Can You Not Decide Between Two Colleges?

(Photo courtesy of Emily Santos)

(Photo courtesy of Emily Santos)

Nicole Haynes, News & Opinion Editor

Now that applications are in and we have our acceptance letters, it is time to make the first major decision of our adult lives. Whether or not you got into your number one school, you still have to choose the right college for you. For some students, this is an extremely hard decision and need some guidance to make the right choice.

College is about bettering your future. If you know what you would like to study it is essential that you look into the program at the schools. This means looking at internships, connections, and overall what the program has to offer. Emily Seracino (12), who is going to James Madison University for Biology, says, “It’s really important to know which college is best for your major.” JMU has over 30 focuses in the Biology Department, allowing you to get a more in-depth education. The connections the college has can get you important internships, that can land you a job, and that’s the end goal for college.

The biggest epidemic of this generation is student debt. Most of us, if not all, are now technically adults and must make decisions that reflect this. College is one of the single most expensive items that you will ever pay for, so this will have an effect on your finances in the long term. Talking about money can be intimidating, but it’s an important conversation to have with yourself and parents. If you are going to take out loans, make sure you have a plan to pay them back. There are opportunities while in college to help with this including scholarships, becoming a Resident Advisor, and getting an on campus job.

If you’re stuck between two colleges, friends may have joked to just “flip a coin”. This is actually great advice because when you flip a coin, you naturally hope for an outcome and that’s how you know what you really want. I have used this technique for every major decision for years and it has never failed me. Some people may need to take out a coin and physically do this, but I have done it mentally each time; it’s about whether you can imagine it well enough. The only thing that doesn’t make it work 100% of the time, and that you need to keep in mind, is hoping for an outcome for the wrong reason. Sometimes you want the wrong the choice because that option is easier or better in the short term, but you have to stop yourself or at the very least, recognize why you hoped for what you did.  For example, maybe you have a girlfriend/boyfriend going to a college that you got into—should that sway your choice for such a life-changing decision?  Probably not.

Our Career Center Specialist, Mrs. Foster, says her best advice is that if you can’t decide on a college, visit again because you will be looking at it through different eyes. While you are visiting you should try to picture yourself on campus full-time, and see if there are any deal-breakers. You need to be as informed as possible when you make your decision, so get all and any questions answered. Whether you ask current students, alumni, or contact advisors at the school, they will want to help you. Schools will do about anything to please their prospective students, so don’t be afraid to ask your questions or get more information.

Once you make your decision, pay your deposit, complete housing, and sign up for orientation. Also reaching out to your future classmates in the Facebook groups is a great way to get to know some other people before you even start school.

No matter where you go, whether it is NOVA or Harvard, college is about what you make of it. As Emily Santos (12) says, “You don’t ‘not belong’ at a certain college. College is what you make it.” Everyone is given a blank slate and a choice to be whoever they want to be. It is a time of exploring and growing into who you are, and according to graduates, the best time of your life.