I would advise parents to be intimately involved in the college search process with their child. It is important to understand the needs and wants of your child when choosing the right college. I would therefore advise parents and students to decide what type of school they are looking for before visiting colleges by considering such characteristics as class sizes, accademic standards, campus activites, available financial resources, social life, distance from home, surrounding community, etc. This requires a fair amount of research to answer these questions. However, by taking into account all of these characteristics you can ensure that the choice that you make is the right one. Once the choice has been made, I would advise students to make the most of their college experience by being open and accepting to change. Entering the college environment can be scary and exciting at the same time. It is important to get involved and experience the resources that your college has to offer you. Many of the relationships made in college both socially and accademically will last a lifetime. Therefore it is important for parents to support their children and encourage them to explore their college environment to the fullest.
The most important thing to remember is that choosing the right college is all about fit. The right fit will not only be based on personal background and interests, but other considerations such as geographical and finanacial. Although it sounds silly, making an Excel bar chart with all of the contributing factors may help to clarifiy the situation. This not only quantifies each school, but also gets you thinking about which factors have more or less draw. But choosing the school with the right fit is only the first step. Much more important is making the most of your time while you are in school, no matter where you wind up. Being involved in campus life not only connects you to your campus, but also looks great on your resume. Less officially sanctioned goings on are another great opportunity to really experience college life, as long as you use good judgement in what aspects of these events you choose to participate. Choosing the right school is overwhelming. So is making the most of your time at your chosen institution. Be as open and spontaneous as you can without sacrificing your academics. Good things will follow those who look for them.
It is essential to take into account all of the positives and negatives of each school in question when determining which school to attend. To ensure that the right choice is made for the student it is important to place proportional emphasis on all aspects of the decision making process. Undue emphasis regarding financial decisions, athletic decisions, friends/boyfriends/ girlfriends, although important factors to consider, must not be conducive to the final decision. College is a place to learn not only the subjects of academia but also the subject of self, it is a place to grow and become the person one will be for the rest of their life. In saying this I stress the importance of future. In making the decision about which school to attend it is necessary to imagine how each school can shape the individual in the future regardless of cost, sports recruiting or many of the other irrelevant basis for decision. When it comes down to it, each student must decide for themselves where they feel most comfortable, can achieve their highest goals and are able to balance all of their ideas, interests and desires to become the person that they want to be.
There is a feeling. The one that makes your stomach turn, but also makes you feel happy and excited. For many this is the feeling one feels after visiting the "right" college. It has the right setting, class sizes, morals, professors, and academic integrity. So this is the moment to take the leap. Interview (scary but incredibly worthwhile), network, sit in on a class, have lunch with current students (many are excited to talk to parents and prospective students), talk, talk, and talk some more. In order to get a fulfilling college experience, I encourage students to take risks and challenge oneself in college. This is a great opportunity to not only increase one's intellect but to also learn more about oneself so why not try something new. Say you have always had your heart set on being a doctor and are strictly going that route. Why not take an art class? Maybe you have never been an artist, but gaining a different perspective could be extremely beneficial. Life is so built around expecting the unexpected. With the ability to appreciate the unexpected, won't life just be that much better? I definitely think so! Always follow your gut!
Everything truly depends on what you're looking for in college. When I started, all I cared about was playing college hockey. After a year, seeing how my grades suffered, and realizing what I actually wanted to do in my life, I did a complete 180 and made school my number one priority. I created my own major, knowing what I wanted to do after college within the global financial realm. The liberal nature of the school provided me with the intellectual capacity to pursue my interests aggresively. I was able to stand out, focus on my economic and social interests and interact with Professors in a way many never witness. I liked my experience because of this, and I enjoyed the school for allowing me to mature at the level and speed at which I did I do however, wish the weekends were more eventful and exciting. I felt restricted in terms of having a social-life that I was comfortable with. Friends in beautiful locations out west or down south appreciated their locality, whereas I regreted cold and isolated upsate New York. Nonethless, I made the most of my experience and am more than content with decision.
