Posts Tagged ‘choosing a college’
In your quest to find your perfect college match, you’ve considered your major, the distance it is from home, the number of people from your high school going there, the food, its appearance, the cleanliness of the bathrooms, whether or not you’ll have to take a gym class, and a hundred other pieces of criteria! It’s a big decision, so there’s a lot to think about! Have you considered what college will do the best job at preparing you for your career? Check out these ways you can verify that the college you’re choosing has what it takes to actually get you a job!
The Reputation of the Program
Once you’re sure a college has your major, you’ll want to find out more about the program and its alumni. How popular is this major on campus? What percentage of its graduates are able to find a job in that major? What do the students currently enrolled in the program think? How long has the major existed on campus? Who’s teaching the classes? The more you can find out about your future program online and through the college, the better. If your program has been around for a while, is gaining popularity, and has accomplished individuals teaching new information, that’s a good sign!
The Relevancy of the Program
The job market is different than it was twenty, or even just ten years ago, and with technology constantly changing, you’ll want a program that’s adjusting their coursework so they’re ahead of the game! As an education major, you don’t want to learn the art of overhead transparencies. You want to learn how to use multi-media in the classroom, and how to look for signs of bullying. As a creative writer, you don’t want a heavy emphasis on the classics. You want to learn how to produce and market work in today’s writer’s market! Make sure the school you choose has a program that knows how to adequately prepare students for today. A quick look at the required courses and syllabi are often enough to get a few clues!
The Opportunities Given to You
When looking at a perspective program, look for what the college has to offer that other colleges don’t. What opportunities does this program give you that will better prepare you for a job than other programs? Will you get the chance to create a documentary your sophomore year as a film major? Will you be asked to observe how a classroom is taught your freshman year as an education major? Is there a literary magazine writing majors can help produce? Is there a famous professor with brilliant insights in charge of your program? If you can’t see why getting your program at one college would be better than getting it at another college, then you probably need to keep looking.
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Here are 5 not-so-awesome, A.K.A, probably bad, reasons to choose a college:
It’s where the parties and bars are: Every semester there’s someone who admits to applying to that particular college only because of its social reputation. That person doesn’t usually make it past a semester or two. While it’s important to choose a college with a culture you’ll enjoy, the education you’ll receive at that institution is what you’re paying for. Keep your education the first priority and put the parties, bars, clubs, and other social elements a few notches down the list.
My best friend/boyfriend/girlfriend goes there: It can be very tempting to pick the college where your significant other or best friend is going, especially if you’re in high school and you’ve been maintaining a long distance relationship with someone who’s already in college. The thought of seeing that person all the time can weigh a ton on the college decision. It’s one thing if that college also happens to have the best academic program for you, but if there are other institutions you could attend that offer better programs , or if you think you’ll feel more at home somewhere else, or you’ve been offered an awesome scholarship, consider maintaining your friendships and relationships while you attend different institutions.
My father went there, and his father went there: When there have been generations of family members that have attended a particular college, it may seem that you have no choice but to continue the trend. If you love that college, then great. But if you think there are other colleges that would better suit your needs, you might be faced with a lot of stress, especially if Mom and Dad are paying. While you don’t want to disappoint your parents, when it comes down to it, it’s your life and your education. Go with what’s best for you–you can still root for their alma mater even if you don’t attend it.
Mom wants her baby close to home: While you might find it hard to leave your hometown to go to college, your parents probably find it equally as hard to let you! Just as you’ll need to adjust to living on your own, they’ll need to adjust to not having you around everyday. In addition, they may be facing realizations that they’re getting older, or missing their own college days. They’re also going to really miss you! As a result, they might subtly begin urging you to check out local and community colleges, or suggest you live at home and commute. While you don’t want to break mom’s heart, do what’s best for you and your education. After a few months you’ll adjust to living on your own, and they’ll adjust to having you away.
Everyone from high school is going there: Sometimes a large percentage of your high school will choose to apply to a particular college. If you love high school and everyone in it, it might be tempting to go, too; however, continuing the next four years with people who’ve known you since birth isn’t always the best idea. In college, you’ll figure out who you really are. You’ll make changes to yourself based on that self-discovery. College is often times crucial for individuals to form an independent identity and it may not be what they were at home or in high school. Those who attend college with a high percentage of their high school class may find this process to be more difficult.
Want to know how to research and find the right college for you? Watch this video!
