I once heard someone say, “The college search is like shoe shopping… You find the style you like, walk around in it, and see if it’s the right fit!” I thought that was a fun and unique way to think of the college search experience – but it is true! Ultimately, the goal is finding the right fit for you.
We all can admit that making a college decision isn’t always easy. I’ve work in college admissions for about 7 years and I’ve seen both sides of the decision spectrum – some students walk on the campus and immediately say, “This is it!” Others need a lot more time to weigh their options before making a commitment. Both of these processes are absolutely okay, you definitely want to be confident about your choice in the end!
Whenever I have to make a really tough decision in life I try to make things simple… That’s why I use A.S.K (Ask Search Knock) as an easy way to think about finding the right college fit. Let me start by saying YOU ARE UNIQUE. You have your own desires and interests so do some soul searching and start with basic questions.
ASK: What’s going to be the right location?
- There are schools near and far to choose from. How far away are you willing to travel for the college experience? Do you prefer a big city or a rural area?
What size would help you flourish in and outside of the classroom?
- Definitely consider the size of the college and classes that you’ll be attending. Large schools may have auditoriums and classes with hundreds of people. Smaller schools will have a more intimate classroom settings. For example, I personally prefer smaller classes like what’s offered here at Furman. It gave me a more engaged learning experience with my peers and professors. There is no right or wrong answer – simply what feels best for you!
Some other questions to consider: Does the college offer the academic and career focus I’m interested in? What type of financial aid will they offer? What’s the likelihood of being accepted? What are some things I can plug into outside of the classroom?
SEARCH: I encourage students not to search for a college just because your friend is going or there’s great athletic programs. Really seek and search if the college is the best for you. For example, if you’re unsure about a major or career path can that college help you discover it?! Search out their career and student services to see what type of support is offered for students.
Some other ways to search: There are ample online resources out there about the college search. Like the US New & World Report that ranks Furman University as one of the best colleges in the country. Here’s an article they wrote about “10 Tips to Make Your Final College Choice”
KNOCK: When I say knock – I mean VISIT!! Visiting the college and taking a tour is one of the best things you can do to find the right fit. Higher education experts say it will help tremendously to narrow your list! This gives you a chance to really meet the students, staff, and imagine yourself making the college home for the next four years. “Knock” on several campus doors before you make your final decision.
You Can Do This! In conclusion, don’t forget to A.S.K! You’re going to get so many benefits from your college experience like developing new worldviews, study abroad opportunities, building lasting friendships, and more. Be courageous as you step into a new chapter of your life! You’ll be great!
By: Shawn Glover, Assistant Director of Admissions