How to Choose the Right College for You

Tung from Vietnam
This is my first time studying abroad in the USA. Before I got here I had planned to further my studies in America after I finished my senior year of high school. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be attending University of Nebraska - Lincoln next year! 

I know a lot of you guys had the same goals in mind when you decided to participate in this program. However many of you have little or no idea how this is going to work. I had the same problem when I had to find out everything by myself. It was tough, trust me. Today I’m going to share with you my experience on how to choose a perfect college for you.

To find that ONE school that fits your unique qualities - your abilities, interests, lifestyles and financial needs - among more than 4000 universities and colleges in the US is definitely not a job that you can finish over night. My advice? Start looking for information about these schools as soon as possible. The question is: Where should you begin between thousands of strange school names that you’ve never heard of before? Personally, I would refer to the prestige ranking systems like US News, Princeton Review, Collegeboard or some of the forums like CollegeConfidential or Niche (College Prowler).

After familiarize yourself with these systems, you should start making your own list of schools that fits you the most. Personally, I based my list on the following criteria:
1. Different aspects of the school: Do you want a school that is well-known for its academic aspect, or do you want it to be place that you can make friends and socialize? Or maybe a party school? Why not? Remember to consider it very carefully. Don’t be fooled by its ranking.

2. Education and facilities: After all, you all go to college to study. If you’ve decided your major, choose a school that has the academic program that meets your requirements. If you haven’t decided yet, choose one that gives you the opportunity to try out as many as possible. Moreover, find out about the facilities, professor’s qualities, research laboratories, intern and job opportunities for students, alumni network, school’s reputation, etc. 

3. Location: Are you sure you can get used to the remoteness and the quietness of the campus after spending 18 years of your life living in a big city? It’s undeniable that most of the schools have all the services that students need but it’s certainly better to go out at night and have fun on the weekend. If you are the kind of person who thinks online shopping is all you need, like I do, then congratulations! You’ll have a lot more schools on your list to choose from. You can study almost anywhere you want from cities, suburbs to countrysides. If you are the kind of person that go out every night, don’t choose a school that’s surrounded by farms and then spend the next 4 years being jealous of your friends who get to shop at Macy’s every weekend.

Finally, the most effective way is to ask a college student about his/her experience, especially people from your dream schools. However, remember you are the one who make the final decision, not somebody else, so choose wisely. Good luck and have fun in college!

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