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5 Things That Don’t Matter When Choosing a College


This article was originally written for Fresh U by San. It has been given minor edits before re-posting.

It’s that time of year again! High school seniors all over the world will soon be making what some may call the decision of a lifetime – choosing a college to attend. Advice will be flying at you from all directions, and you’ll no doubt be bombarded with all of the factors you need to consider when deciding on a college. If you’ve had enough of the million-and-one things that matter when making your choice, here are a few things that aren’t as important.

  1. Rankings.

If you’ve done any amount of college research, you’ll know that rankings are the one of the most commonly used tools to entice prospective students. The list is endless, and, most of the time, incredibly arbitrary. The rank each college receives will vary depending on who’s behind the ranking, and in the end, the numbers just end up confusing everyone. To get a true sense of what it’s like to go to a school, join an online discussion forum, or speak personally to a current student.

  1. Which college your friends are going to.

If you and three of your best friends happened to get into the same college, first of all, congratulations! Second, be sure to take a step back from all the excitement and evaluate your choices based on what’s right for you. I’m not telling you to ditch a college choice because your friends are going, but just make sure your friends’ choice doesn’t sway your own. The school your friends want to go to isn’t necessarily the best option for you. And if you do end up on opposite sides of the country, I promise it’s easy to keep in touch!

  1. The college your parents went to.

Legacy is overrated. Yes, it’s great to continue a family tradition, and yes, your parents may have planned for this moment for the past eighteen years, but if you don’t think you’ll be happy at a certain school, don’t feel pressured to go there. Four years is a long time to spend at a school you don’t like.

  1. What other people think of your choice.

I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but the college you choose to go to should be the best place for you, and you only. It doesn’t matter if your second-cousin-once-removed hasn’t heard of your school, or if your best friend thinks the campus is ugly, if you’ve done your research and are (close to) certain that you’ll be happy at X college or university, the opinions of others shouldn’t be a contributing factor in your final decision.

  1. Your impressions of the incoming freshman class.

Those introduction posts in Facebook groups are a great way to start conversations and begin getting to know the people you’ll be going to school with, but they aren’t always an accurate representation of the incoming class. So if you don’t feel like you have anything in common with anyone, don’t worry! You’ll be sure to click with someone once you’re actually at school. Don’t discount a college choice simply because of how daunting making friends seems. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll call the kid posting about their Anime obsession your best friend.

Choosing on a college to attend is a scary, yet exhilarating choice, with each option opening up a new world of possibilities. Keep this list of things in mind (or rather, out of mind), and ensure that the decision is truly your own. To the incoming freshman class, I wish you the best of luck!

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