I would take into account the present financial state of the nation in deciding whether to stay in-state or find a school out of state. If the student really wants to leave the state, realize that with that decision comes extra baggage. Most schools financial aid packages will only partially cover tuition, the government grants and or loans but that little chunk that is left is hard to manage (especially if you aren't a resident of that state). That being said, encourage them to look carefully through all the schools in the entire state, don't restrict them to a certain part. And ask them where they could see themselves being for the next four years. Looking for a college is not about how many frats it has or parties, but does the school offer your major. How willing are they to let you make a major as you go( or change a major)? Ideally your college experience will cultivate a better YOU and thus the YOU from freshmen year will not be the same YOU that walks across the stage at commencement(graduation) with your teary-eyed family members and friends watching you from their seats.
There are things that we all revert to when we are feeling unsure, or disoriented by being in a new place, whether it be a certain book, a certain food, or maybe a certain attitude. During my transition from high school to college, my default reaction to change turned out to be the adoption of a certain despondent, pensive mood. I suddenly became very introverted, exiling myself from normal social activity with my oldest friends, and had only the desire to think, and observe. It was as though i wanted to crystallize what the last 17 years of my life had meant, and make some sort of sense of it before falling into the fathomless abyss of the future that would begin with my first day at college. Looking back, i regret that i was quite so serious about this transition. I still think it is a change that should be taken with gravity, yet also with joy. What i didn't realize the summer before departure was that it was not a one-way train leading into dark, unknown territory that i was boarding, but rather a magnificent locomotive meant to carry me through a magnificent life.
1) Be the big fish in the small pond. An employer will not care what size college a prospective hire attended. He/she is much more concerned with what the person accomplished as a student/ how involved the person was as a community member. 2) Do not immediately settle into a specific career path unless it is absolutely necessary. Focusing on pre-med or teaching as a primary background will limit ultimate opportunities. Your interests and desires will undoubtedly change over the next four years. 3) Step outside of your comfort zone. This is one of the best (and last) opportunities you will have to experiment with new activities, meet new people, and study new subjects. Who knows who or what you may connect with? You certainly will not know unless you try. 4) It is much better to get a "B" in a class by truly engaging in the topic than to get an "A" by cramming and cutting corners. Your GPA might look better but you wil not retain any of the information from the course. For the most part, as long as your GPA is higher than a 3.0, you will find occupational success.
If i had the option of returning to my High School senior year, I would do many things differently. As a senior, I applied to schools based on reputation, online reviews about the shool, and personal opinions from friends and families. These schools were small private colleges that essentially offered the same experience. In order to save time and money, I did not visit the schools until i knew i was accepted, and had a chance of attending. Looking back, I wish that i had never based my decision on other's opinions. The college experience is a personal one that differs for each person and i regret not realizing this a year ago. Also, i would have kept more options open and wish that i had not limited myself of options, and that i applied to a variety of schools. When making the transition to college life, i learned to just be myself, and let others accept me for who I am. Do not let others affect who you are as a person and alter the way you live your life. Each individual is unique and different and a new setting and group of faces should not change that.
Parents might find it helpful to understand that their son or daughter is the one attending the school, and so the decision, and the decision-making process, should be primarily left to him/her. Letting go like this is of course scary, for both the parent and the student, but it gives the student a sense of responsibility over his/her life, and it allows the student to feel confident in his/her ability to make decisions. Parents can and should, of course, still play an important role in the helping the student find what he/she wants in a school. Students should try to remember that college is more than an education; it is a community one must be a part of for the duration of studies. Therefore, it is important to really know what a school is offering. Finding the right college is much like buying a car: you don't just purchase a vehicle, you look inside, check out its history, and take it for a test drive. Researching schools is much the same. It's important to be thourough and deliberate, and at the end of the day, make a decision of which you are proud!