follow your heart!
Visit the campus and search for unbiased views on the college.
Don't pick a school based on where your friends are going. If you had a million dollars (didn't have to work), what would you do? Find something that has to do with that. If you would just play music all day, find a good music program. If you would just talk about politics or religion, find a school with a good politics major or theology department.
Don't just assume that you like or dislike a college from a brochure of from your friends. Go visit them. I would suggest lots of college visits, and not to be afraid of going away from your friends and family. This is a time to find yourself, so look for the place that is right for you. Even if you are "sure" you want to go to one specific college, check out a few more. That way when you end up at that college, you can positively say that it was for you, and not just think so.
wherever you choose to go, really choose to invest yourself there. if you find that the school you choose is not a good fit, don't be afraid to transfer. make the most of opportunities to meet different kinds of people and study abroad or with internships.
invest yourself in your classes, teach yourself how to think. i came into college with a lot of answers and i will be graduating this spring with a lot more questions... i consider this a sign of real learning. college equips you to think creatively about people and problems in the world, and not to jump to conclusions. this leads to a new level of understanding and effectiveness within the community. don't be afraid to play in ambiguity, it's amazing what you can find there.
more than anything, college is a great chance to take time to learn yourself before the world tacks on added responsibilities (this has been a hard lesson for me to learn being so close to my family and being the oldest child). learn yourself and be comfortable with allowing yourself to grow change. learn what you love, and pursue it wholeheartedly... it's a great gift.
Find a school that you feel comfortable at. As the economy is struggling, it might seem that finding the cheapest school is the best one, but don't sacrifice a good education or being somewhere that you really want to be for the cost. Attending a more expensive school is definitely worth it. You may have to work a little bit harder, or find yourself at a job everyday after class, but its worth the extra step.
Imagine this: getting accepted to three colleges, deciding to attend one you did not visit, arriving for Orientation, and hating the college. This is what could have happened to my sister. The main thing my family learned when searching for colleges was to visit a school before you decided to go to it. My sister fell in love with a college she had explored online. She was so glad she decided to visit it because she absolutely hated it.
That's the problem with colleges: they can be so right for some people and so wrong for others. For example, I love the college I attend, but it is completely wrong for my brother. That connects to my advice for making the most of the college experience. The most important aspect is to do something you love. Find the major and extracurricular activities that will make you happy. It no longer matters so much if your parents want you to major in one thing or another, or if they want you to do this particular sport. Do something that will make you happy because you are the only one to blame for unhappiness later in life.
Pray and ask God to see if the College/Univerisity you choose is the right one. You will know when you step on campus if it is or not. The right college may not be the easiest, but if you stick with it, then something big will come out of it (nice job, a partner, a friendship or whatever else). To make the most out of your experience is to just go out and get involved. Get involved in volunteering, extracaricular activities, the things that are going on at your campus and make friends. Don't be afraid to go out and make friends. If they can't accept you for you, then they won't be good friends and you won't need them. Just be you and let others be them and learn from each other. Don't change for anyone and don't let anyone else change either (unless it is for the better) because people are people and we need each other to live.
PIck a college where the social atmoshpere
My biggest regret about college was choosing such an expensive one before I really knew what I wanted to study. I left school in debt of over $100,000 to lenders (both private and federal). Its tough as a high school kid to not go to one of those "fancy names" and stay at a local college until you figure out what you want to do- but I really wish I had. Once you know what you want to study, find your school then- it saves big bucks (example: 2 years at a state/community school = less than one at most others) Its just a status thing with the name and in the future, no one really cares- a degree is a degree.
Speak with students who have a variety of experiences at the school: athletes, student council members, etc. and try to find both students who love the school and those who are unsatisfied. Speak with professors and custodial or food service staff to get an idea about the attitude and life style of students at the school. Stay overnight on the campus. Speak with alumni. Attend classes! Explore the surrounding area-- ask students where all the "hot spots" are around town. Speak with residents of the city to find out what neighbors think about the school and its students. Ask students questions to assess how they have grown and changed since they started attending the school.
Go where you want, not where other people think you should. Be willing to change your mind.
Prayer is the most important factor when deciding on a college, whether one is spirtual and prays to a heavenly being or one just meditates and thinks quietly by themselves. It is also important for one to get input from friends, parents, and mentors on where to go to school. One also should visit schools to better understand the campus and to ask students about the school. Students of a college or university are often more helpful than admissions counselors simply because they're truthful about their feelings regarding the school.
