The college experience is different for everyone, it all depends on your perspective.
For myself, college was something that I was looking forward to the minute I walked out of high school. I was ready for the new experience and to learn new things about the world and myself. But college taught me more than what I expected, and that I wasn’t truly ready for.
If you don’t know I am currently a sophomore at Western New England University (that’s my school in the picture!!). Like many experiences, I’ve had my ups and downs so far. Some days I love my school and other days I just can’t wait to go home. This isn’t always the case though, there are always better days than there are not happy days.
Thinking back to my senior year of high school, I had no idea what I truly wanted in my school. Looking at it now, I know exactly what I want and I am thankful that my school has it.
So if you’re a senior in high school looking for your dream school, here are some big factors to look at when touring.
1) Size matters
Now, this truly varies for everyone, depending on what you’re comfortable with. For myself, I went to a small public school, with about 600 in the entire high school. When looking for a college, I wanted something small but able to meet someone new every day. That’s exactly what I found! My school has an average of 3,800 students, 2,520 of them being undergrads. I enjoy being able to go to the dining hall and see all of my friends but able to go out and still meet new people that go to my school!
To go along with size comes the classes as well. I didn’t enjoy the thought of being in large lecture halls with about 200 people. Thankfully, I chose a school that has a 1:14 professor to student ratio. This allows me to make a personal connection with my professors and makes learning more fun.
To go along with how size matters, connections make a big play into the size of your school. Many students could be an amazing student, with straight As, and the professor will never even know who they are if they are at a bigger school. The school I go to has a 1:14 professor to student ratio, which helps me create a bond with my professor. This left an image of me in my professor’s mind that may help me in my future.
Many professors have had jobs previous to teaching, this leaving them to have great connections with managers and companies that they worked for. Many professors still keep in touch with their old companies, making them a great source for those companies to reach out and find students for a job opening. Now if you have a bond with your professor, and they believe you would be a good fit for this job opening, you’ve got an in. Also, many internships require you to have a recommendation from a staff on campus, this will be much harder at a larger school because they may not know you enough to be able to write about why you would be a good fit to their job. At a smaller school, you would be able to make that connection and could have multiple faculty members as a recommendation.
3) Major/ Classes
Many people go to college either knowing their major or going in as a general to choose what they want when they get there. WHICH IS FINE!!!!!! You don’t need to know exactly want to do when you get them but having an idea is important, this meaning if you want general business or in the sciences. Knowing what you generally want to do is good, within each major is a set of classes you will have to take. CHECK THIS OUT BEFOREHAND! This will help you so much when you’re in school. When touring or even when you’re at school, go to an advisor and ask them for a degree audit.
A degree audit is a list of classes you will have to take within your choice of major. If you look at your degree audit and find that the classes that are required are not for you, then that major will not be enjoyable to you. Being able to see exactly what you will be studying for the next years to come is very helpful. This also helps you find your school. Comparing degree audits, from different schools, can show you what you will be learning in each school. If you enjoy more classes from one school rather than another then this can help you make your choice, besides you are at school to study right? Might as well enjoy the classes that your taking.
Don’t let this discourage you though, you can change your major as many times as you like! You don’t NEED to know exactly what you want to study!
4) Sports and Clubs
For me this was a big factor, I have been a cheerleader all my life and I wanted a school that not only had a football team to cheer for but one that was good so the games weren’t boring. Along with this, I wanted to make sure I had something to do while I was away. I do live on campus so I wanted to make sure there was always something for me to do. My school has many sports teams that I enjoy going to their games, some including; Football, Soccer, Lacrosse, Baseball, Basketball, and even Rugby. I do cheer for football and basketball which is a bonus to keep me occupied.
Also, if your looking for something more to do on campus check out what kinds of clubs and organizations your school has to offer. My school has more than 70+ different clubs that I can join, whether it be school/major related, sport related, or even just something fun like outdoors clubs. These types of extra organizations that are offered keep me occupied throughout the year and add to the many memories that I will be taking out of the college experience.
P.S. if you join a club, be highly involved! if you are involved and end up making it on the E-Board (President, Vice Pres, Secretary, or Treasurer), it looks great on a resume!
Now to some people, this sounds crazy, but if you are going into a school already knowing your major, do a little research on the faculty you may have. If you took my advice in number 3 with getting a degree audit you should have a general idea of what classes your going to have to take. Many schools do have websites that let students know which professors are teaching which classes. If this option is available to you, take it! Find out the professors names and do a quick search on either ratemyprofessor.com or even a google search. This will help you with two things; How the class your taking will be, and The connections you make the professor.
If you find out that the professor for your upcoming Marketing class is a very hard grader, maybe you’d want to switch classes. This is helpful to know before your in to deep in the semester. It can be a very helpful way to pass the semester easier. This may have you end up with a better grade at the end of the semester.
Also like I mentioned in number 2, connections are huge! If you do the research prior to attending the class, you may find out what kind of connections a certain professor may have. This can be a great opportunity to take a specific class with the professor so you are guaranteed some sort of connection with them. Make sure once you get that opportunity you take advantage of office hours to get to know them on a personal level. This can help you in the long run!
I hope this helps some of you going to college or some parents that are sending their children to college! Let me know if these were helpful or if anyone has more questions! If you’d like more posts like these, let me know!
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