3 Questions to Help You Find The Right College!
After graduating from my undergrad at Utah Valley University, my Master’s degree from University of Florida, attending HPAIR at Harvard University, going to startup events at Stanford University, CGIU at Arizona State University, and participating in an international graduate competition at HEC Montreal, I met students with very different backgrounds, mindsets, goals and personalities.
I have met students from colleges that I did not know existed, and now those students work for big global firms. I have also met students who went to Ivy League schools who are now working for small companies or changed careers. Based on those experiences I would recommend you to answer honestly the next 3 questions when choosing your college.
What do you want to achieve?
You probably heard this question many times before, and you will keep hearing it during all your life. It does not matter if you are 18, 30 or 65, you always need to have goals you want to achieve so you can keep growing. I know it may be a tough question, especially if you are just graduating from High School but if you do not want to waste time and money you need to have an answer.
You do not need to know how you are going to achieve it as this is part of the process but you at least need to have a general idea of what your goals are. If you have no clue, I would recommend reading some books, running or traveling. Those things always help 🙂
Do you want to have your own business? Do you want to work at Google? Do you want to be a Doctor? Do you want to help people from different countries? Do you want to take photos and travel the world? These are some examples but you are the one who needs to define what is on your list.
I always wanted to work for a Big 4 or a top tech company and live in a warm place (I do not really like winters). That is what I wanted to achieve so I applied to several colleges in Florida for my Master degree. I got accepted into all of them and decided for University of Florida since their graduates were already being recruited by the companies I wanted to work for.
Once you have a basic idea of your goals, it’s much easier to narrow down your career and college list after taking into consideration the graph below.
How much debt are you willing to have?
Most of us do not have all the money to pay for tuition, especially if you are considering a private college. The most common ways to get money for tuition are scholarships, family/sponsors, or loans.
The most common scenario is that your family helps you during the first semesters and you may get some scholarships, but depending on how high is your tuition you will still need money to pay for it, and you will have to get a loan.
A lot of people graduate with lots of debt, some even owing +100,000 USD. I did not want to be one of those, I did not want to spend several years after graduation just working to pay debt. This was very important when taking my college decision.
I got accepted to a really good private college, and even though they offered me partial scholarships I was going to graduate owing more than 40,000 dollars. On the other hand, I received a full scholarship at UF and although it was not as high in the rankings as the other college, the companies recruiting in both universities were pretty much the same.
Let’s say your goal is to work at Facebook or Amazon as a software engineer. If you go to Stanford or UC Berkeley you will have good chances of getting into those companies but you will also incur in a lot of debt unless you find scholarships. If you live in Georgia, Georgia Tech will give you pretty good chances for a much lower price. If you are in Texas, UT Austin would be a cheap and good option as well since Facebook has an office there.
Just search online where the graduates from those universities are going or what companies are coming to the career fairs. That should give you a good idea if a particular university would put you closer to your goals without getting into lots of debt.
How much effort are you willing to put?
If you really want to be successful at college you need to give more than 100%. You need to hustle and go the extra mile every single semester. Even if you go to Harvard but do not put effort on your classes and networking you may not get the job you want.
I have friends that went to unknown colleges; colleges that most people do not know they even exist. However, my friends always kept grinding, doing projects plus networking and now they work for companies like Amazon and Facebook.
If for some reason you decide to attend a small college or a university that is not well known, always keep in mind that if you work hard you can get whatever you want. If you are good at what you do, big companies will hire you no matter where you went to school.
Keep in mind that it all depends on you. It depends not only on how you perform in your class but most importantly what you do outside of your classes. Networking as I discuss in other articles is essential. The easiest way to get a job interview is with a referral which you can get by networking and building relationships.
So what do you want to achieve? how much debt are you willing to have? how much effort are you willing to put? Answering these 3 questions should help you decide what is the best college for you. Make sure you also read this article about 3 things you should do before starting college.
Have an awesome day!