Our last post on getting accepted, waitlisted, or rejected seemed like relative hit among you college-bound youth out there, so we figured why not go a little deeper into each subject matter?
Today, we’ll voyage to the not-too-far-away land called Accepted Island–a place where high school seniors land after receiving a thick envelop in the mail and a congratulatory pat on the back by their parents. So celebrate on that island for a little while, and then pack up your stuff because you’ll have to make some moves.
Choosing a college:
After getting accepted into college, you don’t really have that much time to make your final decision. Most colleges require a decision by May 1. So you may have a month or less to decide. Sure, congratulate yourself with an hour extra of reality TV, or whatever your guilty pleasure is, but then it’s time to get back to business because you have plenty of things to take care of.
With a limited amount of time you’ll have to weigh your options. One of the best ways to weed out schools is by looking at the most black and white factor of them all: money. Is one school offering you a bigger scholarship? If money is a big factor in your decision making, then your decision can basically be made for you then and there. If one school is offering more money, but you prefer another school, you can always ask if they will match the other school’s offer. What do yo have to lose? They may not agree to match the scholarship, but they’re not going to lower it–unless you say something scary on the phone. So avoid that.
If that doesn’t help narrow down which college you’ll enroll in, you might want to visit the campuses. If you haven’t already visited, this is definitely worth the trip. A visit will give you the overall feeling of a school and can help you decide if it’s the right fit.
And…if that doesn’t help you choose which school you will be enrolling in next fall, then it’s time to get introspective. What do you want out of college? What do you want for your career and your future? Make a checklist of these items and see which colleges meet more requirements. You can always seek guidance from a parent, teacher, or counselor to help you make the best decision.
Finishing high school strong:
Senioritis is not just a contagious attitude that will keep you up late watching Hoarders, it’s a state-of-mind that can actually threaten your future. Colleges may ask for your end of the year transcript, and if your grades slip too much, they could possibly take away your scholarship.
The same goes for extracurricular activities. Avoid winding down your effort in the activities that may have helped you get into college. Your team, club, or group depends on your leadership and actions. Giving up because you got an acceptance letter is a bad stain on your character.
Not too sound to much like your mom, but you should also stay away from trouble. Just because you got into a college doesn’t mean you should party harder. An acceptance letter can’t do much for the unknown consequences of bad decision making. Sorry, we definitely got into Mom-tone on that one.
Speaking in the positive light, an acceptance letter/s should drive you to continue working hard and doing good work.
Don’t let a few acceptance letters go to your head. For one thing, you don’t want to alienate yourself from friends who may have not had such luck with college admissions. That doesn’t mean you have to hide your success, but try not to push it in others’ faces. There’s also a strange phenomenon that sometimes occurs where students who get into college assume they’re set for life. You can always improve, keep pushing, and continue making strides. Don’t stop moving because you’ve been recognized for your work one time.
Do you have an experience with getting accepted to college? Tell us your story in the comment section below!
Even though most colleges do not require that you have an interview, an interview can have a positive effect on your college application. Think of it as a super personal supplement to your paper application.
There are different types of college interviews. You might meet with an admissions officer on campus or an alumnus in your area. Whoever you wind up meeting with, an interview helps to demonstrate your interest in a school and what you can bring to campus.
Here are 6 tips to keep in mind during a college interview:
1. Be confident but not cavalier; Be humble but not self-conscious
Confidence is not the same as cocky, and humble is not the same as stilted. Know the difference before you head into an interview. The trick is to be comfortable in acknowledging your accomplishments and your strengths, but not too comfortable in self-congratulating yourself. Even if you’re a bit nervous going into the interview, try to feel and look comfortable while sitting down with your interviewer.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s too cocky to say and what works:
|Overly Confident||Overly Timid||Just Right|
|This is will be the most interesting interview you’ve ever had.||I’m sure you had plenty of other, more important things to do today.||It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for making time for this interview.|
|High school? I OWNED high school.||No one noticed me in high school.||I’m most proud of helping to raise $120,000 for Children’s Memorial over my four years.|
|YOUR COLLEGE NEEDS ME.||I’d love to go to this college, but you guys probably have so many other better applicants.||I would love to attend this college, and think I could really add to the community.|
2. Be specific
It’s easy to fall into vague and ambiguous conversation. So, instead, think of 4-5 specific accomplishments, facts about yourself or whatever it is that you want to say to the interviewer if it fits in appropriately. Having these in mind before your interview will make it easier to think of during the actual conversation.
