female wearing checkered overalls covers her eyes, picking a university

Avoid Picking a University for the Wrong Reason


Picking a university is a big decision. After all, this is where you are going to be spending the next four years of your life. For many people, this is where they build lasting friendships and professional connections. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right school. You may regret it if one of these five factors plays a vital part in your decision:

Mom and Dad Went There

Sure, family traditions are great, but it’s important to realize that because one or both of your parents went somewhere does not mean you also have to go there. It might take courage to break the tradition of attending a specific school, especially if your grandparents, parents, siblings, and other relatives all went there. Ultimately, though, just because it’s a good fit for others does not mean it’s right for you.

Your Significant Other is Going There

Following your boyfriend or girlfriend is not a good idea. While it might seem like this person is perfect for you now, many high school relationships do not last. Even if it does last, the school may not be what you are looking for. There is nothing wrong with attending the same school as your partner if it is a good fit for you both. However, never allow that to be the reason that you pick a university. A nearby school or a long-distance relationship might be a better option.

Long Way From Home

Yes, finding independence is important for students. However, don’t pick a school simply because it’s on the opposite side of the country. For many students, being a few hours from home allows them just as much independence as a school that’s thousands of miles from home.

Also, don’t choose a university that’s close enough for you to live at home. You may regret that decision. Especially if you feel like you’re missing out on the opportunities your classmates enjoy.

Low Cost

While it is important to consider the cost of post-secondary, don’t choose a school because it’s cheaper. If your dream school is expensive, look for scholarships, loans, work opportunities, and other ways that allow you to go.


Sure, it’s great to say that you went to a university that’s won several national championships, but that shouldn’t be the only reason you enroll there. Even schools with great sports teams have rebuilding years. Plus, while attending sporting events is fun, you are there for your education. If the school doesn’t fit your academic needs, then it’s not worth your time or money.

Picking a university is not to impress someone else. Sure, a degree from an Ivy League school or another highly-selective university is impressive, but even a degree from a prestigious school is not a guarantee of your dream job right out of post-secondary. Choose a school because it fits your needs — not just because it looks impressive to prospective employers or to brag about it.

Of course, many of these factors play a part in your decision, but it’s important to not allow them to be the sole reason for picking a university. The good news, though, is that if you do make the mistake of picking a university for the wrong reason the first time, you can later transfer somewhere that is a better fit.

Are you looking for more? Check out Choosing Where to Apply: Which University is for Me?