3. Location, Location, Location
When you go to college, you're not just going to be going to school. You will be living in a new environment. It is incredibly important, therefore, to choose the right environment in which you will thrive the most.
Think about the distance from your current home and/or your parents (would you rather live within a few minutes drive? A few hours of driving? A flight away?).
Think about the weather do you prefer to live someplace warm or cool? Rainy or dry? Mountainous or flat?
And finally, think about the proximity to a large city. Do you prefer to go to school right in the middle of a big city? Do you prefer a school in the suburbs? Or would you prefer a school in a rural, isolated environment? Also, think about which city you would prefer to live in or near. The hustle and bustle of New York? The politically charged Washington DC? The art-and-technology-focused Seattle? The entertainment-focused Los Angeles? Pick and choose a place that will be the right geographic fit for you.
It is absolutely crucial that you visit any college or university before choosing to attend it. Agreeing to attend a school without ever seeing it (or only seeing it in promotional pictures and videos) is one of the biggest mistakes that I have seen students make. While it can work out depending on your luck, this is years and potentially tens of thousands of dollars of your money; you do not want to leave this pick to luck. Visiting the school, talking to students, and seeing the campus and way of life is essential to your college decision.
This is a tricky subject. I tell my students to put it last on their list of things to consider, but to definitely put it on the list of things to consider. A school's name can carry weight on your resume for decades after you have graduated from it, and if you are wavering between two schools on your list, the higher ranking or prestige of one school can and should tip the balance in favor of the more prestigious school.
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