Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

If The Shoe Fits: Ensuring Your College Is Tailor-Made For Your Own Strengths and Pursuits

Students are often very influenced by their peers and by social media, two large deciding factors on where people go to college. Today’s society is college obsessed, and there are very few people, if any, who have not yet jumped on this college-crazy bandwagon. Students who get into Ivy Leagues are praised and idolized, and it’s easy to assume that those who do not get into a familiar school will eventually be forgotten.  Every day, I find myself talking about college visits, tests, or extracurriculars, and I justify it all by claiming that sacrificing relaxation or a social life will pay off later. I’m sure many of you are the same, constantly looking up what GPA you need to get into x college on Naviance, or even going to extreme lengths to cram endless hours of studying into one day for a sliver of relaxation the next.  All this coupled with the paralyzing fear that nothing will ever be enough can lead to a lot of anxiety. An incredible amount of self-worth at Pascack Hills is determined by grades, how well you can cope with stress, and what college you will ultimately devote yourself to.  Students scour the entire country looking at schools their friends have gone to, or schools with the highest ranking, but deciding on a school based on narrow reasoning has its faults. By choosing a college based on name and prestige alone, many students may end up unhappy and uncomfortable in a setting that should feel natural and accommodating.

However, the college search itself does not need to be so stressful. There are over 4,000 different colleges to choose from in the United States, each one unique and better than the next in its own way. In an attempt to ease your minds about a very important decision in your life, here are 6 bits of advice to help ensure your college search is less stressful than your average school day.

1. Begin with researching schools that match your academic level. Many students are enraptured with the lure of Ivy League schools, but the reality is that the requirements to be accepted to these elite few are very narrow. Instead, examine your GPA, and your standardized test scores and visit schools within an attainable range. However, if you love a school and believe fervently in its policies and programs, and it is a little out of your reach, go for it. There’s no harm in aiming high. Just be sure not to waste your time and energy on a renowned school, solely basing your decision on a reputation.

2. Visit a variety of college campuses in different settings.  Does the school have a traditional campus, or is it in an urban setting? This may seem like an obvious factor to consider when looking at colleges, but it really is important. Depending on your comfort zone, it might be important to choose a different type of campus. Opportunities can be different and experiences can vary depending on the environment you choose.

3. Go on campus visits during the school year. Many people choose to go on college tours in the summertime when they have more free time and their whole family can come with them, but this has its downfalls, too. Going during the summer means that the greater majority of college students will not be at school. It is important to visit these colleges while they are in session, because exposure to the types of students at that particular university attracts is vital. They may enhance your attraction to the school, or they may lessen your interest. Additionally, if you are visiting a college, you want to see it when it is in full swing, not when life on campus has dwindled down.

4. Research schools that have programs that you are interested in. If you’re into dance, chemistry, art, or international studies, make sure that the colleges you are looking at are proficient in these areas and that, should you go there, they will provide you with the best programs.

5. Look into how large the Greek life is. Do they have a high percentage of students involved in sorority and fraternity life, or none at all? You definitely want to look into this and see if Greek life is something that you want to be a part of during your college years.

6. Look past the information session as many of these can be near carbon copies of one another. I have been to many, and while some do stand out, others become monotonous because the same thing has been said hundreds of times before. Utilize sites like College Prowler, which can be accessed at, that invite students to post insights and information about their colleges. Through these sites, it is easy to compare and contrast several different colleges.

While it may be near impossible to obliterate the college obsession, it is more probable to decrease the stress levels of students. By using these tips and taking advantage of your resources, looking for the college that fits you the best won’t be such a stressful ordeal.

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