Things to think about when picking a college

September 14, 2022

As high school sophomores and juniors are starting up the school year thinking ahead to life after graduation. Teens have busy schedules, so the next year or two will seem to speed by. Choosing a college or university is a big decision that shouldn’t be rushed. It’s worth it to spend some time brainstorming your path after high school. 

You can make a great living without a diploma. We’ve got a recent post about that. But in this post, we’re going to focus on students who want to pursue a college degree, but aren’t sure how to pick the best school.

Here are 5 things you need to think about before sending in applications.

#1 What do you like? What are you good at?

It’s time to narrow your focus. When you start writing down things you’re interested in, you’ll run out of space on the page. It’s challenging to sort out hobbies from career opportunities, but it’s an important exercise. Remember, you don’t have to plan out your entire life. The purpose of narrowing areas of focus is to find schools that specialize in teaching students who share your ambitions.

#2 What specific type of work do you want to do?

It’s far too common for students to choose a university, only to discover after enrollment that the degree programs aren’t a great match for their career ideas. “Civil engineering” is very broad, for example. One school might excel at traditional suspension bridge design, while another excels at innovative 3D structure printing. 

#3 What degrees and special programs match your aspirations?

In the early 20th century, journalism was a blue-collar, working class job. It morphed into an elite industry requiring impressive credentials as a gateway. Now with the internet expanding opportunities, anyone can be a citizen journalist. Perhaps studying history and English at a community college gets you where you want to go.

#4 How much can you afford to spend on college?

It’s no secret higher education is expensive. Public universities run almost $100,000 for a degree and private universities cost almost $200,000. Here’s one of many resources to explore financial aid. You’ll also find a ton of scholarships and fellowships in spikeview’s Opportunity Hub

#5 How far away is the campus? What type of campus is it?

There was a time when fashion designers had no choice but to study in New York City or Paris. That’s no longer true, thanks again to the internet. It’s important to think about a university’s location for a couple of mental health reasons. First, moving away from friends and family can be emotionally stressful. Decide how far is too far before you start applying. Second, a school’s proximity to nature or parks can be an important factor. For some students, a campus in the center of a city isn’t healthy, but for others it’s perfect. 

One last thing… expand your portfolio!

Colleges use spikeview to evaluate students. It’s the key to having a competitive edge when you’re presenting yourself to colleges. Artists and athletes can also create amazing portfolios on spikeview. When the time comes to submit applications, you’ll simply add your customized spikeview link as supplemental information.

Got any questions? You can always send a message to