The Perfect Fit
Brandon provides his insights on finding the right school.
By Brandon Huffman
September 19, 2012
College: it’s a word that has a different meaning to everybody. To some, it could mean further pursuing your dream career, for others it could be the long awaited escape from the prison that high school and your house can be, and for some it could be that dreaded thing your family is forcing you to go to. However, no matter what your reason for going to college, there is always one factor that ranks above all else: Is this college right for you?
This past summer I visited a couple of my main college options, one of which included going halfway across the country. Even though I was visiting these colleges, I had already made up my mind on which one I was going to no matter what.
When I got to this college, Vanderbilt, the speaker said something that both astonished me and really hit home: “This college may not be the right choice for you.” With those words my mouth was almost gape. The past colleges I had gone to had always tried selling their campus and university the entire time I was there, attempting to leave any hint of anything negative out of the conversation, but here I was, sitting at Vanderbilt, being told that maybe I shouldn’t go there.
My speaker’s point: if you can’t see yourself learning in the classrooms of that college, walking and studying on the grounds of that campus, or leaving home and living at that university with ease: Don’t waste their time or yours.
No matter what your reason for going to college is, you want to make sure that you can adjust to the setting. If you are being forced to go to college by family or just want to find a way to escape from them, you don’t want to absolutely hate every second of your experience there.
Think about it: there’s something that everybody enjoys doing, whether it be academic or athletic, you want to go to a college that will fit right with you. If you love science, make sure you really look into a college before going there and make sure they have the field that you want to go into or enjoy studying. On the other hand, if you enjoy a certain sport, look into colleges that have your sport, and possibly even have a fairly decent record in it.
The academic and athletic portions are only one thing that you need to worry about. Are you a city or country person? If you simply loathe the country and hate everything about it, don’t contemplate going to a college that is in the middle of nowhere and the opposite stands as well. If you hate the never-ending rush of the city, don’t think too seriously about NYU.
Granted there are some colleges with a good balance, but if you don’t have your heart set on college to begin with, you want to make sure it’s an entire setting you enjoy so that by the end of two or four years, you might not want to leave. Then, there are those of us who cannot wait for college and are practically counting down the days until we head off for it. The same stands true, however, for the people who are a little too anxious for college.
You want to make sure it has the settings, academics, and athletics that you want. An example would be if you were thinking about going for Biomedical Engineering, but really liked a college that didn’t have anything close to that field. Would you be willing to compromise your career or change the direction of it?
There are thousands of colleges in the United States; there is bound to be at least one college that is waiting for you to stumble upon it. If you’re really serious about college, keep your mind open and hit the computer to research as much as you can and then some.
So that is my advice to you. When you are visiting a college or researching it, imagine yourself there. Put yourself in college shoes. If you can’t easily picture yourself on that campus and in those classrooms, find another one. No matter what your reason for college, you might hopefully find yourself loving it if it is, in fact, the perfect fit.
What are you looking for in a college?