The best way to get the most out of the college experience is by finding a way to balance the academic and social life. Academics are extremely important in college and should take priority. However, one should also take advantage of the extra-curricular activities the school offers and spend time off-campus with friends so that he or she can fully grasp the college experience. The friends one makes at college are often for life; one should really work on developing these friendships in order to fully enjoy college. Students should also study with friends, thereby getting both the academic and social aspects of college in one setting.
Visit the school multiple times before making a decision. Talk to current students and find out what campus life is like. For example, find out what kind of place campus is on the weekends and what kinds of activities there are to do on campus. Find out if having a car on campus is necessary in order to find something to do. Find out if the school offers support in finding a job after college and if it holds career fairs. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions regarding what is important to you, no matter how small or detailed your questions might be. In the end, those little details play a big role in your satisfaction with your college experience.
Visit the schools that you are interested in. Ultimately, you will get a sense that one feels right; that is probably the school that will be a good fit for you. Weigh your career options, extracurricular interests, and social life and the schools' respective strengths and weaknesses. Finally you will have to choose the one that sits with you.
It is incredibly important to consider career choice before making a college decision. The cost of a private liberal arts education is hugely inflated, and while the experience is enriching and helpful, there still comes a point when the cost of tuition is too much to pay for that (admittedly valuable) experience. If you are absolutely set on a private liberal arts college, I would only reccomend attending if you are able to receive an excellent scholarship - or if you are certain that your post-college career will be able to support your student loan payments. If you expect to either attend graduate school or enter a service-oriented career (such as ministry, social work, teaching, or non-profit), your money will be best spent on a less expensive institution.
A related piece of advice for those who are unsure of their college major is to look at the job market during sophomore year of college. Perhaps you were considering majoring in painting, but in your job market research, you realize you would not find work in that field. You see, however, that you could find a job if you majored in graphic design - go for that!
Parents: Start saving early! The less your student has to work to pay for his/her education, the more enjoyable and beneficial it will be both socially and academically. In terms of finding the "right" school for you child - let them decide. They know what they want, and if they choose the "wrong" school, they can always transfer.
Students: Take it seriously, but have fun! Grades are important, but you don't want to look back and wish you had participated in the choir or basketball team after all. In terms of finding the "right" school, don't be afraid to move away from your home town/state. You will gain so much from a completely new experience - it is more rewarding than you could imagine! Someday you may end up wishing you'd been brave enough to attend that faraway school.
Choosing a college can be incredibly stressful. Please realize it's more important to find a school that fits you. Forget finding "the perfect school" because it doesn't exist. Narrow down the field to your top 3 or 4 (or ten in my case) and do an overnight visit on a random weekend. Talk to the students about professors, workload, extra requirements and fees. These conversations and time spent in the dorm will be your the best indication of whether the school is right for you. The thing to remember is that there are wonderful opportunities at any school if you are willing to take the time to seek them out. I began my freshman year with a declared double major of biology and secondary education. I finished that major in four years while also participating in activities that I never knew were options. I was a walk-on for the varsity swim team and played flag football. I took an art course one semester where every other weekend was spent at a new art venue in Boston. I spent five months teaching English and researching a tropical plant in Honduras . Just dream big and make it happen!
Keep your options open. Don't judge a school by its look but rather get information about the school from the students. The students will be truthful of what their experience is and how the school is in their opinoin. Also, don't go by one student's opinoin but a few of them. And don't just look at the school but look at the surrounding area, the community around the school (i.e. if lots of the students settle down in that area after graduating than it reflects on the schools sense of community). And as hard as it is, don't let money be a decision maker, the money will come somehow if you are in the right place for you.
College is an experience that will change your life. It's a big choice, but it's not the end of the world. My advice would be to pick a school that will allow you to expand your way of thinking, challenge you academically, and provide a social venue that is conducive to forming meaningful relationships. Talk to students at the school, walk around the campus, attend a class, and follow your instincts. In the end, there may not be only "one school" that would be right for you. College is what you make of it: you can take an amazing school and turn it into a mediocre experience, or you can take a mediocre school, get involved, take initiative, and have the time of your life. It may take you a while to settle in, but soon, school will be what you call home. Take the time to reach outside youself: make good friends, ask yourself some hard questions, ask a professor to meet you for lunch, go to on campus events and lectures, and appreciate it while you're there. Pick a school where you can grow, and then go and take advantage all the opportunities!
