Making a college decision is easily one of the most intense and stressful parts of a high schooler's senior year. You have to know what you want to do with your life, where you want to call home for the next four years (or so), and mainly what will make you happiest, all within the span of a few months. Looking back at making my final decision, there were many things I realized that people didn't tell me to consider, and I want this process to go as smoothly as possible for everyone!
Yes, it is true: you don't have to know what you want to do with your life. Going into the college application process, I had so many intended majors that I thought would work out. I was going to go to school for political science, pre-dentistry, education, and even marketing. About two weeks before college, I chose a major and I love the choice. Don't sweat it right away!
Please don't choose a college just so you can run away from your family. When looking at colleges, many students try to choose something to get away from their parents, but two weeks after you move in, you're going to miss those home-cooked meals and dad-jokes like crazy. Pick a school that has a good distance from home, but not too far!
If you have a major in mind, pick a school that has a good reputation centering around that major. My university has a great reputation for journalism and media studies, which was a HUGE factor as to why I chose to come here!
Start touring schools like crazy. Once you have a couple of schools in mind, tour them once or twice. Keep narrowing them down, based on those tours! Also, my high school would give us excused absences if we brought in proof that we were touring colleges!
When you start narrowing the choices down, pick the school that has an amazing campus life. Obviously academics are the most important part of college, but campus life is too! Are there enough clubs and extracurricular activities to join? Are there plenty of things to do in the daytime or at night? And most importantly, is there free food at events?
Lastly, pick the school that feels like home. In my decision process, it took me seven months to find the school I, now, call home and I could not be any happier! If the school's you're touring don't feel like home, keep on searching until you find it!
And if you're struggling with this anymore, ask anybody you know who is currently in college. This process is stressful and not the most fun, but in the end, it will be extremely rewarding!