colleges in the country to help our mentees potentially find a match. Even if you aren't considering a school, the exposure can still help you determine what you're looking for. I


f you're interested, please contact our office through email or give us a call, we'd love to help!


Let it be and it will come,

Zoe Nellum



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