8 Aspects to Consider When Choosing A College

Riley_Email_Recruiting
Photo Courtesy: Eric Bugby

By Mariana de Paula, Swimming World College Intern

With the arrival of early signing day, the big question remains: What to consider when making such a huge decision? For those who have not yet made your choice, there are a lot of aspects to look into that can be helpful. This decision shouldn’t be rushed or forced.

Here are 8 aspects of a college can make a difference in the final say:

8. Scholarship

The financial aspect of college can often be an issue. It’s easy to be tempted by great offers, or disappointed by average ones. But when it comes to the long-term achievements, our decisions should never be primarily based on money. Many athletes prioritize the scholarship and are unhappy after just a few months. Financial support is a very important aspect of college, but it isn’t the only one.

7. Academics

Over the first two years, students change majors frequently, so being unsure about your future major should never be a concern. It is not the best pick to choose your whole life based on the idea of a profession you had once. Unless you are completely sure, and have loved this your whole life, than other aspects should speak louder in this decision.

6. Facilities

Photo Courtesy: Deniz Hekmati

Photo Courtesy: Deniz Hekmati

Knowing how many buildings your college has and the types of facilities are a focus of non-athletes, usually. However, it is very important to consider everything that is offered to you in order to reach your best performance in the classroom and in the pool. Most students are not aware of some great facilities their college has, which can place you a step ahead of everyone else.

It is always good to keep in mind that a great gym doesn’t make a fit athlete. Dedication overcomes everything, so it is possible to grow anywhere you wish to.

5. Location

Most athletes take into consideration the distance from their hometown and family when leaving to college. Using demographic information of enrolled students, a study by Ihlanfeldt (1980) had shown that 92 percent of students attended a college within 400 miles of their hometown.

Although it can be very beneficial to stay near, the cultural changes are also part of the college life. Leaving your comfort zone can end up being the best thing you have ever done.

4. Coaching Staff and Athletics  

Men's and Women's swimming and diving vs Kentucky and Tennessee. 11/01/13_Mike Dickbernd

Photo Courtesy: Mike Dickbernd

Studies have shown that when choosing between two or more options, athletes tend to base their final say on a head coach’s reputation. Do some research about your coaches, athletic development, past results and sports medicine before taking a college into consideration. Building a good relationship with your coaching staff is what is going to create the best environment possible for your growth.

3. Recruiting Trip

Recruiting trips can be a very persuasive technique to convince you. Many people use a two-day experience of traveling to your possible school to observe and learn. And in the most cases, this trip is what defines your impression of a school. Recruiting trips can sometimes be a disappointment to all the expectations you had, but most of the times it works in the opposite way. The surprisingly good impact a school has on you on the first time you visit may define your career for life. New ideas come from new adventures, so why not give it a try?

2. Objective Evaluation

Swimmers tend to make challenging decisions; earnestly committing to a lot of effort over the course of the four years. If you are willing to work hard, challenging places can make you improve your career and professional skills, taking you further than you ever thought you could go.

1. Teammates

unc-asheville-team

Photo Courtesy: Alexandra van Dorsten

Some people have the ability to make anywhere feel special.

One thing that I have learned over the years is that the atmosphere of your team is what is going to make everything worth it. They are the ones who will stick with you through the hardest days of Christmas training, they will make it easier to bear all the difficulties along the way and will encourage you when you least expect it. It makes it easy to have someone you can compete against, practice with or learn from, so always consider your future teammates when making your final decision.

Ultimately, your heart should have the final say. As naïve as it sounds, follow your instincts and don’t be afraid to choose whatever makes you the happiest. Success is a consequence of love and effort combined, and happy swimmers are indeed fast swimmers.

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