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Choosing The Right College For You This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Choosing the Right College for You

by A. S., Palmer, MA

When you are a junior in high school, you start thinking about colleges. You receive information in the mail and you begin sorting out the ones you like and don't like. If the college is nearby, you might even attend an open house. But you know that it doesn't matter what you think now because you still have another year to go.

Then your senior year comes around, and you're swamped with work and you have a desk full of college brochures. To help with your college search, here are a few suggestions that have helped me make my list a little shorter.

One thing to consider when choosing a college is the price and whether your family can receive financial aid. A college education is very expensive today and if you don't want to be paying for the next forty years, then you should definitely consider the price. I've looked at enough colleges this summer to know that usually the smaller the college, the more expensive it is. So if you know that you can't receive financial aid, you should probably stick to the bigger state schools , which are usually cheaper.

Another important thing to consider when picking a college is the size you want. If you'd like a college education to have plenty of individual attention, then you want a small school. Just recently I looked at a small school. (By small I mean four hundred students.) Through the seminar they talked about what a close "family" they were. If you think you need more attention, then a smaller school is for you. If you think you could survive being in a school with thousands of other students and being known by your social security number, then you can consider a big school.

There are many advantages to a big school. For one, you meet different types of people, which I would think might make it easier to adjust to "the real world." Another advantage is the large number of majors a big school can have compared to a smaller one. This is good because if you decide to change your major you have many choices rather than only a few. Another advantage to a large school can be the location. Chances are if you look at a large school, it will either be in a city or close to one, which makes it easier for job training and internships, which many schools require for graduation. Smaller schools are usually a distance from a city which make this harder.

Another thing to consider is how far you want to be from your friends and family. If you want to come home every weekend or commute, you obviously can't pick a college hours away. If you pick a college hours away, chances are you will only be able to come home on holidays, especially if the college doesn't allow underclassmen to have vehicles. So if you're the type of person who needs to have the security of home, it is probably better to be close to home.

There are a few things I personally consider important when choosing a college. I suggest you make a pro and con chart including things you consider important, and rate the schools. That way you can reduce your possibilities and by the time applications need to be in, your choices will be down to only a few. n






This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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