Well, the time is coming around my dear high school juniors. You’ve almost completed a full three years of your secondary school studies, which means that if you plan on continuing your studies at all, you’ll have started and will continue to look at colleges for what feels like eternities before being able to don your new college swag officially.
So, I don’t know about you, but when I started, I had absolutely no idea where to look or how to even begin looking. All I knew was that there were about a million and a half options available to me and I had about 2 years to narrow it down to just one. I had no idea just how much stress and self discovery I would actually have to go through before finding ‘the one’. Anyways, it’s really all just a process, and I know how scary it can seem, so let’s try to work through it together, shall we?
Because of the massive amounts of colleges all around the world, it’s important to narrow things down relatively quickly by setting a few parameters. Although you may not have all the answers, even being able to narrow the search down by just focusing on one category is a step in the right direction. The categories you should initially focus on are ones like college size (small- up to 1500 [just like Swat!], medium- 1500-7000, large- over 7000), location, area of expertise and if you play a sport or are a dedicated fan to any specific sport, maybe taking that into account.
I know this seems a little vague, but let me explain. Deciding the size you want your college to be is so important because once you know that, your options narrow down significantly. Of course it may take a visit or two to decide the size you want, but you usually know relatively quickly.
Location is also a great way to narrow it down, especially because once you know where you’d like to be, you can look for colleges solely in that area and perhaps be able to fit in a couple extra visits.
Area of expertise is pretty self-explanatory, though I know I never really paid attention to it because I had very few ideas as to what I actually wanted to do (and am still very undecided).
Lastly, for the sports- I myself am a swimmer at a D3 school, and was always a little iffy about actually swimming in college. The only reason I went through with it was because of the wonderful recruiting process and because when I got to Swat, I fell in love immediately. But no matter what you think about your own sport, if you even have the smallest desire to keep doing it, try to get hooked up with coaches across the country at colleges that spur your interest, and you may find yourself heading in directions you may have never imagined before.
So here you go- part 1 of a series on college and all it entails, perhaps with a few things others may be reluctant to admit. But for now, cheers, and hope you enjoyed!