Things to Consider When Applying For Colleges

Here are things to consider when applying for colleges.


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Washington University in St. Louis is an elite school that is not too far from home, and offers a variety of financial benefit opportunities.

Brianna Legette, Reporter

Choosing the right college for you is a taxing and heavy decision, but there are things to consider when narrowing down the list that will make the decision a little bit easier. 

One thing is academics. Not only should you check out the overall academics of the specific college, but the specific programs and majors the college offers. Most schools offer hundreds of majors to suit different tastes and interests. Keep in mind that it is usually easy to switch majors if necessary. Try looking into a college’s specific major programs or pre-professional courses that pique interest. With this in mind, it becomes easier to weed out some of the extra colleges on your list. 

Another thing to consider is location and size. Is location an important factor in the decision making process? East or West Coast, or Midwest? Population size is also a factor to consider. Size and location matter. A smaller school would provide more personal relationships with students, faculty, and alumni,  and it is a much more close-knit culture. If a more traditional college experience with more friendship and extracurricular opportunities is of interest, a larger school may be the way to go. With a large school, students have almost an unlimited amount of other students to make friends with. 

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Every region, state and place has its own specific culture that is unique. Applicants should consider the weather, climate and geographical aspects of the area surrounding their college choices. California, which is mostly hot and dry, would offer a different experience to a more seasonal and rainy New York City. Prefer the mountains? Colorado schools can provide. Looking for beaches and tropical vibes? Consider Florida. It is important to consider location when determining where to spend the next four years.

Another thing to consider is cost. Cost is incredibly important. The most heartbreaking situation is falling in love with a school that is financially out of reach, or ending up at a more cost-effective choice that doesn’t spark passion or joy. It is necessary to find that happy medium. But keep in mind, financial aid offices at schools want to help, and there is a massive array of outside scholarships available to anyone. Also there is the beast of student loans from students not being able to pay for classes, books, tuition and countless other fees. A family should consider how much everything will cost. Everything. According to the US News & World Report, 67% of students who graduated in 2016 took out student loans of about $30,000, on average. See how finances fit into the college decision process. 

Maleah Downton ’20 received a full-ride scholarship to attend Washington University in St. Louis through the Questbridge 2019 National College Match Dec. 2. (Maleah Downton)

College application time has become a stressful, long process. On top of that, the pressure from teachers and parents to go to college is immeasurable. It shouldn’t be that way. Consider these main factors, academics, location and size and cost and the process may not be as stressful. If you know what you want, and what you can afford, then applying to colleges may not be so hard.