College rankings are a joke. Sure, there are better schools than others in terms of raw academics. Princeton is better than some Podunk state school, but chances are you won’t get into Princeton or a comparable University (Hate to break it to ya…). In fact, if you don’t get into a Top 10 or 20 university, the rankings are virtually useless.
As Aaron Clarey says, it’s not about the university, it’s about the major.
With that concept in mind, you want to choose a university that is accredited (duh), affordable, offers the major you want, close to home and offers a good social life. The best option is a large, state school. Preferably your flagship state college.
If you’re reading this it means you probably want to have a good social experience during college, but also want to have a great job out of college. In that case, it’s state school’s all the way.
Some state schools are better than others. Schools like University of Michigan and Virginia are some of the best public schools in the country—in fact, University of Virginia offers the most bang for your buck of any school. You’ll have a great social life, but the programs offered there in things like Business and Engineering are on par with many elite private institutions.
I went to school in Ohio though I’m from Maryland. I got a scholarship that made tuition virtually the same as what it would cost to attend Maryland in-state, but had I not received that scholarship, there was no reason not to stay in-state.
I know a lot of you have dreams of going to a particular ‘party’ school. The truth is that all big-state schools have a good party scene.
Moreover, picking a school for the party scene is a retarded idea. For example, Wisconsin has a great party scene (so I’ve heard). But if you’re from Iowa, why not just go to University of Iowa? There’s going to be girls, booze and bars whatever school you choose. Make the smart move and stay in-state.
In fact, staying in-state can easily save you $10,000 a year on tuition! (Although with getting in-state residency, you can save that money for 3 years of tuition).
Being close to home is also underrated. Having to fly home for the holidays is a drag. Moreover, having family around will come in handy.
My first semester at college I contracted mononucleosis. I felt like utter shit for two weeks, and had to take it easy for another few. I sucked it up and went to all my classes and did just fine. That said, it would have been nice to live at home and be taken care of by family, while not having to worry about things like laundry and food.
I know when you’re 18 you want to be independent. Truth is, if your parents are paying for school and your rent, you’re not independent at all. Why not just stay near home?
This article is an excerpt from my latest book Grades & Girls. You can check it out on Amazon.