I believe that it is important to consider a variety of factors in choosing the best place to spend one's four year college experience. Financial considerations are often the primary consideration for most. Parents and students should know that there are a variety of resources available to assist with financial aid, including books (How to Go to College for Free), websites (fastweb.com, scholarshipexperts.com, etc.), student loan lenders, and the school's financial aid office itself. While it may take some time to investigate these different avenues of aid, it is worthwhile to do before writing off a school simply based on its high cost. It is also important, I believe, to consider the environment in which one learns best. Do you prefer smaller classes or large classes? Will you feel claustrophobic in a big city? Do you need to have a school that has a student body that tends to "party" a lot, or will you feel most supported in a student body that places a strong emphasis on academics? These are questions that each student must consider for him or herself (and discuss with parents, advisors, etc.) before choosing a schoool.
I suggest that parents and students visit the colleges that they are considering and step into a dorm room or a classroom, and really ask practical questions of the students that are there. Sometimes parents and a student examine the general characterisitcs of a college such as its ranking, price, or location, but people should close examine the more specific qualities such as if the school offers a health-oriented dishes on their meal plan that can save a health-minded student a lot of headache. Or if academic advisors really assist the student in planning out a college career, rather than letting the students cope with it alone. Another issue that came up for me is the medical facilties and options available on campus when a student gets sick, or if the school offers convenient jobs or a stipend for books etc. All these details really help a student get a feel for the school and get an idea of what his life will be lke for the next four years there. With regards to making the most of a college experience, I have one thng to say. Take advantage of everything your school offers. Period.
In terms of finding the right college, I would strongly urge students to spend a day or more visiting the colleges they are considering. There's no better way of getting a feel for a college than by actually interacting with students, sitting in on classes, and speaking to professors. In addition, I believe that college rankings shouldn't be your only guide. Instead, you should find a college that fits you and your individual desires, regardless of its numerical ranking. I also believe that in order to make the most out of the college experience, students must learn to balance classwork and a social life. Having one without that other will make for a dismal four years. It is important for work to be done on time, and to schedule time to study for exams, but all work and no play makes John Q. Student a dull boy. There are so many extra-curricular activities to take part in, and so many recreational pursuits both on and off campus that, far from detracting from academic success, can actually serve to enrich the college experience and revitalize students in order to help them succeed.
Attending college has been undoubtably the most valuable experience I have ever had. After high school, I left to study abroad for a year to discover who I was and what I wanted out of life. Upon returning, I attended Yeshiva University for 4 years, and graduated with well beyond the required 128 credits. I majored in Psychology, allowing me greater insight into the human mind, and allowing me understand why I do what I do. My studies have allowed my to advance my knowledge of Psychology, and I am currently in the process of applying to graduate programs where I hope to attain either a PhD or PsyD in Clinical Psychology and one day have a private practice where I can provide therapy for adolescents and children who need it. Without an undergraduate degree, I never would have been able to immerse myself in the world of Psychology research. I have worked since my undergraduate experience as a Research Assistant for over three years now, and am currently listed as an author on a research paper in preparation for submission to a Psychology journal.
I would insist to myself to take more AP courses, and take my english writing classes more seriously. College for me is difficult because I simply did not build for myself a strong education in highschool, so dont make the same mistake I did. College work isn't really so difficult, It's more time consuming. There is a lot of great things to enjoy and experience and learn in college if you focus on basic skills now and build a strong foundation in writing you will be able to do your work so much more effeciently. Had I learned how to write well, so much of my college work would be done in half the time, and I would be able to participate in more extra cirricular activites and programs that would be so beneficial to my general education. Take AP courses if you feel you can handle the load, because when you get to college you may want to take advantage of so many interesting elective classes that having some required courses out of the way will make it easier for you to handle taking those additional classes. GOOD LUCK!
I would say that the most important thing is to visit schools. And do it more than once, too. Once with parents, and the other time, the student should come one his/her own and spend a night or a weekend. Sit in on classes and see what they're like. Spend the weekend and see what the night and social life is like. If there is a certain thing in particular that you are interested in, look into it and experience it. This may be time consuming and a bit pricy sometimes, however it is time and money well spent, because this is a huge decision for you. I am at Yeshiva University as a transfer student because I made the wrong choice the first time. I didn't put enough time into researching colleges before I made my first decision to attend a school and it was the wrong one. So, put the time in. You won't regret it. Once you get to college, stay on top of your work. It stinks to think about it, but time management helps out a lot because not only does it help your grades - it gives you more fun time.
"Time is precious, so grab it. Make a list of what you want in life." I felt 22 was an eternity away when I was 18. I would tell myself to "use time, not waste it." When I think of all the time I wasted on TV and my computer. It's ridiculous. I felt there was always extra time to finish my work. I can't believe how many events and get togethers I missed because I didn't take care of my work that I had countless opportunities to finish. Instead of making new friends, going out, I was cramming. I would say, "Daniel do your work first, make set times for it, truly prioritize, and then have fun." I would say "go out, see the unknown, the adventure, look at it, hang out with it." I held tight onto my comfortable bubble, now I've become used to it. Now I have to get a job and start my life. Playtime is over. I would tell myself " you are constrained by nothing, go out of your bubble to anywhere, you can do it. You only go to college once, use it fully, or forever wonder what if. "
Transitioning to college life may be difficult at first, but it just takes a short time until you adjust. There are many benfits of a college degree and going through the college process. Never forget why you are doing this. Never lose sight of your goals and dreams! College is a long and difficult path but that should not discourage you. It should empower you. Imagine yourself successful in your career- it should inspire you to keep going. College also teaches you more than academic knowledge. It teaches you how to be an independent, responsible part of society. It's the first step into the "real world", so try your best to start out on the right foot! Make sure you don't lose sight of who you are, who you want to be, and what you are all about. You are unique and special! Be the best you you can be! Remember to enjoy yourself- these are the best years of your life.. Just don't get carries away! Good luck!
My college experience is better than I ever expected it to be. Yeshiva University provides the perfect balance of everything. Academically it is very challenging but they always provide activities to alleviate the stress level through out the semester, especially during crunch time. The student life is always happening and they constantly ask for feedback of ways to improve. Professors are very approachable and they have the best interest of each of their students. The social life is amazing and emails are sent out all the time informing the students of the events taking place and providing ways for students to get involved in the school. They provide shuttle services until all hours of the night and the security is 24 hours a day. Each day I realize that I made the right choice by attending Yeshiva University and I could not have asked for a better college experience.
In order to find the right college, students and parents should do a lot of research about schools they are interested in. They should consider size of the university, extra-curricular activities available, location, price, class-room size and types of vocations the school is known to be geared towards. Sometimes the best way to gauge whether or not a college is right for you is to visit it. That way you get a real sense of what the university and the students who attend it are like. The best way to make the most out of the college experience is to take advantage of the opportunities in research and extra-curricular activities that you are interested in. It is also important to try new activities to expand your horizons. A good balance between social life and school work is also a major part of maximizing the college experience.