Senior year starts. You have your beautiful photos taken. Football season is coming to a close, and soon holidays will start flying by into the second half of your senior year. You have applied to tons of colleges and are starting to receive acceptance letters. Then you have to choose. Where does your adventure take you next?

Applying to the Right Schools and Picking the Best One

Hopefully, you are not applying to schools you would not want to attend, but more importantly, we hope you are applying to schools that you would definitely love! It may be hard to narrow down exactly what you are looking for in your next home, so here are a few things we suggest that you keep in the front of your mind when visiting and applying to schools:

  1. Does the school offer majors in a few areas in which you can see yourself? Let us be honest, most students change their major. We all have. If you want to choose a school and stick with it for four years, make sure they have options that interest you as things you would like to do with your life. Having a good back up plan is worth having even if you do not use it.
  2. How close to or far from home is it? How big is it? More importantly, does it feel like home? No matter how close to home you are, if you live on campus, you are not at home anymore! Make sure that the school feels warm and inviting to you. If it gives you a bad feeling on a visit, you probably should not choose that school. Your initial instincts know you better than you think. Also, you want to be somewhere that makes you excited to be on campus. Do not leave home just to go back every weekend. Be somewhere that you love and enjoy!
  3. Financially, is it realistic? Think about the kinds of jobs you will get after college and their entry-level wages. Will you be able to afford taking on loans? Even if you can, do you even want them? Yes, there are many schools that you can attend, especially close to home, that will save you money short and long-term. Think about how much you want to spend on your education, and use that to help you weed out options that just do not fit your budget. Before choosing a school or starting your freshman year, read 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make by Rachel Cruze and Anthony ONeal. You will see the reality of spending money in college; it may be an important eye-opener!
  4. Does the school offer extracurricular activities or special programs that interest you? Envision yourself being involved in college! Being busy and active in your college community not only look good on a resume but also makes you feel like a part of something more personal. College can be overwhelming with all of the options for spending your time; make sure your school has positive activities for your involvement. Sports, intramural sports, clubs, committees, service projects, honors programs, jobs, etc. will help you feel like a greater part of your college experience!
  5. Did you visit the school? You will not want to choose a school you have never visited, so make sure that you are willing to put the time into a visit when you apply to schools. The best way to see yourself attending a university is to be there.

Now, set your goals and expectations. Out of everything listed above, what is the outcome you expect? Say you want a small school with lots of green space where students play intramural soccer on Sundays and take part in three clubs each; do not apply to more big city schools than small rural ones!

Next, rank these expectations from least important to most important. If financials are on the top of the importance list to you, consider eliminating your most expensive option first to narrow down your options. If getting into special programs such as honors is important to you, choose the schools for the top of your list that will accept you into those programs.

Take it slow. Think out the details about where you want to be during the next for years in depth. Where is your final destination?

Finally, choose the school where you see yourself being happy. Ultimately, that is the most important place to be. Apply to schools that make you happy that will carry you from your college adventure into your career endeavors.

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” -Oprah

Krystal Scheetz Photography specializes in Senior Photography in the Akron/Canton, Ohio area. For more information on our senior experience, please visit our Senior Experience page.

Written by Evelyn Aaron