Picking the right school is like picking the best dance move – you better feel comfortable with what you choose.
Otherwise, it may be uncomfortable for you and everyone else in the room.
When deciding what school might be the place for you, ask yourself the following questions:
Wait, do I even like this city?
This shouldn’t be the only factor. But if you hate the feeling of living in a bustling metropolis like New York City, it’s probably going to make your time at Columbia or NYU a lot more difficult.
You can learn to love a city (I learned to love Boston) – but it should cross your mind that you’re signing on for a 4-year deal (usually), and that comes with the city.
Who the heck even are these people?
Check out the college kids, of course! See if they’re nice, see if they’re friendly, see if they are welcoming to the new class or resentful that you are taking over.
One of the reasons I didn’t choose Duke is that I noticed a lot of people walking around with headphones compared to other places I visited.
Maybe it was just me, on that day. Maybe that’s just normal campus culture. I’m not saying Duke is bad, I just didn’t think I’d want to be part of that crowd.
Decide if you like the vibe those colleges kids are giving off, because you’re likely to act just like them.
Does the library feel like a place you could study for 4 hours a day?
Comfortable libraries are always a plus, since you'll spend way more hours studying there than you expect (or hope).
Is the food good?
Good food is always a plus.
Does it pass the classroom test?
This is the question I asked myself a lot. It’s sort of, like, my “academic” check.
Basically, I found an empty classroom and imagined it to be filled with students on a busy day. Then I examined how I felt – if I was excited to be hearing from some professor at the campus or pulling out my laptop in that space.
It’s not a hard rule, but it can be a really solid gut check.
Going to a live class is a good idea too.
Those are just a couple of questions I would ask myself when deciding what to get out of a college campus.
Hopefully you bring your best dance moves along too.