From the time you were born, your body was pasted in Ohio State red and white. You drank from a red and white bottle, and your crib was in the shape of a giant O. When you began speaking you were taught that Michigan was a cuss word and that Saturdays in the fall were a religious holiday. You’ve now reached the point of your life where you have to choose a college and of course, your parents mention nothing but THE Ohio State University. Before you sign on the dotted line though, you should consider whether another college may be a better choice for you.
Before you even apply to a college, consider the following things: How far do you want to go from home? What size student body do you want a school to have? Are extracurricular activities important to you? In what kind of town or city do you picture the campus of your dreams? What kind of housing arrangements do you desire? Is the reputation or ranking of the school important? Is weather important? Where do you want to live in the future? Your answers to these questions should help you narrow down your search options. However, consider visiting at least one school that is the opposite of what you think you want (ie. a small school if you think you want a large one), just to confirm that your vision of that kind of school is correct.
Once you have considered the myriad of questions above, the next thing to consider is your career choice. If you know for sure what career you want to pursue, then research the best universities for that field. While many students will change their majors many times, there’s no sense in choosing a school that does not even have the major you think you want to pursue. Reach for the stars and apply to the school that has the best reputation in your chosen field. If possible, meet with an admissions counselor and sit in on a class that is in your major. Ask questions of the students and faculty. Not only will this help you decide if the major is the right choice, it will also help you decide if the school is the right choice.
Finances are often a big issue in choosing a college. Do not automatically count a school out because of its cost, but be realistic. Set an amount in financial aid that you absolutely must meet in order to attend a particular university. This will keep you from making an emotional choice later that you may regret. Research what kind of financial aid is available both from the school and and from outside sources. If the school does not offer you what you need, go back to the financial office and tell them what you truly need to attend their school. If they want you, they are likely to work with you.
As unlikely as it may seem, the best way to know a school is right for you is the gut feeling you get when you step on campus. Because of this, it is very important to visit any school you are seriously considering. Meet with admissions and guidance counselors. If possible, spend the night in the dorm and eat the school food. Talk to as many students as possible about every aspect of their life. By doing this you just may discover (much to the horror of your parents) that Michigan is the place for you!