My biggest advice is that if you find a school that you LOVE, go there, regardless of the price or even whether they have the major you are looking for. Don't let money be the biggest deciding factor. If it's the right place for you and you know it, everything will work out. There are plenty of less expensive schools I could have gone to, but I chose a more expensive school where I thought I would be happier. Yes, I accrued a somewhat significant amount of student loan debt, but I'm happy with the education and experience I received. Enrolling at my school was the best decision I'd ever made, and if I had to do college all over again, I'd enroll at the same school. If it feels right, go with your gut. Don't let logistics cause you to change your mind.
Once you are at that school, do everything you can to learn about it: its history, its environment, its people, its mission. Talk to people, especially upperclassmen and professors. This will help you more than anything to find your niche. And of course, get involved in teams, clubs, and organizations.
I would advise both parents and students who are preparing for college, to take your time looking. Start early and make sure you set aside days for as many visits and overnight stays as possible. It is extremely important that the student feel comfortable in the environment and can picture themselves being happy there. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions that matter to you. Do not be afraid you will seem bothersome or pushy, or worry you have too many questions. Find a college that welcomes you when you visit- you should not feel like you are an intruder if you sit in on a class, or that a you are an annoyance to a professor, advisor, or host student. Make a point to meet with professors in your major, and talk to other students in that field to get a feel for the program and its credibility. Above all, make a point not to settle for a college where you will be unhappy, and do not be afraid to go for things which seem out of your reach. Determination is something colleges deem very promising in students. Be confident, know what you want, and go for it.
Find affordable schools that match what you are looking for. Visit as many schools as possible. Once you finally select one, get involved as much as you can. Meet lots of people and don't spend too much time studying. But put enough effort into your studies to do well. Play sports, join clubs, attend sporting events, serve in the community. Don't shut yourself in your dorm all year. Parents, let your children discover who they are on their own. Keep tabs on them but let them be themselves.
I would advise going to the campus and actively speak to students attending there while in the selection process. Also, talk to professors and sit in classes. I would also advise finding a school with a wide range of majors because it is likely you will change yours and it is no fun to change schools just because they don't have the major you want to change to.
Focus on the schools that have extra-curricular activities and majors that you are passionate about and an environment that feels good to your. If you are not happy about where you are and what you are doing, and you fail to get connected you will miss out on one of the most important periods of growth in your life.
The advice that I would give to students is to make sure that the college has the acedemics and the extra curricular activities that you are looking for. While you are in college I would encourage students to get involved in stuff so you can meet people and get the most out of your college experience. Most importantly students need to make sure that they balance their school work and social/free time. Dont be the type who just plays all the time and doesnt get any work done but also dont be the type of person that stays in their room all the time and does work. You shoud have a good balance of both. The advice I would give to parents is not to dicourage your kids from going to the school that they want to go to. Let them live their dream the best that they can.
Make sure you visit the campus and talk to as many students there as possible. This is the best way to really get a feel for what life it like at a given school.
Don't just look at "name brand schools." The college I attend wasn't my top choice because I had never heard about it, but it is the PERFECT school for me, as I've found. It is also incredibly academically challenging, although I assumed it not to be when I first heard of it. Don't think that only "Ivy League" schools have good educations. Go after what you want for size, major, and location. Make sure they have extracurriculars that you like, because you will be spending all your time at school. Do not just apply where your friends are applying.. college is a place to find yourself away from the friends you've grown up with for the past 18 years. Remember that college should be enjoyable, but also a place to get an education, not to party. You're paying for the classes and the institution, so you should be getting something out of it!
Find somewhere that you can be yourself and you feel comfortable. One that has a major (or two, or three) that interest you and extracurriculars that you think you'd like to participate in. Find a school that you can picture yourself going to and you think you'll be happy at. Look at a selection of schools that vary in their student body size, cirriculum, activities, and rules. Look at schools 500 miles away as well as in your backyard...you never know what you're going to love! Also, try them out....go to an overnight, book a visit; it might look different on than it did on the rack!
During your freshman year, GET INVOLVED! There's no better way to make friends and meet new people and learn to love your school even more than going out and doing things. Take up a sport, an instrument, join a new club or start a new hobby, just get involved.
If your school isn't all you thought it would be, remember, its OKAY to transfer. You aren't obligated to love your school, so don't be afraid to leave if it doesn't suit you.
