College: What Should You Look For?

Melissa Miller, Staff Writer

The end of April is usually a stressful time for seniors all over the country. It is the time when they finally have to narrow down their number one choice for college. May 1 is National College Enrollment Deposit Day and is a difficult day for seniors who haven’t decided where they want to go yet. So how do you decide? When making a final decision, you must pay attention to the important factors that drew you to the school in the first place.

In my opinion, the most important factor is the price of tuition, room and board, etc. Just because a school is above your price range does not mean you should be discouraged. There are many ways of obtaining financial aid before you attend, and there are also work-study programs you can join while in school. Some seniors, like Rachel Bellafiore, used the Collegeboard website to help her decide. “I just took a college match quiz and Rowan University was the school that I was 99 percent compatible with, so that helped my decision a bit,” Bellafiore said. Not all seniors trust a website to tell them their perfect school however, so they have to dig a bit deeper.

Another important factor is location—how far or close a school is to where you live. When deciding on a school it is very important to visit those schools to see if you could actually imagine yourself there. Seeing pictures on the Internet and actually walking around the campus are two completely different things and will give you different opinions. Although some students decide to attend a school without visiting it first, it is not recommended. I’m sure there have been cases where students had their hearts set on a school but then once they actually got there it wasn’t at all what they thought it would be.

The last important aspect to look at before making that final decision is the academic program and career preparation services. While looking up the facts on your school you should find out how many students in your major were able to find work after graduating. It’s important to know you’ll have a job after schooling is over because the way our economy is right now it’s not guaranteed. Going to a school that doesn’t have a lot of successful graduates isn’t really appealing and therefore it is top priority to research a school until you know everything about it.

Choosing a college is probably one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make in your life. It influences your future and where you will go in life, which is why it should be taken seriously. You cannot just put colleges in a hat and choose one; you have to look at every single aspect and fact in order to make the right decision. And if you are torn between two schools and May 1 comes around, it is possible to send deposits to both schools, but most of the time that money is non-refundable.