Choosing a college is extremely difficult. Having just been through the process and now helping my sister decide, I feel like I am a bank of wisdom and knowledge. I have learned a lot about different types of colleges and universities, and I want to help others navigate through the maze because it is complicated and sticky and messy. This is why I enjoy hosting prospective students, and it just so happens that I will have one in just a few minutes! This weekend is College Match, in which Colby arranges for juniors to visit the campus and stay with a variety of students. I will have a little baby to show around.
College is a big deal. Not only is it super expensive, but you are learning the necessary skills to be thrown out into the real world and tackle the big bad responsibilities of having a job. When I was picking a college, I randomly added a bunch on my list based on what my guidance counselor thought suited me. It seemed like every place I visited, I loved and every website showed only the best points of the university. Pretty much, I had no clue what I wanted from a college. Only after being in college do I realize what I should have been looking for. And now I can pass my knowledge onto you…..
1.) Variety of Classes/Majors – this is the time to figure out what you want to do and what you are interested in, but this can only be achieved through taking a wide variety of classes. By taking classes in a bunch of different fields you can try out new subjects like anthropology and archaeology and maybe even discover that you have a hidden talent or passion. Make sure the college offers ALL of the majors you are interested in.
2.) Connections to a Job – what is the point of college? To get a job! Yes, yes, there is also the growing as a person, expanding your mind, widening your perspective aspect but ultimately, you hope to come out of college and be able to attain a job. So you should make sure that the college actually helps you get a job in the field that you want. For example, at Colby there is the Career Center. They have helped me create a resume and cover letter, figure out what I am interested in doing as a profession, and develop a plan to gain engineering experience. Aka very helpful.
3.) Resources for Learning – what is the other point of college? To learn! Classes can be tough. Not everyone is going to be stellar at every subject so you may need some help on the way. Be sure to check if the college has tutors to help you. Colby offers free tutors in every subject. I have received help from teacher assistants (paid student helpers) in Calculus and Computer Science and my literature class…actually I think they have helped me in all of my subjects. They are always so friendly and patient. Sometimes they have to explain something to me 3 times before I understood what I did wrong. There is also the Writer’s Center to aid with any problems while writing a paper, proposal, or brainstorming venn-diagram. Being a small school, Colby professors are also very willing to spend time sitting down with each student, getting to know them, and helping them with any issues in class or in life.
4.) Opportunities Outside of the Classroom – You won’t be spending all of your time in class, so you have to check to see what kind of extracurriculars and outside activities the college offers. Do they have the dance team you want to join, the musical lessons you want to take, the orchestra group you want to play in, the sport you want to try? Do they have the clubs you are interested in? What about on-campus jobs and volunteering opportunities?
5.) Sense of Community – Friends are what make the college experience so incredible. They help you survive the all nighters during finals week by giving you coffee. They wake you up for you 8am classes. They eat with you so you don’t have to sit in the dining hall alone. You want a college where you can see yourself fitting in with the people and befriending them.
6.) Quality Food – Enough said.
I hope this helps make the college decision process a little easier. Good luck!