Look at all options before deciding on one
Don't rule out location or cost if you know going there will make you or your son/daughter happy. If they are not happy then they probably wont excel and the $40.000 or < was a waste. Study what will make you happy too, because most degrees don't mean anything without a MA anyways.
i would advise parents to let there child visit whatever schools intrigue them and have the field of study they are thinking about. also pray very hard about where you want to go. and the most important advice i can give is to have your child spend the weekend at the school, you get a taste of the community and campus life hat a one day tour does not give you.
I would say they should definitley visit and spend a night at each one of the colleges they are interested in. Don't be afraid to ask questions, attend a class, or talk with coaches, students and professors. To make the most of your college experience you really need to get involved in the school, play a sport, join a club or extraccurricular activity. GO to classes, this is a big one, it will help you to do better in school, meet people and get to know your professors. On this note, talk with your professors after class, ask questions and participate in class.
When you're looking for the right college, you just can't settle for less than what's right for YOU. Do your research, find out about the majors the school offers, the quality of dorm-life, and the social activities available. Not interested in a party school? Cross it off your list! Looking for a school close to the city? Make it a point to visit one! It's so important that you visit the schools you're interested in, and have a list of things you're looking for in a school. Take advantage of te chance to stay overnight at a school. It will give you a feel of how the school runs, what the food is like, and how you fit in with other students and professors. Try to stay on a day when they're not hosting hundreds of other prospective students, though, so you can get a good idea of what a "regular" day at school is like! Most of all, have fun when you visit! Think about your decision, talk it over, and take your time deciding. This is your future we're talking about here!
The pre-college months are pretty much like a tornado: sudden, mind-blowing and potentially destructive. In order to find the right school you need to know what you're looking for, otherwise once you get there you might self-destruct.
Many people look at college as a chance to get away. My advice is to not pick something so drastically different from where you are from that you get lost in the social and culteral aspect of the school, completely ignoring your education in the long run. Find a school you can familiarize with in at least one way.
While you can't ignore your education, there is something you absolutely have to do at college or you will lose your mind (it's part of the "college experience"). You have to do something CRAZY. Go out instead of studying the night before an exam, or go skinny-dipping in the winter. Just try it once! Never has a student looked back ten years later and said, oh I wish I had taken more notes in college. No. They see the times they spent having some crazy fun as the best years of their lives.
Commit to your studies, but set a time frame, so you can experience life outside of what you are used to, or outside of your immediate family. Stay connected with relatives and friends. Do not overextend yourself. Keep all your quarters for laundry!
As a prospective student, research a few colleges that you're really interested in on-line. Consider not only the academic aspects, but also those of location, student life, and the types of students that you'll be interacting with on a day-to-day basis. College is not just about academics, you're looking for a whole package here, especially since this will probably be the first time you'll be entering the adult world: living away from home, with new friends in a new place. The potential for growth (academically, spiritually, emotionally) is immense if you choose the right place for you.
Then visit the colleges that seem the most attractive to you. See if they're all the claim to be. Pay attention to how welcoming they are with students, and talk with the professors, and especially current students. If possible, stay with a current student overnight or during a weekend to try and get a fuller picture of the "college experience."
Parents, ask lots of questions, and remember the whole picture as you help your students. Ultimately, college is more than a time of academic growth, though that should always be the primary"focus.
The best advice I can give to parents and students about finding the right college and making the most out of the college experience is to make every decision with great thought and, when applicable, prayer. Never make a decision based on only the parents' or student's thoughts, rather seek advice from guidance counselors, trusted teachers, spiritual advisors, etc. I found during my college search that prayer and other's advice helped me greatly in choosing my college. I also strongly advise researching and touring schools before making any decisions. Most college and universities offer overnight previews where prospective student are able to get a guinuine feel for the school. Also, when touring, ask students what they think of the college or university; students are usually more honest about the social and academic sides of the schools than paid tour guides.
While in college, I found that I was able to make the most out of my experience by balancing my social and academic life . Additionally, I strongly advise taking full advantage of everything one's school has to offer:;clubs, bands, cummunity service projects, and the like can really help new students find their niche in college.
I would suggest to parents and their students that they should look for the college that has the best combination of programs and extra-curricular activities that interest the student. Academic rigor should be a consideration, but there is a lot more to college than merely academic learning. Students need to be comfortable in the groups and activities that are presented to them, and be able to readily connect with other students on campus. It is especially helpful for new students to take a personal tour of the campus given by a current student who knows the campus - to receive an inside opinion rather than simply the push from the admissions staff. Walking around a campus also gives the student a taste of what other students are like, as well as the general sense and feeling of the campus - there is something different in visiting a campus yourself rather than simply reading about it.
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