3. Avoid reiterating your resume
If your interviewer has a copy of your resume or application, do not simply repeat its contents verbatim. It will not only make you look like a robot, but the point of the interview is to put some life into your application. Tell your interviewer something about yourself that’s not in your resume or application already.
4. Explain flaws in your application
An in-person interview is a great time to explain some of the discrepancies in your application. For example, if you had a tumultuous sophomore year because you’d just moved to a new school and you had trouble keeping up with your grades, let them know. Be careful of getting into woe-is-me zone. You do not want to give a sob story or explain all of your hardships. Just state a couple facts that explain a bad semester.
5. Know about the school
Just like a job interview, it would be a pity to get the interview, and then not know anything about the company. Have substantial knowledge about the school you’re interviewing for. This will let your interviewer know that you are seriously considering the school. Drop hints about a program the college offers that you’re passionate about or a special fact about campus that interests you.
6. Ask your own questions
Yes, the interview is about you, but showing interest in the person you’re talking to never hurt anybody. Whether it’s dry questions about the admissions process or questions about their experience at the university, asking your own questions demonstrates a deeper interest in the college than a person who’s just there to talk about themselves.
Have you had a college interview? Any tips? Leave a comment!
Last week we told you about the type of student who’d want to to go an urban college campus. Today, we’re gonna tell you about the type of student who would choose a suburban or rural college campus. Don’t let the words “rural” or “suburban” freak you out.
When it comes to college campuses, rural and suburban don’t mean lame or in the middle of nowhere or tumbleweed or Deadwood or no man’s land or super extra lame or “Good day, sir!” (because it definitely does not mean that)–a rural or suburban college campus just means it’s a more traditional-style campus. It’s the kind of campus you’ve seen in the movies. Unless that movie was about an urban college. Any who, you get the picture.
So, now you ask:
Wants a sense of community
A suburban/rural college campus generally means that the college is one of the factors that the town is known for. As compared to New York University, where the university is in the city, in a smaller town, sometimes it feels as if the city has built itself around the campus. In that sense, the entire town becomes part of the university. Everywhere you go you see your college colors–even while you’re off campus, you feel like you’re in it.
Wants to bring their car
Parking at a traditional college is much more doable than it would be living in the city. Whether there’s ample free parking, permit parking, or a space you have to pay for monthly, if you desperately want your car at college for the occasional trip home or to the grocery store or just to have on tap for the sake of adventure and being young with the open road at your fingertips, then it’s worth the price!
Wants a haven for the outdoors
Going to a rural or suburban campus gives you access to the wonderful wide world of nature in a way that going to city campus does not permit. Even if you’re not planning on becoming an environmental science major, you might enjoy the outdoor activities the area you’re in has to offer, like camping, rock climbing, relaxing on the beach, or taking a quiet walk through arboretum, getting all Darwin on us, and journaling every walk of life you see out there.
Wants school and friends in walking distance
At a traditional college campus, getting from Point A (Psych 101) to Point B (Library) to Point C (your dorm) to Point D (Archie’s Burgers) to Point C (that awesome theme party you’re definitely going to) is all usually within walking distance. Once you get used to campus and know where everything is, the only thing you need to get around is a good pair of walking shoes.
Wants school to be the center of academic and social life
In a big city, you’ll have so many distractions, like museums, events, clubs, and so many other things. On a rural or suburban campus, it’s not as much the excitement of the town that will entertain you, but its the students, professors and staff itself.
What’s your opinion on going to a traditional college campus vs. a city/urban campus? Leave a comment.
When it comes to filling out whichever college questionnaire you happen to be filling out today, the bubble that designates whether you want to go to an “urban” college or a “rural/suburban” one always gets you. It’s not like you’ve experienced going to college while living in a big city yet or lived at small college who’s campus literally is the city. How would you know the difference? How do you know if you’re a city college kid or a more traditional campus kinda kid?
Don’t fret. You’re not alone–people have been wondering the same question for ages. And now, an excerpt from the best selling 44 BC tablet “Shall I Go to an Urban College or Suburban One?”:
“Volo ut peto a urbs universitas.”
“Non a rusticus universitas?”
“Ego sum inconditus. Quis should ego operor?”
“Insisto vestri pectus pectoris!!!!”
