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Worst Reasons to Choose (or Lose) a College

Students on campus

Every year students choose or reject a college for reasons that lead to unhappy experiences. Here's what to watch out for.

You probably have some great reasons for choosing a college. But sometimes other factors slip in that should have little bearing on your decision.

Worst Reason 1: Romance

It is dangerous to choose being with a special someone over what is best for your future. Choose a school that is the best fit for you. If you both end up at the same school, then it will be because it was the right fit for both of you.

Worst Reason 2: "My friends are going there," or "No one I know is going there"

Friendships can change dramatically once you leave high school. You may stay in touch after graduation, but you might grow apart as your new college lives unfold. Plus, it's a lot easier to make friends in college than you may think!

Worst Reason 3: Beautiful people, or lack of them

One of the worst reasons to pick a college is based on how "hot" the boys or girls are. Certainly your social life will be important, but if you prioritize dating over studying, your college life may be short-lived. Besides, your idea of "hot" may very well evolve once you've been in college for some time.

Worst Reason 4: College rankings

Some students make decisions based on rankings and reputation. Even parents get caught up in the fame factor. If you don't base your choice on a well-researched idea of fit, you may end up miserable at even the most prestigious college.

Worst Reason 5: It'll make my parents happy

Of course you and your parents should make every effort to come to a decision that makes all of you happy. On the other hand, don't dismiss or apply to a school just because your parents like or don't like it. What matters most is that you like it.

Worst Reason 6: There was something I didn't like when I visited

Another bad reason to reject a school is because the weather was bad on the day of your visit, or you didn't like the tour guide. If a school seems a good fit in every way but didn't feel right when you visited, visit again.

Worst Reason 7: It's too big or too small

Look twice at small colleges. Many do everything they can to make their campuses vibrant on nights and weekends. On the other hand, campuses that seem too big have options such as honors colleges that give you a small college experience in a big campus setting.

Worst Reason 8: It sent me an application

Applying to a college because they sent you a free application that didn't require an essay or much effort to complete, isn't a great reason to choose a college. Some colleges send hundreds of thousands of applications to prospective students each year to increase the size of their applicant pool. Don't apply unless you have researched the college and determined it is a good fit for you.

The information contained on the CollegeData website is for general informational purposes only and may not apply to you or your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content contained on the CollegeData website without consulting with your parents, high school counselors, admissions representatives or other college counseling professionals. We disclaim all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content on the CollegeData website.