Courses, Career, or Custom Fit
Do you want the “big city” feel? Are you interested in sports and tons of school spirit? Does diversity matter? How important are graduation rates and job placement data? When it comes to choosing a college, you can spend months or even years debating. Is it the most important decision you’ll ever make? Not necessarily, but your choice can help to ensure you have a great time and graduate with a degree you’re proud of. There are various methods of making a decision; placing education, job prospects or your personal experience at the forefront is ultimately up to you. Today I’ll share one of those approaches.
Placing experience first is not for everyone. By experience I mean what makes four, or more, years at a university memorable: school spirit, location, diversity, housing, class size and cost are among a few. This focus is for students who don’t know what they’ll major in, or what jobs they’ll be applying for in the future. It’s okay not to have a perfectly crafted plan yet; not everyone does and most who do will change.
With this approach, you should begin crafting a wish list of your perfect college experience. Unsure of what a perfect college experience is like? Ask around; interview parents, older friends, cousins and teachers to find out what was most enjoyable about their college days. Was it the selection of Greek organizations? Did the food on campus make even late night studying easier? Or did the football team’s winning season make every weekend one to remember? Once you determine what’s important to you, rank them. You now have your college wish list!
From here, start researching universities that fit your profile. Don’t panic, you can easily
streamline your search by using the right tools. Websites like College Board or the College Navigator at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) give you search options for the types of things you’re looking for. Always stay open to colleges you may have not heard of or never thought you’d like. Schools are as varied and unique as the students who attend them, so give them all a good look.
Before you make your choice, take a look at your wish list again. Remember that college is a time for students to explore the world, take chances and discover new interests. If you believe your wish list is too safe, switch it up a bit. Maybe look for universities farther from home, consider ones with more diversity, or think about what a larger or smaller university may offer. One thing is for sure, anyone will tell you this opportunity only comes once in a lifetime. Ensure you make choices that will make you happy; not friends, family or teachers. In the end, you’ll be the one lugging books to class, choosing your courses, and ultimately graduating. Make the best of the time you have!
Have a great weekend, Los Angeles!