Where Should I Go To College

Deciding where to attend college can be a daunting process. As a high school senior you have the world at your fingertips and all you have to do is point the way.

As you consider, ‘where should I go to college?,’ you first need to ask yourself a few questions.

1. Do I want to stay instate or go somewhere new?

Often times high school seniors get scared to leave home. They end up living with their parents and attending their local community college because they were too afraid to dream. While there is nothing wrong with going to community college, don’t let it be your only option. There are many school out there who are dying to say you are one of their students.

2. How much can I afford to pay in tuition?

Today it is hard to find a school that does not offer options for scholarships, grants, and loans. College is expensive and while cost may be a major factor on your list, don’t let it steer you away from applying to your dream school. By communicating with the financial aid offices at the schools you are looking at, they can help you with your financial matters.

Also, signing up for a site like Fastweb.com, they will email you scholarships that match your profile. Also, filling out the FAFSA or applying for your states grants is an easy way to have school money awarded to you.

3. What kind of climate do I want to live in?

Remember, college is 4 years long. If you are from a sunny and warm climate, now is your opportunity to change it up. Maybe you have always wanted to live next to the beach or have snow around the holidays. College is a great time to experience a new town without being committed to it forever.

4. What major do I want to study?

If you plan on majoring in something uncommon such as soil science, culinary arts, or meteorology, then you may need to do extensive research on what schools offer these specialized majors. While it will narrow down your pick of colleges significantly, this can be really helpful. If you plan on studying English or History almost every university will offer these majors so you will have more campuses to choose from.

5.What is my ideal class size?

If you went to a large public high school with a graduating class of 600, you may be used to large classroom sizes with 30-40 kids.

On the other hand, you may feel out of touch with your classmates and teacher so looking for a college with an average class size of 20-25 might be more ideal for you.

Smaller class sizes are great because you will be able to ask more questions and get one on one time with your professors. This is extremely helpful when it comes time to take tests or present projects, etc.

6. What am I looking for in my campus culture?

If getting involved on your campus is important to you, make sure your potential schools have a student life and leadership web page. This way you can find out what clubs are offered on campus as well as other fun things. My college campus has over 300 clubs, a great athletics department, a rock wall, a bowling alley and an arts and crafts center. It is these random but exciting activities that will liven up your years at school.

There are some who say that where you go to college does not matter as much as what you do there, or so says Forbes.com.

“Surprisingly, students don’t even have to be on campus to have quality educational experiences…Certain programs or majors may offer fantastic experiences within different campuses–and you might be better off in a school whose curriculum that meets your needs than in a school with a big name.

But what’s most important in the quality of your college experience is your willingness to engage in your education, commit to learning and actively take part in classes that challenge you…if you’re thinking about college quality in terms of rankings or prestige, you’re looking at it all wrong.”

When I was visiting the campuses I was accepted to, I carried my checklist with me everywhere and made notes. But it was really when I was sitting in one of the desks of an empty journalism classroom that this feeling of happiness and acceptance almost overcame me. I knew that it was the campus I was supposed to be at, I could feel it. Use your checklist to get you 90% of the way to your decisions, but don’t be afraid to let emotion play a part too.

With that being said, going into your college hunt with a checklist is important to an extent. As long as you think you will be happy with the campus and the surrounding city than that is where you should go.

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Kait Freeberg

Kait Freeberg

Kait Freeberg is a junior at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism. At school, Kait can be found interviewing people or hitting the gym. As the Colleges Against Cancer president, Kait helps to fight cancer and she educates her peers on the disease. Apart from school she works two jobs, enjoys traveling, and cooking for her roommates.