TEENS: The many factors to consider when choosing a college
By Alexandra Koubek
If you ask a child what job they want to have in the future, they’re likely to confidently respond with the likes of firefighter, veterinarian, or astronaut. When kids think of what they want to do, they give such a sure answer. “I’m going to be a cowboy!” is something an old friend of mine (who now is going into engineering) would always say.
As kids grow older, they become much more uncertain of what career they want. I probably changed my mind 10 times from kindergarten until now. When you’re a kid, you have the freedom to change your mind, but when you’re a senior in high school, you have to make a decision. With college decision dates right around the corner and your entire future looming ahead, making a decision on what career you want to study for, and where, is harder than ever.
High school seniors are under a lot of pressure from family and deadlines to decide where they’re going to college and what for. Every family get-together is an endless stream of questions: "Where are you going next fall?" "You’re applying for good scholarships, right?" “What major did you choose?” For many seniors, the answer to some or all of these questions is still, “I don’t know.”
Choosing what to dedicate your life and money to is a huge decision for teenagers to make. Making that choice gets even tougher as college decision dates approach. Seniors like myself have to do some serious soul searching in the next few months to decide where to go.
There are many factors prospective students must take into consideration when making a final college decision. Just a few of them include: the academic programs, housing, the community, and if you can afford it. Trying to find a college that fits all these criteria to your liking is tough.
Another factor that makes decision making particularly hard is seniors’ relationships with family and friends. This creates another layer of criteria to consider: do your parents approve, how far it is from home and what schools your friends are going to. Despite all that, the most important thing seniors must consider is what they want their futures to be like. What college you choose shapes your future: it’s where you’ll learn to be an adult, make lifelong friends, and establish connections for future careers.
The path to making a college decision can be long and stressful for high school seniors. They face pressure from their families and have to meet many deadlines. There are also many factors that must be considered when deciding where to go. Thankfully there are people, such as school counselors, who are there to help guide seniors along their way. There are also other options for seniors who just can’t make up their minds, such as taking a gap year or going into a college with an undecided major.
However, whether it’s sooner or later, no matter how difficult it is, everyone must make a decision.
ALEXANDRA KOUBEK is a senior at Serena High School. She can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.