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Having an Alma Mater You Can Be Proud Of: How to Pick the Best College for You

Written by CB Community

Few decisions in your life will be as impactful and long-lasting as going to college.

However, it has almost become a pop-culture joke that millennials bury themselves in debt for a useless degree.

Thankfully, there are those who entered fulfilling careers due to their Alma Mater and are proud of their decision.

One’s choices regarding education will benefit or hurt them for the rest of their lives. It should not be made out of convenience or social inertia.

Students should also factor the Internet into their decision-making process. There are online services that promise to help with essays and schoolwork.

For example, an essay assist review mentions the difficulties coping with college stress and how ordering a paper provided much-needed relief.

As a disclaimer, this article will be written from the standpoint of someone who prioritizes academic achievement in order to increase the likelihood of getting a good job afterward.

There are many other reasons to go to college, but we will just cover the practical side. Here are a few tips:

1. Proximity

Thanks to movies and pop culture, the college experience has received an almost mythical place in our society.

Up until this point, most high school graduates have been living with their parents. Many of them wish to move as far away as possible to enjoy the pleasures of independence and adult life.

However, this wish is a bit of a monkey’s paw, given the current economy.

Unless your parents can afford to help you, you will most likely have to get a side job just to cover rent and expenses. This work, along with your classes, will drain your energy.

Also, it would be wise to avoid the so-called party schools.

Party schools are institutions with lax academic standards that attract young people who want to have fun and socialize. This experience may provide you with the best years of your life in terms of socialization, but little else.

Also, party schools are well-known, and many employers will not take you seriously if one of those institutions is your Alma Mater.

Staying in a dorm room isn’t for everyone either. You may be used to privacy and certain comforts, both of which will be lacking for the next 3-4 years.

It makes economic and practical sense to stay with your parents and save up money while getting your degree.

Of course, not everyone has a good university nearby, and this point addresses those who do.

2. Avoid Liberal Arts Degrees

Even if a piece of advice is controversial, sincerity still demands that it be said. College does not need to be a waste, especially if you’re going into debt to finance it.

Many alumni work fast-food jobs and have to pay-off tens of thousands of dollars.  Not even declaring bankruptcy will spare you from student debt.

Financials aside, the reason why most people go to college is to get a good job afterward.

As a student, you need to take a good look at the market and analyze what jobs are doing well.  STEM fields ( science, technology, engineering, mathematics) will always be needed. Computer science, in particular, is paving the way forward.

You may hear a lot of rhetoric about abstract concepts and education being inherently valuable. You have to chase your dreams; however, understand that we all must live in the real world.

And in the real world, there are bills to pay.

Supermarkets won’t accept anecdotes about the 30 Years War or recitations of Shakespear.

As a final mention, once you get a good-paying job, you can study and read about the subjects taught in Liberal Arts.

For example, one’s passion for history is not stopped by the lack of a history degree. Nobody will forbid you from reading history in your spare time as a hobby. The same goes for literature.

3. Write Lists

Evidence suggests that having more choices makes people more undecided and less happy. Do not waste your time by mentally torturing yourself with every decision you make.

Lists are a great way to focus the mind. Write down the pros and cons, and progressively narrow down the list until only one is left. Think of it as a reality show where you’re the judge.

A trick to avoid the gnawing doubt is to impose a simple mantra: “if a college is off the list, it will not be considered anymore.” By doing this and using lists, the options will funnel into your final decision.

4. Ask Around

Crowds have their particular type of wisdom. It is laudable to gather all of the facts, but it is also good to listen to others. Do not shy away from asking others what they think.

Other people have the advantage of being emotionally detached from the situation. Thus their advice is more likely to be accurate.

Everyone’s opinion can at least be heard. This includes parents, teachers, friends, former alumni, social media friends, and local businessmen.

You are not obligated to follow their advice, but you might stumble upon something important.

5. Go to a College Fair

College fairs are a great way to learn more about your future Alma Mater. As their name suggests, they are fairs attended by representatives from various academic institutions.

They will give you information regarding their Universities. A presentation includes details about the teachers, curriculum, programs, scholarships, and so on.

This info will be more like a marketing pitch, and none of these representatives will present their University’s problems and pitfalls. However, you should rely on a single source.

Think of yourself as completing a puzzle, gathering every piece until the entire image forms.


It is tough to separate your emotions from your reason while searching for a college.

Being a student will indeed prepare you for your career, but it also involves moving, living arrangements, socializing with others, costs, debt, and many other factors.

In essence, you have to set your emotions aside and think pragmatically about your future.

Use the steps mentioned and every other resource available to select an Alma Mater that will make you and your parents proud.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.