Making the choice to go to college is a very grown-up decision but oftentimes people forget that high school students are…high school students. The idea of being independent from their parents, the possibility of moving away from home and taking charge of their lives are all things that get high schoolers very excited–and rightly so.
High school juniors and seniors struggling to keep their focus on track will want to make sure the following factors are the frontrunners when it comes to why they should choose certain campuses over others (the best party scenes, campuses with the cutest guys/girls, where friends are choosing to go are all factors best left off the list).
Does the School Offer Activities You Enjoy?
Students in high school have to realize that with college, it is a total package type of deal. The best experiences during the college years are a result of choosing a campus that has everything (or almost everything) that appeals to a student. Even if a school has the best degree program, if the campus life doesn’t offer anything of interest outside of the classroom, things will quickly get boring.
Aside from the academics, find out what a campus has to offer socially. This doesn’t mean the party scene, either. What clubs and student organizations is the school known for? Are they things you would enjoy participating in? Is the campus mainly oriented around sports and athletics or is it more on the artsy or tech end of the spectrum?
Who Are the Professors & Are They Active in The Field?
Nothing is more enjoyable than being in class with a professor that not only teaches but still works in their industry. This brings fresh and timely insight to the classroom for students to benefit from.
There will be a sprinkling of professors who are retired and/or no longer work in the industry because of their teaching schedule but for the most part, high school students should look for schools with degree programs that employ professors who are engaging and dedicated to sharing their passion and insight.
What is the Environment Like?
In the excitement of being a high school student thinking about the future, it’s common to pick a dream college based on the name and reputation alone, while forgetting about other important things, like the where the campus is located. Knowing about just the school itself isn’t enough to make a well informed decision as to whether to apply or not.
Find out what part of the country the campus is. What’s the weather like year-round? Is it in a busy city setting or more rural? A school shouldn’t necessarily be rejected based on this factor alone but it shouldn’t be left out of the decision making process, either.
What is Housing Like After I Leave the Dorms?
Dorm living doesn’t last forever. Colleges offer a variety of housing arrangements for students that are no longer eligible to stay in the dorms. Failing to learn about which options are available before applying could lead to an unpleasant surprise once students get past their freshman year.