Game of Thrones and House of Cards fans can step aside because I am convinced that House Hunters is the most dramatic, heart-palpitating television show out there—after all, the couples choosing a house are making a huge decision. But there is a reason we don’t have reality shows about people making just any life decision, like choosing between an iPhone or a Galaxy or the fillings for their Chipotle burrito. When you buy a house you are doing something far greater—you’re choosing a home, just like choosing a college.
Here are a few ways that house hunting and college hunting are similar and some house-hunting tips you can take into your college search.
Location, Location, Location
You can customize a house to make it reflect your style, and you can customize your college years by choosing a variety of classes, activities, and experiences to make it your own. One thing you can’t change about a house or campus is the location. Visit a variety of college campuses to see what environment is the best fit for you—rural, suburban, or urban. Grove City provides a little bit of everything—it’s a residential campus in a cute college town but is just an hour outside of downtown Pittsburgh. Take a virtual tour, or better yet, come visit us and see in person.
Choose several “deal-breakers” that you can’t live without. Just like a future homeowner will not want to compromise on things like number of bedrooms or bathrooms, you should know what aspects of a college are the most important to you. This could be a strong academic program in your major, the opportunity to study abroad, small class sizes, or individual help landing the perfect summer internship or a job after graduation. For me, this was the one-on-one mentorship from Grove City professors who really want you to succeed and find your calling.
Look at the bigger picture
Once you consider your deal breakers, don’t get caught up in the small details. The most fascinating part of House Hunters is watching the couple nearly disregard a great house over cosmetic things: lime green painted walls or slightly too dark granite countertops. These little things are not what makes a house a home—rather it’s how you feel when you’re there and the people you are with. When you’re looking at colleges, try not to be too distracted by the details—the exact dimensions of your dorm room or the particular food they serve in the cafeteria that day. Instead, focus on how you feel when you’re there, the interactions you have, and the relationships you form with the counselors and students you meet. That’s when you know you’ve found the right college for you—it feels like home.