Cornell, Swarthmore or Berkeley? What's a High Schooler to Do? : Blog Of The Nation Every year, high school seniors fret over which colleges to apply to. Hopefully, sites like Unigo will help make the decision a bit easier.
NPR logo Cornell, Swarthmore or Berkeley? What's a High Schooler to Do?

Cornell, Swarthmore or Berkeley? What's a High Schooler to Do?

Northwestern University. Check out that ivy! Source: rendomthoughts hide caption

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Source: rendomthoughts

Every year, deciding what colleges to apply to, and which one to finally attend, causes headaches (ulcers) for high school students, and their parents, across the country. The pressure (competition) is staggering these days — SAT scores (merit scholar), GPA (valedictorian), athletic achievements (Olympian), community service (rescue worker). And we don't get the benefit of a gap year like our European counterparts. It's a decision we're forced to make at 17, and it affects the rest of our lives.

When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to go on a college road trip with my dad. We visited 18 campuses in 4 days. In the end, my decision on where to apply boiled down to aesthetics: whichever ones had Gothic architecture and the most ivy. No joke, that was it. My future literally hinged on a few slabs of concrete and pretty vines. Since then, I'd like to say that my decision-making abilities have improved, but the verdict's still out.

So to better aid this year's crop of high school seniors, here are two unique college guides that may prove helpful:

Radar's worsts list, which includes categories for the ugliest campus, most degenerate student body, and most ironically-named Christian college.

Unigo, a "place for high school students to find out what life is really like at America's colleges, and to make friends to help them find the school that's right for them."

What colleges will you apply to? How did you make your decision? And if you're looking for distraction from your applications, check out what's going on with Title IX, the SATs, college tuition, and pets in dorms.