Take your time looking at schools. It seems like common sense but it will change the direction of your life. If you are not happy with the schools you were accepted to do not be afraid to take time off and find what is right for you. Spend time on campus and make sure it is worth your time and money. Also, I believe that the most important aspect of coming to college is being ready for the experience. It is an institution that is meant to teach you skills that are essential for the rest of your life and if you are not ready to take full advantage of this then you should take time off before college to figure out exactly what you want to get out of it; be it a social experience or a career track. You will only get one go at this time in your life so don't rush though the process, it will all be worth it when college spits you out the other end into the so-called real world.
Take a variety of classes your first few semesters. This includes intro classes in areas you've never heard of as well as some that you may consider as a major. You might find an interest in a field you've never considered, and it's better to figure that out as early on as possible. Also make sure to communicate with professors. They are truly interested in your experience and want to help you do as well as you can in the class. If you make an effort to work hard and communicate with them from the beginning, they are more willing to be easy on you if you struggle later in the semester. Also, join a variety of clubs and organizations from day one. It's easiest to join from the beginning, and you can always drop out, so consider an excessive amount to begin with. The more clubs you join the more people you'll meet and potential life friends you'll make.
To find the right school: Always visit, and go with your gut instinct about the place, don't have to be convinced. Your gut will know more than your brain. Check for what you want, and make sure the schools you're visting have it. If you don't know, go to a liberal arts school, and take everything that piques your interest, you can find what you like most that way. Getting the most of your experience: do everything your freshmen year. It always happens, you take too much on, then sift through to find what you like, it's natural. Do it your first year before you're overwhelmed with major requirements, internships, and graduation. Do everything and talk to everyone, you never know who you might meet. Also live in a dorm if possible, nothing is more enlightening than living with a large group of strangers in a small space.
The biggest mistake parents and students make during the college search is finding and researching schools based on prestige and name. That is NOT why we go to college. My advice to you is to explore colleges that are out of the mainstream. It will enable you to choose a school that best fits the student. I had never heard of HWS until a representative came to my high school. I was considered an "Ivy League" student and throughout the application process and my research, I came to realize the ivy league was not who I am. I was drawn to those schools based on a dream. The only problem was that dream turned out to be pressure most high school students feel rather than my own. When selecting my higher education program, I went with the school that best fit my needs. I strongly encourage you to follow the same.
In this time of tight budgets and frugal ways, it is important to understand as parents the importance of valuable higher education. While it is important to recognize the financial aspect, do not let that be the deciding factor nor a criteria for a desired school for your child. Parents should always have the best interest of their child, and should understand that the best college for your bank account may not be the best suited for you child. An Education is an investment that will last, perpetuate and encourage others to do the same. Let your child express themselves at the best school they see fit, with your guidance of course, so that they can better enjoy the time and effort spent at, what will become, THEIR school. Good luck and best wishes. -G
Finding a college is very difficult. It doesn?t matter if the college is ivy league or has division one sports, its about how the college can help you as a student and an individual. Figure out what really makes you happy or what you may become interested in over time, see if the college offers it and it what standing the organization is. I have found the best thing you can do is to fully emerse yourself into the college. I am in an a capella group, varsity crew, a fraternity and am a Resident Assistant. It was not difficult to handle all of these and keep a 3.4 GPA because I loved everything I was doing. Find a place that you love that offers things that you love, and you will love that college or university.
I have been able to mature into the best person that I can be. My college believes in giving back, working to help in the community and to protect the global community we live in. So while taking courses that I am interested in and seeing events both locally and globally , I have been able to volunteer to teach schoolchildren the importance of recycling, help clean up a local riverbank and collect trash from the local park. I have been exposed to arts, dance, politics and most of all shown how and why I should be active in all of these endovers. I have made life long friends in my roommates and teammates and now have the skill to get along in our very diverse population. I love William Smith College!
The search for the right college is very important. The decision will change (the students) life. It is important to let the student decide because it will determine their happiness, success, and is the building block for the rest of their lives. I chose my school because I got the feeling that it was the right fit for me. The people, the staff, and the scenery sold me from the very beginning. My advice to the students is make sure that you can call the colleges you are looking at "home" for the next four or so years of your life. It is not something that you can take back but rather something that you can create an independent lifestyle and a solid ground to a bright future.
I think it is very important for a student to feel an initial comfort and excitement when first walking onto the campus. Figure out in advance if you want to go to a small school with intimate classes, tons of help from the professor and smaller parties or if they would rather enjoy being a number in the classroom and huge parties where you hardly ever see the same people twice. Make sure that the decision is the students and not the parents since the student is attending the college. Think about how much you want greek life to surround your weekends. Realize that you can still love college and have fun even if your not on a varsity team or in a fraternity/sorority.
You can certainly follow your heart, take endless personality surverys, and visit campus after campus. But in the end it's perspective that matters. If you have a positive attitude while searching for a school, that attitude will not only win you points in adimissions interview but also help you make the best of whatever situation you end up in. Your disposition will attract other upbeat people, and you will recognize the similarity at the place that is right for you. If you have to transfer, remember the lessons you learned about yourself in the process and move on with a smile. You can change everything in your life with only a change of perspective.