Make friends that share your values and passions. Always keep your door open, even when you have a paper due. Those friendship are priceless, even if college is expensive.
And seriously, consider a gap year before college. Once you are in debt and have to get a job, you never have that chance again.
And take classes that make you want to get up in the morning. If you don't LOVE what you do you will never feel complete at college...or in life.
Students: My biggest piece of advice would be to follow your heart. Visit the campus before deciding. Spend a day on campus and see if it is the right school for you. Once there, don?t be afraid to put yourself out there. Don?t worry about making best friends on the first day. Most of the time the friends you make the first days or weeks of school are not the people you will hang out with for the rest of your time at school; be patient. Finally, call home and let your parents know how you are. They want to hear from you.
Parents: College is one of the most important steps of growing up. Remember to keep your children in mind when they are choosing their school. Although the school might not be what you would have chosen, what might be right for you might not be right for them. Try to give them space, but remind them that you are there for them. Send them a care package. It always feels great to get a letter in the mail to let someone now you are thinking about them.
I encourage students to go visit their interested colleges first before deciding which to attend. It is very important that the student enjoy the environment first in order to start his/her new life away from his/her parents. Secondly, even if it costs a lot to attend a certain college, it is worth the investment. Find scholarships and apply for financial aid to assist you with tuition. It is also very important to do research on colleges before applying.
Explore all of your options - don't limit yourself to places where you are sure you'll fit in! There are so many amazing places and people to be discovered, and if you visit enough schools you are sure to fall in love with one of them. Attend tours and orientations if possible, and ask the colleges for student contacts. You can write to them and ask as many questions about the school as you want - most students will be happy to help you. While at school, get involved! Try something new, whether it's the martial arts club or the school newspaper. You can also get involved in activities you already know and love. Extracurriculars are a great way to make friends. Create a relationship with your dorm RA - they can help you with any problems you may experience, and they are there to help you. Give everything a chance and be open to new experiences and you can't go wrong!
*Stay true to the person you are, while finding the environment that will foster the person you might be.*
Before you start considering which schools you might go to, begin by creating two different but equally important lists. The first list should include 'things that you hope to get out of college.' This list should include things like what major you will have and whether you want to pursue specific athletic or professional goals. These are functional and academic considerations.
Then you should make a list focused on your personality. This list should consist of 'things that make you happy.' When forming your second list, consider what size community you thrive in; whether you like sporting games, volunteering, singing, or political debate; what geographic region you'd like to live in; and whether you value diversity amongst your fellow students.
Both lists are crucial. You cannot focus on what you want out of a school and ignore what you bring to it. College is about learning academically, but it is also about personal growth and discovery. This means not only concentrating on the education and environment at a perspective school, but also considering how a school will help you grow.
I would tell parents and students to not just judge colleges on the facts and statistics but on their atmospheres and the connection you feel with a school. No matter where you choose to go, college is what you make it. Get involved, get to know as many different people as you can, work hard and play hard and make sure you've left a mark on your school when you leave so that you will always be a part of it just like it will always be a part of you. College is as much about life experience and growing up as it is about academics and getting a job so make sure you take the time to enjoy it and really experience it, it goes by fast!
Make sure to select an insitution that allows the student to feel at home and accepted. A setting that permits such rapid integration into the university community will better facilitate the transition to the increased mental rigor of college class and permit students to pursue their interests unecumbered by social issues.
You have to visit a school on your own before you can really get a sense of what going there would be like. Get a plane ticket and book a hotel and go on your own. You get the freedom to make your own choice and build an independent assessment without the unhelpful pressure and commentary from friends and family. It's your education, and your life - so you better get used to responsibility before you're entirely on your own!
Everyone starts their college search process believing they will find the right school and have the great college experience that they?ve heard so much about. I was just like this, but found out quickly this is not true for everyone, and I had made a huge mistake in my choice of schools. I spent my first 3 semesters at Wake Forest University, trying to fit in but knowing deep down this is not where I belonged. After coming to terms with the fact that I would have to start all over through transferring, I became much more in tune to what aspects of a college would suit my needs and interests.
I chose to transfer to Boston College, which I now consider the happiest place on earth. My advice is to make sure you like who as well as what you see on college visits. A campus may be gorgeous, but if all of the students are wearing the same J. Crew shirts and you have never set foot in that store, it is likely not the right place for you. Talking to professors is just as important. Search for passion, socially and academically, in all aspects of campus.
Almost any college can be academically challenging if you make the most of their resources. Most colleges can be fun, too, although commuter schools can make it hard to make friends sometimes. I'd say the most important factor is deciding what is right for you as far as urban/suburban/rural is concerned.
To make the most of your college experience, just GET INVOLVED! Try out for as many activities as you can; you can always quit or go back later if you've signed up for too much or it's not something you're interested in. If you don't sing or dance, go to performances. If you don't play sports, still go to games. It's a way for different types of people to share a common experience, and it really gets you into the school spirit.
