We’re always told to live as if we’ll die tomorrow.
While that actually could happen, few of us live life this way. A lot of people are concerned with a predetermined checklist, rather than what they really want to be next.
High School seniors are very guilty of this. They quickly make the decision to attend college — whether they’re ready or not — and hastily select a specific school to attend — whether they’re sold on it or not.
This results in a large number of college dropouts and transfer students.
College is certainly not for everyone. While I commend parties for having the courage to make such a difficult and adult decision, I strongly suggest unsure 18 year olds consider transferring before ruling college out completely.
I am in favor of transferring colleges because that’s what I did after my freshmen year, and wouldn’t go back and change it, even if I had the chance to (at least, the second decision).
I attended a college prep high school, so college was always in the picture. My problem was selecting the “right” college.
I mistakenly chose a college with a strong nursing program when I wanted a strong English program, located in a rural area close to home when I wanted a suburban area away from home, and one that was Catholic and dry when I wanted one not religiously affiliated and wet (just being honest here).
I chose the “wrong” college because I never considered what I actually wanted. I didn’t know how to because no one ever told me the questions I should ask myself.
I did choose the right college the second time around, and here are the questions that helped me:
- Is appearance important to me? It sounds superficial and ridiculous, but most of us want to go to a college we’re proud of and thus care about its appearance more than we realize.
- Do I care about my safety? While all of us do, this question is rarely asked. It’s amazing how many campuses we’d rule out if we took the time to do so.
- Am I interested in traveling abroad? If you are, there are colleges like mine where studying abroad for a semester costs the same as studying in the states for a semester.
- Are Career Services important to me? They are important to most of us, as they assist in job placement, and not all colleges offer them.
- Am I opposed to large classes? Some people are comfortable attending state colleges consisting of class sizes of 100 or more students. For those who aren’t, private schools are a better option.
- What kind of pedagogy am I looking for? If you are like me, you enjoy the “how” versus “what” to think teaching style, and therefore would find a liberal arts education most appropriate.
- Does good financial aid matter? It usually does. Your best bet is to research and apply to schools offering good financial aid packages.
While there are countless questions to ask yourself as a high school student looking to attend college, or a current college student looking to transfer, these seven should help you get started.
With all of the outside pressure placed on you when selecting a college, it’s easy to get wrapped up in what others want, rather than what you want. Consequently, it’s especially important to determine your wants and remain grounded in them.
You will be less likely to have regrets about your decision if you do.
*Section Photo credit to thomasaquinas.edu and Featured Photo (above) credit to boston.com.