The Worst Reasons for Selecting a College

If you ask your parents, there is one reason and one reason alone why you are attending college: to get an education (that will allow you to one day support yourself so you don’t end up living in their basement until you’re 35). But you probably have some other ideas.

You want to make friends, attend parties, join clubs, learn your way around a new city, and explore your interests in order to try to decide what makes you happy so that you can potentially choose a major. Oh, and you’ll no doubt learn something along the way. But when it comes to selecting a college to attend, you need to think about more than just the party rep.

You probably know plenty of good reasons to select a school, but you might not know what you should avoid. Here are some bad reasons to choose a college.

  1. Reputation. This might sound like a good reason for selecting a particular school, but no matter how good it is, it won’t get you where you want to go if it doesn’t offer the program or the courses you want to take. So although the college rankings may put one school or another at the top of the heap, you’ll need to dig a little deeper to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth out of the deal.

  2. Cost. You should never base your decision about which college to attend on the price tag. You might think that a degree is worthless if it comes from a school that doesn’t cost a lot, or you may assume that there are some colleges you simply can’t afford. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from applying to every school you’re interested in. You may find that scholarships, grants, financial aid, student loans, work study, or all of the above can help you to get into the school of your dreams (as can a couple of years of stellar grades from a low cost, local community college).

  3. It’s your parents’ alma mater. Although your parents likely want you to enjoy the same wonderful college experience that they had, you need to do it in your own way. If they insist, go ahead and apply for the school they prefer, but don’t make a decision on the school you will attend until you have checked them all out. It may turn out that your parents’ choice turns out to be the best one for you, but then again it may not.

  4. Your friends are going there. This could be the absolute worst reason to pick a school, especially if it is your boyfriend/girlfriend you want to attend with. Nobody wants to think that a rift will occur, but if it does, you’d better have a few other good reasons to be there.

  5. It’s real. You might not think that even the best online schools compare to brick-and-mortar institutions, but you shouldn’t limit your options based on assumptions (and wrongful assumptions, at that). You should certainly make sure that any college you attend, whether physical or virtual, is accredited, but that being a given, keep your options open!

This post was written by Leon Harris who writes on the subject of college rankings and the best online schools.

One Thought on “The Worst Reasons for Selecting a College”

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