How to pick a college? 10 tips for seniors from their peers

Christmas vacation is often no vacation for college-bound high school seniors, many of whom spend these weeks refining their list of schools, polishing their essays, and completing their applications. The application process can be exhausting, but it’s making the final choice that keeps you awake at night. Which school is “the one”?

There’s no shortage of advice from parents and guidance counselors. But people who’ve recently been through the process – and come out the other end – have words of wisdom, too. Here are 10 things your future classmates say you should consider before sending in that deposit.

1. Location, location, location

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
A scene from Harvard Yard just off Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass.

The real estate mantra holds true when it comes to picking a school. Maybe you applied to schools all over the country, or even abroad, to keep your options open. But now it’s time to choose: stay close to home, or live somewhere new? Pick an urban school, or one that’s suburban, or rural? There are pros and cons to each option. Small-town colleges have those idyllic rolling hills perfect for impromptu Frisbee games, but the city can be your playground at urban schools. Depending on what you want to study, there might also be more internship opportunities in a big city than in an isolated college town.

As for proximity to home, for Brent Alex, a public relations major at Arizona State University, the decision was easy. “Opportunities aren't going to find you sitting by yourself in your bedroom,” says the Chicago area native. “But if you go out into the world and to a new place for college, you're going to find the opportunities. There's no better time to leave home than after high school, when going away to college.”

RELATED: Five mistakes to avoid on your college application

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