Consider every number you can find, compare rankings, make lists, add up the costs, and count the amenities; in the end, your college decision will still be less than logical.
Can you guess the number one reason students tell us they choose Lipscomb? It’s not Nashville, not great academics, not the faculty or even scholarships. They say, “it just feels right.”
The college you choose should “just feel right,” but here’s the thing: every admissions office in the country is working full-time to influence how you feel about their institution. You are presently the target of carefully designed multi-channel marketing campaigns, because in the end, we admissions folks are betting that your college choice will largely be an emotional one.
Maybe you think you’re above that, but I bet you’ve done at least one of these very emotional things:
Eliminated a great school from your list because you didn’t like something about their website (those colors were gross!)
Applied to a school because you like their football or basketball team (and you’re not an aspiring college athlete)
Talked to a rep at a college fair because they were cute (be honest)
Googled a school you’d never heard of after they sent you a cool brochure (it looked like origami and smelled like lavender!)
Refused to consider any school without a swimming pool (it’s tough to study until you’ve had a cool dip and time in a sauna)
You can probably think of a few more. The examples above are silly, but you get the idea: it’s easy for something that has no real bearing on the quality of your education or your satisfaction as a student to influence your college decision. College is a big deal (a big expensive deal), and too important of a choice to make on a misplaced emotional whim. That doesn’t mean your choice won’t be emotional (remember why most students choose Lipscomb?), but it does mean you need to give yourself more reliable emotional information than what comes from marketers or grows from your own preconceived ideas.
One of the best ways to do this is to visit the schools on your short list. The buildings, the food, and the people will all be there for you to see and experience as they are. Even better, you can probably talk with some current students and faculty about the academic and community environment of the institution. These experiences, combined with your more logical college research, may just be enough for you to feel confident that a school really does “just feel right.”