Seniors! It’s time to narrow down your college search and decide where you’ll attend college next year. Hopefully, you’ve received your financial aid award package from your perspective colleges so you can sit down as a family to make your final decision. Here are things to avoid in choosing a college:

  • Don’t rush the process.

Selecting the right college takes time and can be a stressful process. But, it is a process and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It might not hurt to revisit a college again or talk to an admission representative that comes to your high school. The important factor is that it’s your decision; one you should be happy making.

  • Don’t select a college based on their sports.

I understand if you’re favorite team made it to the NCAA basketball tournament or you live, eat, and sleep your favorite football team. The college might have great athletics, but it doesn’t mean it’s a great fit for you academically speaking. You can be a fan, just make sure the school is the right fit and meets all of your requirements.

  • Don’t skip the college visit.

I recommend going on a campus visit before selecting a college because every colleges’ website displays the perfect sunny day with beautiful students walking to class, in the library, or laughing with their friends. As a student, you want to go into the environment and check out the atmosphere on campus. What does it look like in the morning when students are commuting to their classes, or what does their café serve for lunch and dinner? Someone’s dream college might be a nightmare for you. It’s not too late to go on a campus visit!

  • Don’t insist on an out-of-state college.

Many students I talk to want to get out of Nebraska and explore the world. They really don’t understand the cost of going to a college out-of-state. On average, you could be paying $20,000 more than your classmates who are staying in-state. I’m not knocking anymore who wants to go out of state. I was fortunate to go to Charleston Southern University in South Carolina to play volleyball, but I needed all the scholarship dollars possible to afford my education. The location should be a factor in choosing a college, but don’t get caught up with the attraction that you’re willing to sacrifice state aid that could help you finance your entire schooling.

  • Don’t assume selective colleges are a better fit.

Just because a college is selective and highly ranked does not mean it will be the right fit for you. If you believe the difficulty of getting into the school will determine that you receive the best education is false. Some students need to be in a smaller setting and receive one-on-one attention to succeed. Going back to my argument with out-of-state colleges, the cost of education is pretty high so you want to make sure financially it is the right fit and that the college will provide a great award package.

  • Don’t select a college based on where your friends are going.

Following your friends to the college of their choice may seem like a great idea. However, everyone has their path to take. Also, their fit might be entirely different than yours. You want to make the best decision for YOU because ultimately you’ll be spending the next 4-5 years there and it is the most pivotal point in your life. Remember, you’ll see your friends during breaks and can catch up like old times!

If you have advice for students during their college selection process, comment below!