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There are many factors that you will want to consider when you are deciding on what college to go to in America. You need to think about academics, athletics, facility standards, season schedule, location, finances and relationship with the coach. These are the main aspects that will affect your college career.
First of all, you need to think about what kind of path you would like to go down in terms of academics and athletics. It is good to start thinking about what you would like to major in once you get to college. You don't actually have to decide on your major until your second year of college, but you might want to have an idea of what you want to do because you don't want to end up at a college that doesn't offer the major that you want. Having that in mind, you will also need to think about what level of sport you are trying to reach for. Are you aiming for an NCAA Division II school, or Division I? Would you like to join a school with a good sporting reputation, and perhaps the pressure that comes with maintaining that good reputation? Or would you rather go to a school that may not be ranked, putting less pressure on to your game and adding more fun, but perhaps not challenging you enough?
In addition to thinking about what level of sport you would like to compete at, you may also want to consider the season schedule. Take a look at their current season schedule, and see where and what colleges they play against. Perhaps you would like to go to a college that travels more so that you can experience many different states in America. Typically, colleges with larger budgets travel further and travel more.
This budget can also play into the “standard of facilities” factor. Perhaps going to a school with better facilities will help you further your education. Also take into consideration the actual quality of the facilities, rather than just the quantity, because smaller universities can prove to be much nicer than large universities with more facilities. It all depends on what you are looking for, the experience you want to gain and what kind of education you want.
In our 'Keep an Open Mind' article there are also some very important factors to consider when choosing a college. Don't have your mind set on one place, because you might be surprised at what other states have to offer. When deciding on a location, perhaps you should think about climate, culture, topography, and distance to the ocean. All of these factors are influenced by your own personal opinion. It is an important decision to make because you will be living there for the next four years of your life.
An extremely important factor, in my opinion, is finance. What can you afford? What type of financial package are you aiming for? Going to a better academic or athletic school means that it is more likely to be financially challenging to attend. However, that's where scholarships come in. Rather than just aiming to get a sports scholarship, you should also aim to get some form of academic scholarship and therefore improve your over all financial package. The scholarships that you may receive definitely plays an important role in choosing which college you will attend.
Last but not least, the relationship with your potential coach is extremely important. There is nothing worse than turning up to your new college and not getting along with your coach at all. You need to build up a relationship with your coach by emailing and talking on the phone, so that you can build up your trust and respect for him/her. Your coach is a very important person in your college career because he/she acts as a mentor. In a way, your coach is the one who is meant to look after you because he/she brought you over from your home country, and therefore he/she should feel some sort of responsibility for you. However, you don't want an over protective, extremely competitive coach that doesn't allow you to socialise at night.
Once you have taken all of these factors into consideration, then you will be able to narrow down your options and decide on the perfect college for you.
By Mika Deane