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Choosing a college to call home

Seannie Bryan

Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Southern California, Therese Bagsit, explains more about the programs offered at the university.

Shon Cagungun and Shelby Rowe, Editors

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Choosing the right college can turn in to a swim in a sea of pamphlets. The mere thought of higher education causes upperclassmen to break into a cold sweat.

But even through all the stress, keep in mind that many students have gone to college before– and many will in the years to come. The to-do list for getting into school is long, but with the help of those gone before, high school seniors navigating the road to higher education might be on easy street.

Juniors and seniors can not only learn from graduates’ practices but their mistakes on the path to choosing their own college. With so much to absorb, students often get caught up in the whirlwind of majors, minors and classes.

“There’s so many schools,” junior Winston Mitchell said. “You get information from them all and, even though you know what you want to study, it seems impossible to find what you’re looking for”

Obviously, students are concerned with the academic options at their school of choice, but having the right programs should not end the conversation on the school. With choices of in or out of state study, and study abroad programs, classes are only a piece in the puzzle when choosing the right school.

“I’ve seen a lot of students make the mistake of focusing only on the classes and not experiencing different things,” Academic Adviser for Kansas State University Tom Roesler said. “The assumption is that ‘oh it’s college it’s fun wherever.’ ”

For any prospective collegian, campus visits are paramount in the selection of the right college. Unlike high school, the university you choose will become your home for four years, and just like choosing a home or apartment, the choice of college is an investment in your happiness.

“Location is important. You want to go somewhere you enjoy studying,” senior Ashley Espinoza said. “If you’re out in the middle of nowhere,  you’re not going to see or do much.”

Planning a college visit may require extensive time and effort, but in the meantime students need to get out of the house and find the information they need. Conventions and conferences can get students in touch with counselors and experts who can better help them select the right school.

“You want to get a good college counselor to help you out and give you the right information,” Knowles said.

The importance of involvement in your own academic career is key to your success in the real world. According to Roesler this should be taken into consideration when choosing a college. For Espinoza, this was especially critical to her decision to commit.

“I wanted to go to my first choice because of the student organizations,” Espinoza said. “Student organizations allow you to get involved with your school, meet new people and work towards goals at school.”

Admissions officials at these conventions, men and women like Roesler, know the ins and outs of the processes of selecting the school that fits your needs and can guide students to making the right decision for their college careers. But the students have the most power to affect their own college experience. Choosing a school may at first seem overwhelming, but by breaking it down into pieces and staying informed, students can expect to cruise through the gates of their dream school sometime soon.


Here’s more information to help you in your college selection process:

Think you have picked your perfect school?  Click on this chart to make sure you have thought of everything.

[singlepic id=290 w=320 h=240 float=]

Ready to apply? Listen to this podcast for tips on tackling your applications.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Choosing a college to call home”

  1. Jennifer on April 13th, 2012 6:02 pm

    Although I’m only a junior, the flowchart really helped me look forward to choosing MY OWN college for next year. Thanks for calming my pre-college nerves!

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