22 Tips For Finding A College Where You'll Actually Thrive


Because everything you need to know is not in the brochure.

If you’re gearing up to apply to college, you know that it’s kiiiind of a stressful time of year.

If you're gearing up to apply to college, you know that it's kiiiind of a stressful time of year.

As you put together a list of schools to apply to, there are probably things you know to consider: where a school is, what programs it offers, how hard it is to get in, how much it'll cost you, etc. But anyone who's gone through college will tell you — the best school on paper might not actually be the best fit for you.

So, to help you make sure the colleges you're applying to are all places you could potentially thrive emotionally, mentally, and academically, we asked members of the BuzzFeed Community and a few experts what you really should be thinking about when evaluating potential schools.

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If you strongly identify as an introvert or extrovert, consider that as part of the equation.

If you strongly identify as an introvert or extrovert, consider that as part of the equation.

Basically, the introversion/extroversion scale plays a big part in what kind of environments you feel most effective in, which is definitely something to consider when looking at various campus ~vibes~, clinical psychologist Ryan Howes, PhD, tells BuzzFeed Health.

“Ask yourself, 'What kind of environment will be the best fit for my personality?'” says Howes. “Where are you able to think the best? Where are you able to produce and be creative? Extroverted folks might need a lively environment with a lot of stuff going on to thrive. But people who are on the introverted side might need a college where they have room to recharge or more casual ways to socialize.”

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Make sure you get the uncensored opinions of people who’ve actually been there.

Make sure you get the uncensored opinions of people who've actually been there.

Listen, it's the job of the admissions office to put the school's best face forward, but that won't always give you the whole story. Getting details from actual students will give you a more realistic picture, as Nancy Roy, EdD, clinical director at the Jed Foundation, tells BuzzFeed Health.

If you're able, campus visits are a great way to do this, but you can also visit online forums for prospective students (like College Confidential), or do a little sleuthing on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr to connect with current students who might be down to chat.

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Come up with a list of things you really liked or hated about high school and look for (or avoid) those features in a college.

Come up with a list of things you really liked or hated about high school and look for (or avoid) those features in a college.

You've had four years of high school to learn what helps you succeed, what makes you miserable, what enriches your life, and what stressed you the fuck out. That kind of thing can be directly applicable to choosing a college too, says Roy. For example, if math was the bane of your existence in high school, there are some colleges out there where you'll NEVER HAVE TO TAKE ANOTHER MATH CLASS AGAIN.

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