The most important thing to remember when selecting a college is that every college is different, and one that may be great for one person could be a terrible choice for another. Before your visits, take the time to research which colleges are strong in your field of interest. Then, most importantly, take the time to visit at LEAST three colleges. Every college has its own personality, and every student should try to find a school that will compliment their personality. A special piece of advice for incoming students; don't worry about where your high school friends are going. You can still see them over break, and chances are that if you pick the right college, you won't miss them nearly as much as you would imagine. Once you pick a school, come into it with an open mind. You will be challenged from every angle, but resist the temptation to go home every weekend. Be willing to let go of some old ideas, but never forget where you came from. Meet your roommate half-way, even if you don't like them, and always assume your professors want to help, because they usually do.
The transition from a high school senior living at home to a college freshman living on a college campus away from home is a larger challenge than you can ever imagine. The emotions you will feel as you leave your parents home to face the new and exciting experiences a life away from home will bring, are like nothing you have ever felt. Excitement, the fear of the unknown, and sadness all wrapped up into one. The life on campus is a much faster and more challenging life than what you experienced as a high school senior. Skills of time management, problem solving, getting along with other people and their differing opinions are skills that will have to be developed and refined as you live your life on campus. You will meet many new people from backgrounds that are very different from yours. Your college life will be full of new choices that will require you to make a decision. Your decision may not always be the right one, but if you learn from your mistakes, you will learn as much or more from your life out of the classroom as you will from each college course you take.
In high school, it's too easy to get caught up in what people think of you. What I realized too late is that others' opinions of you don't matter. Who cares what they think? Your friends and family know the real you, and that's what really counts. Letting your peers' negativity cripple your own outlook on life is only hurting you, and the damage lingers. It's more important to be true to yourself and disregard the masses. The other thing that it's easy to obsess over is grades. Don't get me wrong, good grades are important in opening up opportunities for higher education. High ACT scores can win you some fantastic scholarships! But it's essential to find balance and not spread yourself too thin. Sacrificing social events and time with family and friends because of a devotion to school work is something you'll regret. The same thing applies to work. Working is great; it earns you much needed money and provides good real world experience. But there are many valuable moments in life that you will miss if you have your blinders on, focused on school and your job. Balance is key.
When trying to decide on a college, you need to make priorites of what you are actually trying to find. Also, one thing that helped me the most was actually going to the campus and taking a campus tour. The friendly atmosphere and having the opportunity to see classes in action really got me thinking that I could picture myself there. Along with the campus tour, I was able to meet with real professors from the university. Not all places allow their professors to take time out of their busy schedule to talk to prospective students, so I could already feel the deeper connection students make with their professors. Once I arrived, I knew I wasn't just a number. I came from a small town, so it felt welcoming when professors would call you by your name. While at NWU, I was also able to take a class during my first semester that changed my outlook on life and my major. In this class we were required to do a service-learning project. I chose to do mine with immigrants who were struggling to learn English. I loved this experience so much, that I became a volunteer ESL teacher.
I would advise that students make the right choice for them. Parents can be very helpful in this decision making process, but the ultimate decision needs to come from the student as far as where they will potentially choose to learn, grow, and live for the next four years. Before college visits, I would brainstorm specific questions I want answered. If these are not covered during the school tour, I would not hesitate to ask. I realize that the process of visiting schools can be intimidating, but the admissions faculty really are interested in you, and want to help you on your search. If the college representative doesn't seem interested in answering your question, or even appear to be avoiding it, then possibly you should be reconsidering whether or not this college is for you. I would visit as many places as possible, why? Because it can't hurt! The only way to know what you want or don't want many times is to have a wide enough pool of schools to pick from that you are then able to say "yes, I really like the way they do this," or "no, that doesn't work for me."
Dear Rebecca, Don't you dare worry about not making friends. This is your dream, your life, make the most of it. You will have a rough time at first, and you will want to give up, but you won't because you and I were raised stronger than that. You will lose your roommate within the first week, but you will gain some best friends that make college and life worth any hardships that come your way. Don't worry about grades, professors will help you, and student assistants will too. Also, don't worry about falling into some guys lies and deciet because your new best friend will introduce you to a gentleman that will steal your heart and you will be together for a while. He will have to leave for the navy, and your heart will heart, but the letters and the promise of him comming home will make everything ok. You have wonderful family in college, and all your worries now, all your saddness, it will evaporate when you get here where I am today. Don't worry. You will be somebody some day. Also, take chances! Good things will come from unexpected events!
As a high school senior, I was one of the few in my class not looking forward to graduation. It was the first BIG change in my life. My advise to myself as a high school senior is to relax. Enjoy your last semester of high school, but realize that college is going to be just as fun and educational as high school. I would tell myself not to worry about fitting in at college or about not being good enough in my extra-curricular activities. Confidence is important in college. I think you gain a great deal of confidence as you grow in your college life, but it is also important to come into college with a confidence in yourself. It is also important to get involved. Another piece of adivse I would give myself as a high school senior is to get more involved on campus during my freshman year. By being involved on campus, you meet great people and create lasting friendships. Those friendships will get you through many low times during your college career as well as your life. Overall, I would tell myself to love life and not worry so much.
The college you choose should be all about you! You cannot simply look at colleges because your parents went there, your sister went there, or because your best friend wants you to go there. However, that should be a college you visit, along with a college you would love to go to, and a few colleges you think would be practical based on your future career and financial situation. You will visit all of them, probably with your parent(s) or guardian(s) and something will just hit you, out of the blue you will absolutely know you are in the right place. You will look around and all of a sudden you cannot imagine this college without you, or you without this college. The scenery, the class sizes, your future teachers, and the tour you complete will all lead you to your college destiny. Your mind and heart will tell you what you need and do not need. And after visiting all these places you will end up in the college of your choice just like me. My mind and heart led me to Nebraska Wesleyan University?Where will yours lead you?
The college search experience can be one of the most exciting and scary times of your life. It's important to fully immerse yourself in your search and try to get as much out of it as you can. Parents- it's important to give input. You might have experience that can be shared. But don't pressure your children into something they may not want to do. Students- take the information that your parents, counselors, friends, etc. give you and use it all to make the best decision. Only you can know what school will best fit you. Never be afraid to ask questions! I work giving tours on my campus and I don't believe there are any stupid questions. Make sure to visit campus before you decide anything. Don't forget to have fun! Enjoy every aspect of the college search and be excited to embark on the next part of your life. College has truly been the best experience of my life. It might be a little nerve-wracking, especially if it's your first time away from home. But trust me, you'll look back on all of it with a smile on your face.
Selecting the right college should be based solely on the student's personal wants and needs including learning style and personal preferences. Many factors should be taken into account including whether or not the school has your desired major and extracurricular activities. Other important factors include size, location, personality of the school, availabilty of career placement after graduation. Ask yourself the following questions: Do the have the major that I am interested in? Do they offer a variety of extra-curricular activities and/or clubs that I am interested in? Is it important that I can personally ask professors questions about subject material or is a teaching assistant sufficient? Do I want to be on a campus where I know almost everyone? Will I receive a scholarship? Can I afford this financially? Is this college close enough to home that I can go home as often as I need to? Are the facilities up-to-date? Can I see myself being successful at this college for four years?