How NOT to Choose Your College or University

How NOT to Choose Your College or University
If you have access to the internet, you can easily find countless articles, blogs and guidelines that can steer you toward a college that’s right for you. If you have a helpful high school guidance counselor or parents who are happy to provide you with advice, you’re doubly lucky (depending on your definition of “luck”). A little research can help you find a university that offers the coursework, price, culture, location, and size that match your ideal. But while you’re making this complex and deeply personal decision, here are a few things that should not, under any circumstance, play a role in your choice. Try not to build your college decision around these criteria.

Ratio of Men to Women

Many college guides and ranking systems offer this data point in order to help students who think the ratio of men to women at their university will have a meaningful impact on the course of their lives. Unless that ratio is zero (which will happen if you choose a single-gender school), it won’t. Even if you’re going to college for no other purpose than to land a wife or husband, this ratio will not steer you into the arms of true love. And it won’t help you find a better position for yourself in an allegedly gender- dominated industry. Use a more meaningful data point on which build your family and launch your adult life.

Party Access

Here’s a secret: every college has parties. Every college has LOTS of parties…more than one person can possibly attend. Even if you go to all of the parties available to you, there will still be more happening around you. And no matter how many parties are happening around you, you don’t have to go to a single one if you chose not to. Don’t make expensive life decisions according to rumors of party availability.

Unconfirmed Prestige

If you’re choosing your college because people say it’s a good school, ask yourself one question: which people? Who’s actually saying this? US News and World Report publishes a yearly list of colleges and grad schools ranked according to a respected algorithm, so if you’re comfortable with the ranking of your chosen school in this or another reputable publication, proceed. If you’re acting based on general rumors or vague feelings attached to the organization’s “brand” or TV commercials, think twice.

Prestige Unrelated to Your Course of Study

If you’re interested in a degree in history, mathematics, creative writing, French literature, or computer science, make sure your university’s reputation applies to that particular department or field. Employers won’t be impressed if you gain a degree from a school that’s well known for something else altogether. If you have to choose between a generically big name and a big name that only resonates within your narrow field, choose the second.

Your Parent’s Approval

If you’re attracted to one choice, but your parents are pushing you toward another, stop and think about what you’re doing. You’re an adult now, and you need to make your critical life decisions based on what’s right for you, not what’s right for your parents. They aren’t the ones who will have to conduct your job search, pursue your career, or live your life… You are. Visit MyPerfectResume for more on how to manage the decisions you’ll make on the winding path that lies ahead.