Find a place where you can picture yourself on the campus. That is the most important thing. I'm in the process of applying for graduate school in Higher Education because of my undergraduate experience and have been working in College Admission for the year since graduation. Students change their majors an average of three times, so if a student finds a school where they are comfortable and can picture themselves, that is the most important thing.
Firstly, and most importantly, keep an open-mind. You are going to have a ton of information being thrown at you from a thousand different directions. If you pick a "first-choice" too early, you might miss out on a lot of great opportunities. Ultimately, it has to be about what YOU want. Culture at school is a much bigger deal than I thought it would be, and it's different everywhere- so make sure you can really see yourself at the school you're attending.
Once you've make a decision- the first few weeks are crucial. Meeting "friends" before-hand is overrated, but go into the first weeks of college extremely friendly and accepting. You'll hear it hundreds of times - but everyone is nervous. So meet everyone, be awkward, and get connected right off the bat. It'll make the next four years all the more worth it.
Finally, don't forget why you're there. Everyone loves you while you're the partier, until you find yourself failing. However, don't be married to your books- find a happy medium. You'll feel better about yourself.
It is crucial in the college selection process to know what you want in a school. Look at where you've been and what you've done, and carefully examine what has worked and what hasn't. This will help you to know what you should look for in order to succeed. Visiting your prospective schools can be helpful, but it is even more helpful if you stay with a friend who already goes there (if applicable). Getting involved right away will help you to adjust to college life not only because you will make new friends but also because it will keep you busy. One thing I found to be particularly helpful as far as study habits in college is to divide my space. I made certain spaces for studying only and others for relaxing only and I did exceptionally well academically. By staying involved and getting organized with academics you will make the most out of your college experience.
To find the right college, pick the college that best suits the things you strive to complete in college, which doesn't have to be just academics or jobs. It could be finding a new self, enjoying your time in a different setting, different cities, etc.
I would say that the most important thing is visiting the school and making sure you can picture yourself being there and walking around the campus and fitting in.
Parents let your children decide whats best for them, do not force your opinions about what school your children should go to, what they should major in, what activities they should participate in. College is a fantastic time to find oneself and it goes by so quickly. You have an opportunity to grow up and learn about so much of the world through class and just interacting with so many different people. Students take advantage of everything around you at your respective schools, as it truly is one of the greatest times of your life!
find a place that is a good fit for you and your goals.
Go to a school where the professors in your major department are the most welcoming. It makes all the difference.
Since your college is your home for the next four years, you don't just want to find a decent fit. However, there is no way to tell if a college is right for you without really getting a feel for it. I think it is imperative to visit the college during the school year and find a class or two to sit it on. Get a feel for the daily life of those college students, since that will be similar to your daily life for the next four years. Also, if the campus doesn't impress you, that alone might not be a right fit since you'll have to look at it every day. Don't be afraid to ask questions or talk to the students (if they don't look too stressed! stay away from those with exams!). If a student really loves their college, they will want to talk with you and share their experiences out of school pride alone. I love seeing people touring the campus grounds. That is one sign of a student who loves their school. Try to find pros and cons, but also their love for the school.
Any school in the top 40 will have a wide array of diversity that will allow ample opportunity to find ones niche. I think the size and surrounding area of the college are very important.
Find someone who you know who went to the school and ask them all the hard questions especially about the social life and the administration. I've found that people who went to my High School who ask me questions apperciate the responses and I know I can be honest with them. From the group of colleges I selected to visit, the tours all ran together in my mind, but the personality of the tour guides and the people I know who went to those schools stuck out in my mind. I'm an unsual person at my school and It's both good and bad.
My biggest word of advice to students about finding the right college is that you will know when you find your best fit. Though my college was not my first choice initially, I knew that it was were I belonged and where I would thrive. Parents need to set aside their own agendas of prestige or rankings of colleges and let their student pick the best place for them. As for making the most out of college, you need to get involved. You then feel like you are a part of the university, and you can build long-lasting relationships with those who have simialr interests or views.
While applying, don't focus on garnering prestige of a brand-name college. Visit the campus, talk with upperclassmen, get a feel of the campus lifestyle, the academic intensity, then you decide whether or not you want to attend. When you do arrive for freshman year, participate in different activities. Attend those freshmen welcome events, attend those general meetings for clubs, but all the while, learn how to achieve a work-play balance. Make the most out of these four years but don't forget that there is life after college.
In all seriousness, as cliche as it sounds, I would tell students to find a place where they feel at home. However, I would also tell them that this "home" shouldn't be too comfortable. College students should be challenging themselves and stepping outside of the box, as well as their individual comfort zones, while, at the same time, placing themselves in an institution where they feel included.
For parents, I would say to really try their best to let their child make the decision. Although it's coming from your pocketbook, your child is the one who has to live with the decision, not you.
Finding the right college is a huge and difficult choice for anyone. The advice that I would give is to apply to a lot of schools because no school is a gurantee anymore. To find the right one, students and parents should look at all the school has to offer and make the wisest decision based on the entirety, not just academics or athletics.
Stay overnight at the college, away from parents and the all too happy tour guides to really get a feel for the school and what it is actually like. Don't just go to a school for the repuation, find the school that fits you best.
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