Heading into your senior year? Ready to start looking at options for colleges?

Well, first things first: you’ve already made it this far, so give yourself a pat on the back! 

Graduating high school is already quite an accomplishment. Choosing which college to attend is no less significant, though. You’re about to embark on an incredible journey that could take you anywhere you want to go. 

How do you choose which school will help you get there faster? Here are a few tips to help walk you through the process. 

1. Tour Prospective Schools

There are some things you shouldn’t buy without touring your options: cars and houses, for example. Colleges are no different. 

You’re going to spend years on the campus of your choice, so it’s smart to get a look at and feel for the place before you make the leap. Which one offers the best programs to first-year students? Which one has the right ‘vibe’ for you, personally?

This rule applies even if you already know which school you’d like to attend most. Weigh any schools you’ve been accepted into, or to which you’re even thinking about applying. Take a walk around campus, book a tour, and get your bearings. Do this preferably while the semester is in session, so you can get a feel for the campus culture.

2. What Extracurricular Activities Do They Offer?

Like we said: if you’re going away for school, or even if you’re staying at home but are going to take a full course load, you’re going to spend a lot of your time on campus. It can’t be all school, all the time! You will want to meet people, mingle, and get involved in the pursuits you’re passionate about.

Find out what extracurricular programs your university offers. It could be clubs designed to teach you the skills you’ll need in your chosen profession, for instance. Sports are another option, as are gaming clubs and social clubs. Pretty much every kind of engaging activity has an outlet at the university level. 

3. Reach Out to Peers

You won’t find a better source of in-school information than the pool of current students. If you know people who attend the university you’re looking at or have selected, get in touch with them! 

They’ll have all the details typical tours and freshman matriculation programs may lack. They can tell you which professors you might like best, which campuses might have the clubs you might be interested in, which dorms might suit you best, etc. 

The other thing they can provide that many basic tours cannot is a personal experience. If you are unsure about anything from a student’s perspective, your peers may be able to provide you with the answers and assurances you need to make a decision. 

4. Discuss Your Degree With Your Advisor

Before you graduate high school and head off to the college of your dreams, don’t forget to sit down with your counselor to discuss your degree options and hammer out an academic plan. Your academic advisor can often help you map out your personalized journey from the first year to graduation, so you are fully apprised of the steps you need to take when you get there. 

Every student’s degree journey looks a little different. We all have various interests, hobbies, and things we are good at. Your academic advisor will factor these details into your decision and help you choose the right school and degree program that is right for you

5. Budget Wisely

Everyone knows that university is expensive, regardless of whether or not you have a scholarship. Whatever school you decide to attend will feature many costs aside from your tuition, including books, housing, food, and entertainment. 

To make the wisest decision possible, make sure the school of your choice has programs available to help you navigate these costs wisely and maybe even alleviate one or two. 

Aside from this, you and your parents should include the above into your educational budget for the next four years to make the best choice possible.