In choosing a college one of the most important things is to find a college that fits with your life-style and beliefs. At Grove City College I was able to find a niche in the school. It is a good place to get involved in many of the extra-curriculars: theatre, music, literature, the college newspaper, and Greek life are several of the things that I was able to be involved with. The teachers, also, are important in choosing a school. It is necessary to find a school where the teachers are involved and experienced in their field. They are an invaluable resource in finding a job, or advice on internships. In choosing a college the most important factor is choosing a campus that offers many extra activities so that the students may be well-rounded individuals and able to make an impact in the world.
My advice to parents and students trying to select the correct college for them would be to try to spend time just walking around the campus while class is in session and observe how the students, staff, and faculty interact with each other. Don't get me wrong, academics and extra-curriculars and values are extremely important, but so often we spend so much time focusing on a school's credentials that we forget that it has a personality as well. Remember, it is that personality you will be living with for the next four years. That is no little thing. And don't forget to make the most of your college experience! Work hard AND play often. You will regret it if you wake up after four years only to discover that younever left your dorm room or library, but never forget that you are there to learn.
My advice is that everyone is open to new experiences and possibilities. The students have to choose the school that they feel is best suited for them, and while the parents should help in the process, they should not make the decision for the student. A student can make the most of the college experience by being involved in a variety of activities on campus. They should not be afraid to make new friends who could be different from them and to step out of their comfort zone. They should try new things but keep up their previous hobbies. They should be open-minded and willing to learn, not only in academics, but about the world and other people. One of the main things a student should do is remember they only have a couple of years, so they should make the best of their college experience.
The most important thing about finding the right college is finding the right people. If you go to a college, looking only at its financial costs, academic rigors, and cultural oppourtunites, but don't find out what sort of people go there, you have made a big mistake. All of those things are very important, but what will really make or break your college experience are the people you will be spending those years with. These are the people you will be eating with, sleeping with, and spending counless hours studying with for the next four years. They will influence you for the good or lead you down a path you never wanted to go. Find a college full of people that you want to be like someday and then figure out the little details. And get ready to meet some of the greatest people of your life.
When you attend college, you get just a glimpse of how the big the world is and how many different types of people there are. However, you come to realize that there are many people like you out there too. For example, I was only one of the few devout Christians at my high school. When I got to college, I was comforted by the fact that there are so many people working toward the same goal that I have - to love, serve, and obey the Lord! It made me feel not quite so alone. It has been a valuable experience that I would never trade. I now have gained much confidence in myself and in my faith. I feel like I am being prepared to live life after college much better than I would have been if I hadn't attended college, especially such a challenging and rewarding college such as Grove City.
First, take a deep-breath and relax. This is such an exciting time in your life, so don't be stressed or worried. Throw away all the stigmas and expectations of attending an ivy league school. Instead, look at you. Who are you? What do you love most about life? Find a school that matches you. To be honest, there are many schools where you can get a great education, so finding the right college is all about falling in love. Fall in love with the classes; fall in love with the campus. When you fall in love with a school, then you don't mind the small things that may annoy you. No school is perfect and if you don't fall in love with your school then you won't be happy. You deserve to be happy. So find a place where you can love, laugh, and live. Smile and jump in!
Deciding to go to a four year college is a big step and can be an exciting adventure. If I could go back and give myself some advice, I would definitely remind myself not to let fear stop me from trying new things. College presents students with so many great opportunities that we may never have again. I would tell myself to look around and realize that once this time is over, I will most likely have other responsibilities that will not allow me to do everything I can do now. Take advantage of every opportunity! Years from now, when I look back on my four years of college, I don't want to be disappointed that I was too scared to try something new. Take on the adventure and don't be afraid of failure. Sometimes, failing can be the best way to learn.
Make sure that you don't go to a college just based on one factor. Examine the college in all facets. Make sure you can afford it, you like the location and it has the programs you want. Do your research and don't be afraid to ask people that go there what they think of it, that's where you get the real answers, not from the college literature. Make sure that college is a place that can impact you not just academically, but also in your personal life and help you become the person you want to be. If the college is not going to do that, then you might as well simply enter the real world and begin there. College is a time to grow up and learn, make sure the place you pick is going to help you do both, not just one or the other.
Before applying to and visiting different colleges, I made up a list of essentials in terms of what I wanted to find in a college. Ask yourself what you consider indispensible in a college experience--public or private, high or low academic focus, a football team, a specific major, a certain musical ensemble, etc. Know the things you can't live without, be committed to finding those things, and go from there. Past that, I would recommend that you follow your instincts. On paper, my top three choices seemed about the same. When I came to visit my school, I was able to get a good feel for what campus and community life was like. My heart said, "Yes, Julie, I can call this place home." So, I came.
Although I am only a year and a half into my college career, I have loved every minute of it. At Grove City, I learn so much and I feel well prepared for life after college. The professors are helpful and caring, and they give me hope as a future educator that it is indeed possible for me to have an impact on the lives of my students. I know that for a teacher, a degree is a must, and the classes that I'm taking give me information that will actually be relevant to what I plan on teaching later in life. Even though the schoolwork is diffiicult, it is always worth it. I have also met amazing friends there who I know will be a part of my life for many years to come.