College is a big choice. At the young age of 18 we’re forced to choose a school that will shape us into a civilized and educated person. A place we have to spend about four years of our lives, and it’s not cheap. So out of the thousands of universities in the country, how are we expected to find the one for us?
I mean what if my perfect school were in some state I had never been to and none of my friends or family had ever heard of? Well, no worries there because there is no such thing as the one perfect college for you. Everyone has multiple “perfect” colleges for them. I promise. So don’t get too hung up about finding the school that checks off every box on your “must have” list. It’s just not going to happen and it’ll only stress you out.
Instead of trying to find the holy grail best college on the planet for you just focus on finding a school that feels right to you. That’s it. It just has to feel like home or like you belong there. If not, you’re going to be walking around campus wishing you were somewhere else, and there’s not much that is more draining than that.
This is why so many guides and people recommend you to always tour colleges before applying or making your final decision.
Pictures, videos, and stats are nothing compared to the atmosphere of the campus.
When I was little I had always been dead-set on attending the University of Kentucky. I have no idea why, but I was so into it that I had sweatshirts from there and even a UK watch. But then I toured the campus my junior year of high school and I just felt so out of place and my gut was telling me this wasn’t the place for me. (Little tip of advice: your gut instinct is always right.)
After I had given up on UK, I only had two colleges left on my radar.
At the top of that list of The Ohio State University. Again, my reasons for going here really weren’t all that tangible except for the fact my dad is obsessed with their football team, a lot of people know the college, their gym is ha-uge, and they have so many cool shops and food places right next to campus.
Those are not good reasons to go to a college by the way.
Eventually, I knocked out OSU as a choice for me when I realized that I had gotten too caught up in what other people were going to think about the college I chose and what the campus and surrounding city looked like that I had forgotten to listen to my gut.
My number one advice when choosing a college is to forget about how the campus looks, and just focus on how it makes you feel.
I’m glad I figured this out, otherwise I never would have ended up where I go to school now. The first time I stepped foot on Northern Kentucky University something just felt right. The campus may be a concrete jungle, and there may always be annoying construction going on, but I truly believe NKU is the place for me. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect enough and that’s all the matters.
I’m proud to walk across campus, tell people where I go and even try to convince what little amount of people I know to consider going here as well.
Now I understand that visiting every college on your list is not always possible, but there are still ways to figure out how the atmosphere of the campus feels. If you can’t tour the school, you can always talk to people you know have had the chance to visit or use online forums/reviews from trusted websites like cappex.com. I learned about this website through my eleventh grade English teacher and have been using it ever since. It was one of the biggest tools I used in my college search, and as a bonus, it even has a scholarship database!
In review: try to visit the colleges you’re considering and focus on what your gut is telling you. Don’t let all the shiny new buildings or beautiful foliage or famous sports teams or the closest city distract you from what your gut is trying to get through to you. Always ask yourself how the campus makes you feel.
So how did you choose your college? Is there anything you wish you had or hadn’t accounted for in your search? Did you tour your school before you enrolled?