Monday, February 24, 2014

A List of Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me

As the college acceptance season begins the hardest part of senior year hits—where do I go to school? Choosing a school was really hard for me.  I was accepted into some pretty good schools, but they were all so different that I struggled to make a decision.  Reflecting on my struggles, I decided to compile a list of things that I wish someone had told me two years so that I could help ease the stress of the decision process for others. 

1)   Visit the campus and make sure you like it

 A school may sound really good on paper, but once you visit the campus, you may realize that it is too sprawled out, or isn’t exactly what you were expecting.  Be sure to check out all different types of spaces from dorms to libraries to restaurants—you’ll be spending a lot of time in these places over the next four years!

2)   If the weather is bad, visit again.

Bad weather may leave you with a negative impression.  Be sure to visit the campus a second time when the weather is better.  You may be surprised to find how much the weather can change your impression of a school.

3) Stuck between several schools? Make a pros and cons list

It may sound kind of dorky, but it can actually be pretty helpful.  Writing down the pros and cons helps you see what you value most in a school and what you can’t live without.  As you start to write you’ll begin to see the differences between the schools. 

4)   Don’t be afraid to contact current students to get their perspective

It may seem pretty daunting, but don’t be afraid to ask current students about their experiences! We loved to be asked about our college experience because there is so much to tell.  Students will be able to give you a realistic feel for the school that the admissions office can’t always provide. 

5) Consider the entire package

Even though you are going to college to get a degree, academics are not going to be your entire collegiate life.  Look for programs that interest you outside of the classroom.  Interested in volunteering?  Check out the school’s volunteer programs.  Ask about local attractions or campus traditions to get a feel for the social aspect as well. 

6)   Make sure the school has the programs you are interested in 

Interested in biomedical engineering or creative writing? Make sure that the school not only offers these specific programs but also other programs you may be interested in.  After your first semester you may change your mind, so make sure that you have several different options to choose from. 

7)   Ask lots of questions 
 If you have questions, ask them. There is no such thing as stupid questions—the more you know about a school the more capable you are to decide if it’s the place for you.    

8)   Don’t pick a school just because your friends are going there

Making new friends is part of the fun of college.  Your friends from home will always be there for you, but challenge yourself and branch out.  You’ll be glad you did. 

9) It’s OK to change your mind
            You may have had your heart set on one school for years, but after touring another you may realize that the new school is the place for you.  Chose the school that makes you happy even if that is a school you threw on your application list last minute. 

10) In the end, go with your gut feeling…it wont let you down!

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