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Are you a senior in high school trying to find out more about which college to attend? In the guide below, we’ll examine how to find the right one for you. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s start exploring your future!

1. What Does it Mean to You?

In other words, what are you hoping to get out of college? Now is the time to discover what you want to do with your life over the next four years and choose what kind of goals you want to accomplish by senior year. Feel free to talk to your parents, friends, or school counselor to figure out these goals. Just make sure you actually get something out of your college years – don’t just go along for the ride.

2. Where Do You Want to Go?

No, we’re not asking what college you want to go to, but instead, where in the world do you want your college to be located? For example, do you want to attend a university in your hometown, in another state, or in another country? Trust us when we say the opportunities are endless, no matter where you go.

3. Identify Your Priorities

Before deciding on a college to attend, make a complete list of pros and cons. For example, the distance from the school to your house or apartment and how you’ll get there, the size of the school, programs the school has, etc. Identify your priorities and determine which colleges you want to check out from there.

4. Review the School’s Departments

Instead of checking overall college rankings, review every department of the college before applying. For example, a college may have a great math department, but a lacking history department. If you’re getting a history-based degree, this could be a huge problem. So, always do research into a college’s departments before considering applying.

5. Visit the Schools

When deciding which school to go with, visiting the college or university is important. Fortunately, most schools offer tours during the fall and spring semesters led by either school counselors or current students. During the tour, you’ll get a better feel for the campus and an inside look at the programs the college offers. Don’t be afraid to ask your guide any questions you have – this is one of the best times to do so.

6. Check Out the Dorms

If you plan to live on campus, one of the most important things to consider to determine whether or not you want to attend are the dorms. Since you’ll be living in these areas of your college for four years, it’s crucial that you enjoy them. If you don’t, we suggest looking for places to rent outside your college campus or move on to another college.

7. Don’t Stick it to a School’s Reputation

Simply because a college is ranked higher doesn’t mean it’s the right college for you. Everyone’s needs are different, so it’s important to consider more than a school’s reputation. Different colleges offer different things, such as advanced programs or smaller one-on-one classes.

8. Compare Aid Options

Although most schools don’t release complete financial aid offers, students can discover what financial options they have through free online tools. When you input your tuition and the amount of aid you have, it can show you what monthly repayments will look like post-graduation. You can also compare colleges with high sticker prices and discover that they’re often a lot more expensive than cheaper colleges. Nevertheless, having these options open to you can help you better decide which college to apply to.

9. Narrow Down Your Options

Now that you’ve completed the steps above, you can finally decide which colleges you should apply to. It can be a hard process, but it will be worth it. Although this is notably the most challenging process, it will feel great once you get your acceptance letter. Remember to ask your parent or legal guardian to review your application before submitting, so you can double check for any errors before sending it to the college or university. First impressions mean a lot!

10. Don’t Procrastinate but Don’t Rush Either

Take the time you need to ensure that you are making the right choice. Don’t put off the decision because you are afraid you will make the wrong choice. Do your research, ask for help, and really put in the effort to find the best college for you.

Although choosing the right college to attend can be an incredibly tough process, everyone has to do it at some point or another. Hopefully, with the help of our guide, we could make the process a little easier and help you find the right school for you. Good luck and happy searching!

This article was contributed by guest author Hayden Sewart.