The College Decision Process: How to Choose Where to Go


Jonah Lynne

University of North Carolina’s Football Stadium. UNC is a school of interest for many, including myself, because of its journalism program.

Jonah Lynne, Co-Editor

Since I stepped foot on campus back in 2018, I knew that my high school experience was, essentially, a large process geared towards my admittance to college. Now, four tumultuous years later, I find myself bracing for what only those who go through it can experience: the college admissions process.

In today’s world, high school students have numerous pressures facing them on a daily basis, including deciding what they want to do for their careers. However, this decision is one that should not be taken lightly, as it often involves lots of moving parts and may change the trajectory of one’s life on a vast scale.

Being currently involved in this process, I have learned that despite how laborious and tedious completing applications may be, it has forced me to reflect on what I really want for the next four years, and even beyond that. 

Here are some methods and strategies for approaching where I’m applying and where I ultimately decide to go. These are all personal findings and have worked for me as I have gone through this process. 

1) Make a Want & Don’t Want List. It’s normal not to know what you want to study/major in, much less where you want to attend college. However, it is important to know things outside of school that you will want to have while you’re living on/near campus. Do you want access to amenities not offered by the school? Are you okay with an urban campus? How do you feel about the weather in a school’s area? What about the number of students? Research opportunities? These are all questions that you should be asking yourself and your supporters in this process.

2) Visualize your future. This does not mean map out every moment from now until 50 years from now. Regardless of what career you wind up having, college involves developing relationships with professors, other students, and members of the community outside of campus that will lead you to this future. Do you see yourself obtaining a graduate degree, and if so, how long do you plan to be in school? Are you willing to incur student loan debt to pursue this? These “grown-up” questions are necessary ones to ask, as one decision can impact your life for a long period of time. 

3) Prioritize. It is really important to choose a school that has a similar attitude towards priorities as you do, as it will allow staff at the college/university to work with you to successfully manage these priorities. If you plan on athletics being your priority, go to a school that has strong programs for athletes, including tutoring, advising, and medical facilities. If academics are your main priority, then go to a school that has longer library hours and internship/research opportunities, among other programs. This will allow you as both a student and as a person succeeds in your chosen area(s) of interest.

In essence, the school chooses the student just as much as the student chooses the school. However, not everyone has that “a-ha” moment, so going through this list of factors will help guide you to the right decision. Good luck seniors!