Making the transition from high school to college is a major milestone for many, and one that requires careful consideration if you are looking for something specific from your college education and experience. However, coming up with a list of colleges that you want to go to can be extremely difficult, especially if you live in a populous state like New York where the opportunities are endless. If you’ve found yourself stuck in a cycle of not knowing where to go, here are three considerations for making your college list that will simplify the process.
Finding Your College
1. What Are You Interested in Studying (and Where Can You Go)?
When it comes to creating your ideal college list, eligibility and your desired degree program should be at the top of your list of considerations. Take a look at nearby colleges to determine where you can get in based on your high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and extracurricular activities. Then, break down those available schools into a list of universities that offer the degree program you are looking for and those that you may consider if you do not happen to get into your number one choice. While you may find a number of large institutions popping up during your school search (like CUNY, SUNY, or other major New York state colleges), you should also consider local alternatives like Excelsior College, which is a not-for-profit institution located in Albany that is focused on providing equal education opportunity to adult learners. No matter what your choices are, this is the first question to ask yourself.
2. What Can You Afford?
The next biggest factor to look at when you are seeking out colleges is your financial situation. No matter where you plan on going, college is going to cost money. Unless you have a large savings account or plenty of income to cover tuition fees and your bills, you will need to consider how much money you will receive from FAFSA and what you will be able to cover from there, especially if you are looking at major schools like SUNY. However, you should also remember that you may receive grants based on your academic performance in high school. You can apply to various scholarships as well (or look for in-school scholarships, such as the Excelsior Scholarship at Excelsior College). Carefully assess your personal financial situation and make your choices based on how much you will have to borrow and what you can earn towards your education.
3. Is There Anything That You Must Absolutely Have in College?
Beyond finances and majors, there may simply be qualities about certain schools that provide you with additional incentive to go there. Whether that is on-campus amenities, religious groups or well-known educational organizations, or even a location that is close to your house and places that you need access to, there are plenty of reasons why you may decide to put a school on your list. You should also consider advantages that may not be associated with the physical aspects of the college. For example, colleges such as Excelsior college may provide you with certain educational or occupational advantages that you may not receive elsewhere. Take all of these factors into consideration when you begin crafting your list!
The process of creating a list of potential colleges that you may want to go to may sound difficult, but there are more than enough areas to consider that will help you figure out the best picks for you. Use the three main areas above to start a list of your own and find the college of your dreams!