Friday, September 23, 2011

Finding That New Beginning

Looking for the right college can be stressful. You might find one you really like, but you are afraid you might not get in, or you do not really like a college, but it is the best fit for you. While you are in high school you get buckets of emails, loads of mail, and sometimes even phone calls from colleges trying to recruit you! It can get very overwhelming, but in time you will be able to make the best decision for you.

My mom likes to tell me that ever since I was in the womb I was raised to believe I would attend a FOUR YEAR, PRIVATE COLLEGE, LIBERAL ARTS, IN THE MIDWEST. This is what I have grown up knowing and liking because I haven’t ever been exposed to anything else. The summer before my sophomore year, my mom got me on a website called My College Options. This site helped me a lot. I took a survey and then they matched me with the schools they thought I would like and/or do well at. This site got me going on my college search earlier than all of my friends. When I began receiving information in the mail daily, my friends looked at me and thought I was crazy! However, I am glad that I got a head start. It helped me to narrow down my top colleges sooner than everyone else.

There are a lot of things that make a college appealing to high schoolers. One thing that I pay attention to is the amount of mail I get from them. And when I say mail, I mean mail that comes in my mail box from the post office. Sometimes, colleges can overwhelm you with information. It can be a good thing to get lots of mail if it is a college that I am interested in but it can be annoying from colleges I am not interested in. From a lot of the schools, it is a little random mailing saying “Hello from Columbia!” or something along those lines. However, I get annoyed with too much mail from one college if the information provided is not relevant, and it affects the way I perceive that college.

A lot of the time my email account blows up with multiple emails from a college a week or even a day. In high school, you have other things on your plate and are therefore not checking your email everyday like most adults do. When I log into my email and have 50+ new messages from many of the same colleges, it is a turn off. I judge. Yes, I shouldn’t judge from some cheesy emails, but I do. When I get “personalized” emails from the college or university, I am more inclined to read them. However, when they are just some average pictures or some general information, I tend to skip over it not thinking about it again.

Another important part of finding the right college is visiting. Visiting a college or university in which you are interested in can be a little nerve-wracking. However, you just have to go in to it with a positive attitude. This is the stage when prospective students make most of their judgments. Over the summer, I visited two private colleges in the Midwest. The first one was the alma mater of my parents. I have been raised on this campus because we were always down there for football games, graduation, or even just to walk around. Ever since I was a child, I said I wanted to go to college there. However, when I actually got the chance to go and take a tour into classrooms, the commons and the dorm rooms, sadly, I was a little turned off. The campus is older, but it has not been renovated. Because there wasn’t any “newness” to this college, I was kind of taken back. Then, a couple of days later I went to visit a college up in Minnesota a few hours away. I was more nervous for this tour because I had no idea where I was going! However, the more we walked around and toured, the more I could see myself actually going there. This campus was older too, but it was completely new on the inside. It was very fresh. Because of their programs and the overall look and feel of the campus, this college immediately jumped to the first spot on my college list.  I have a couple more campuses I want to visit before I make my final decision on where to apply.

Choosing a college is a big deal. Therefore you want to choose the best one that fits for you. You want to feel comfortable and safe, because this is going to be your new home. When making this decision you have to consider and take into account all aspects of the college to find the one best for you!

By the way, my mom works for a company that consults with colleges and universities and she wrote a blog on my college search process.  You can read it here:

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