I know that this isn’t the senior year you imagined. I understand that you are dealing with uncharted territories in every aspect of life – school, family, friends, and your college search process. One day we will look back at the trials we faced and realize the lessons that were learned, but right now we are in survival mode and trying to make the best of each day.
Finding the college that suits you is a large task! It is so important that you reflect on what you want, what you need, and what your goals are when considering attending college. It’s always easy to go with the crowd and take the comfortable route, but I encourage you to take time to think about what type of environment will make you thrive instead of just survive.
Usually you would be able to take a road trip with your family to the different schools that you are contemplating. As you are well aware, everything has moved into a virtual space. I highly recommend that you utilize all of the virtual offerings your school has! Most universities are working tirelessly to provide a virtual experience that almost gives you the same feeling you get when walking on campus for the first time. Do as much research as you can regarding student body size, class size, campus environment, student organizations, and life off-campus! Colleges are providing a huge amount of online content via YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and other social outlets to showcase the vibe of their campus.
Once you have exhausted all of the virtual options, I recommend you reaching out to a current student, alumni, family friend, whoever you can to learn about their student experience. Talking to an admissions counselor is great (and highly recommended!), but you can usually learn more about the day to day from someone who attended or is currently enrolled at your dream school. When talking to them, be sure to ask questions that really matter to you! Maybe food is your priority – be sure to ask about the on-campus dining options! You love sports? Be sure to ask about intramurals, club, or NCAA opportunities!
Don’t forget to be realistic with yourself. If you know that you learn best in a small classroom environment, make sure that the school you are going to can provide that for you! It might be tempting to go to the same university as all of your friends, but if that school doesn’t have the correct learning environment for you, you are the one that is going to struggle.
Universities completely understand that prospective students are going through a very unique and difficult experience right now – our college students are feeling the same way! Don’t be afraid to be real and ask for what you need in order to make a decision that works for you. I promise you it will pay off in the long run.