So you’ve graduated High School- congratulations! Your life has just begun! Right now you are probably feeling accomplished, invincible, and anxious to begin a new chapter. But before you turn the page, there are some things you need to consider and know.
Some people have a plan to go away to college and peruse a particular degree. Some people are happy not to have a plan, to enter the family business or take a year off to make a heavy decision of whether or not to continue onto higher education.
If you are one of those individuals who have decided to go to college, but are having second guesses and difficulty deciding where you want to spend the next four years of your life, this article is for you!
1. First thing to consider about a school is the size. The size of the school will determine a lot. The size of the classes, your relationship with teachers, and your guidance from student counselors will all rely on the size of the university/college. It is easier to meet more people in smaller school environments as well.
2. Consider the environment and area where the school is located. Take a drive around the surrounding area. Some people end up living and working full time in the area in which they went to school. Grocery shopping, internships, shopping, and other extracurricular activities take place in the area outside of campus, so you want to make sure you like the town the college is in as much as the college itself. Not only do you want to feel at home in the town where the college is located, but imagine the weather in the dead of winter. Most college tours are given in the summer or spring, however the school year is mostly in the fall and winter. You need to see the whole picture without being swept away by the wonderful spring flowers and warm weather.
3. Next, look through the class requirements and make sure there is a clear plan for a 4 year education. Some programs are limited at certain schools or could be extensive and require more classes than initially mentioned. Meet with a student advisor to go through your four years of classes to help keep you on track without any surprises. There is still room to change your mind during the first two years of your studies; however, having a clear class plan ahead of time will help students realize what classes they need to pass to achieve their ideal degree.
4. Observe the people on campus and the students. These are the type of people you are going to see on a daily basis. These are the people who you will make lasting memories and create lifelong friendships. The teachers will be supportive and great references. If you do not like the type of people you observe walking around the campus, then maybe the school isn’t right for you.
5. Finally, research existing jobs and internships in the area. If you are a student who will have to work through your college education, make sure there are jobs available to do so. Some campus’ have student worker programs, but know the restrictions- some are for financial aid students only, some are more limited than that and require a certain amount of financial aid for employment. Certain majors and minors require internships before completion of degrees so be sure that the area has adequate internships in the field you are perusing.
These 5 small things will make a great difference when it comes to deciding on where to obtain higher education. This is probably the first big decision you get to make on your own. You have the opportunity to decide where you want to live, build friendships, and study for the first time. You get to spread your wings and branch away from the place you grew up in. Within these steps, my main advice or message is to explore every aspect without being blinded by the usual university glam.