You have one year left. One single year of undergrad schooling before the "real" schooling begins. You will once again a freshman and have to learn all over again a brand new routine. How wonderful, exciting, and nerve racking this time of life can be. But before any of that happens, you have to find out where in the world you want to spend the next two, three, four, or even eight years of your schooling career. And so the search begins...
1. Check The Prerequisites
Before anything begins, you have to check and make sure you have everything you need to start applying for grad school. Have you taken the GRE? MCAT? LSAT? Prerequisite classes? References? Observation Hours? Double and triple check everything to make sure you have it all, because if you do not, then there is no point in applying to your program.
2. Investigate The School's Finances
To be honest, there are so many schools I looked at that didn't make my list because of how expensive the program would be over my time at schooling. Make sure you figure out how you (or your parents) will pay for your schooling, because if you do not, then you will be drowning in debt and you need to be able to float about your finances.
3. Visit The School (if possible)
A school will always make themselves look fabulous and wonderful online, but anything or anyone can do that (I mean, look at Tinder.) In my experiences visiting schools, I understood a school so much better by stepping onto the campus and actually seeing what it looked like in person. It has helped me make my grad school decision so much better easier, and I'm sure it'll help you as well.
4. Meet Some Faculty/Students
I can't drive this point home enough. If you do not meet anyone from your program or field of study, then how do you know what it'll be like when you actually go there? Meeting the faculty members allows you to ask those burning questions about what the program is like and retention rate of students, but meeting current students in the program allows you to see how they enjoy it. So much honesty and truth comes from these simple interactions.
5. Trust Your Gut
Last but not least is this simple motto, "Follow your gut instinct." It is so true, because sometimes you know something is or is not a good fit for you, and you are the only person who can determine that within yourself. Listen to your heart and understand where your life, God, or whatever else guides you says to do. It'll make life so much easier and less stressful.
I am in the same boat as so many people trying to figure out what schools to narrow down and how to make my decision to apply to certain ones. However, I do know that everything works out in the end, and I will pray and trust God to show me the way where my future will lead me. I cannot wait to see how this next chapter of my life unfolds, and I wish all the best of luck in your endeavors as well. Remember, this is your decision. Have fun searching!