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9 Worst Reasons to Pick a College

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It’s that time of year again! High school seniors are anxiously waiting to find out if they were accepted by their dream colleges. Don’t have a dream college? You’re not alone.

There are dozens of determining factors when selecting the right school for you. Depending on your unique situation, some factors will weigh more heavily than others.

Figuring out how to pick the right college can be a challenge, but we’ve compiled nine of the wrong reasons to pick a school below:

1. You’re following your friends / significant other.

Going to the same college as your boyfriend, girlfriend, or BFF might sound like a great idea now, but the tables could turn a few weeks into the semester. People change during college—a lot. College is a time of growth, development, and making new friends. Going to the same college as a friend or boyfriend is one thing if the school offers your major and is close to home—going to the college only because that friend or boyfriend is going there too is a whole different ballgame.

2. Your parents went there.

Some parents want their children to attend the same college they did. Your mom or dad might have loved the place, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will.

3. Tuition is ultra-cheap (or ultra-expensive.)

The cost of a college education is a big deal, but cheaper (or pricier) doesn’t necessarily mean better. Cost alone should not be your only deciding factor.

4. They offered you a huge scholarship.

A $20,000 college scholarship sounds great … and it is! But just remember that it might be spread across four years, and a $5000 discount per year might not put much of a dent in the tuition at a pricy private university. (Some are $50,000 per year and up!)

5. You’re a big fan of their sports teams.

Just because you love watching their games on TV isn’t a great reason to go to college there. After all, football is fun but you’ll do a lot more than tailgate during your college career!

6. It’s the only school you applied to.

Even if you have your heart set on a particular college, apply to one or two others. You never know what you might be missing out on.

7. It’s in New York City (or near the beach, or in the mountains, or…)

Some students attend a college that’s close to home so they can avoid paying room and board, which means that the school’s location was an important deciding factor when picking the college. Choosing a college because it’s far from home or in a particular city may not be the best idea, though. You might wind up at a school that you hate because you thought being near the beach sounded cool.

8. It’s a party school.

It’s completely possible to have an active social life at any college. Choosing a school because a magazine claims it has the most keg parties in America isn’t necessary to have a good time during your college years.

9. It has a prestigious reputation.

A degree from an Ivy League college might look good on your resume, but choosing a college simply because of its rep is fairly superficial. Yes, you will receive a quality education, but does the school’s cost really justify going there for the sake of its name? In most cases, a good student can succeed at any college.

Wondering how to pick the right college for you? StateUniversity.com is a comprehensive resource full of information you can use. Search schools by state, ranking, program, size, cost, and more! Use our School Comparison Tool to compare up to 4 colleges and universities at once.


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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