The age old question is difficult to answer. So, today we’re attacking the urban side of the argument and putting forward some qualities of a student who might be more inclined to attend a city college. Here we go…
Q: What Type of Student Goes to an Urban College or University?
A: A student who…
Wants the activity of a city
College life is exciting, but add the element of a big city like Chicago, New York, Boston, etc., and you’ve got endless things to do. Go to class, and then go to the opening of a new restaurant. Finish studying for a final and then go be an extra in a movie filming down the street. If having a cornucopia of things to do in your free time appeals to you, city living during your college years might be right for you.
Wants the work and internship opportunities available in a big city
One of the unique things about going to an urban college means you’ll have more opportunities to work at jobs or internships that are only offered in a big city. If you’re living in New York, you could accept an internship at Rockefeller Center and continue going to school. A student at a college in prairie-ville Kansas–no matter how great a school it is–can’t take on the same opportunity without leaving their college.
Wants easy access to public transportation
Not keen on driving? While you’ll find that most college campuses, urban or suburban, are livable without having a car, in the city, you can travel further and swifter just using public transportation. No need to pay for gas or borrow a car to get to Ikea–just a subway, bus, bus, subway and you’re there!
Loves a certain city
Have you ever dreamt of living in a certain city? Your college years are a great time to actually get up and move there and experience living in the city of your dreams.
Wants the cultural diversity of a larger city
Most any college is a haven for arts and culture. But, a big city is itself a place to experience arts and culture in motion. From beautiful museums and galleries to ethnic neighborhoods and flee markets, a large city has lot of big and small cultural tidbits to offer.
What’s your opinion on going to an urban college? Leave a comment.
If your idea of what college and university life is like happens to be based on your dad’s nostalgic and, most likely, exaggerated stories about the craziest toga party the dean ever had to break up or the hardest professor any student ever had, or the most elaborate prank ever that he and his pal “Tank” almost got expelled for–
Well, maybe you need a fresh source of information.
Today we’re giving you 4 and 1/2 college myths and debunking them so you can understand what college life is actually like–not 30 years ago–but today:
1. Big colleges are best if you haven’t chosen a major
Surprisingly, a bigger school doesn’t necessarily mean more options for your major. As long as you decide on a school that has a good selection of fields of study, you probably have the same flexibility in majors at a small school as you would at a big one–possibly even more. For instance, you might decide that you want to create your own major. At a big school, you might have to jump through a bunch of administration hoops to do want you want. At a small school, the administration is probably more personal and even eager to help you make the education you want.
2. College is 4 years. Period.
Yes, most college students graduate in four years. It’s kind of just the allotted time given to college students, but it’s a bit arbitrary. Depending on how long you want to stay in college, you can reasonably graduate before that four year mark or after. If you want to graduate in fewer than four years, it’s as easy as meeting with an adviser and scheduling your credits smartly so that you complete what you need in time. If you want to stay past the four year mark, it also makes sense to sit down with a college adviser to figure out when you should take which classes when, or what you can accomplish with the “extra” time.
3. You must go Greek immediately
A ton of incoming college freshman freak out because they want to go Greek–join a fraternity or sorority–but have barely even acclimated to college life yet. Too many students hurry into Greek like without really knowing what they even want out of college. The good news? You don’t have to rush until you’re certain you want to. There are houses that offer second semester rush, or, you can even just wait until you’re a sophomore to join. Do what you’re comfortable with!
4. Hazing is just part of the tradition!
Hazing may be a tradition in a house, but colleges and universities do not condone it. Too many times does a hazing activity go too far, as in it will cause serious harm to people, because nobody stands up to stupid or dangerous ideas. If you’re doing the hazing, and it goes public, you could get into serious trouble. We’re talking like actual trouble with police and legal things and lawyers and all that stuff.
4.5 College isn’t the real world
College is kind of a bubble considering how unique it is to have such a high concentration of young people trying to learn in one place. So yes, that can seem a little “unreal”. But it’s not like college campuses exist in magic fairy tale dimensions. College campuses are in real places where real people live and work and play. You don’t have to wait to make an impact or try living in the “real world” until after college–you’re in it now. Your campus may be different from where you want move after you graduate, but there’s no reason you can’t immerse yourself into the local culture or contribute to it. Even just getting a normal job off-campus can help you realize you’re in the real world.
Have an opinion or question? Leave a comment!
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