Since I’ve had to make the tough decision TWICE, I feel like I’m an expert on what to look for in a college. I could preach to high schoolers for days and days on this topic because it’s one of the first big decisions you will make in life, so it’s important that you make the right one. I came up with a list of things that I think everyone should think about before picking out your dorm decorations!
- Does the school have your major? – One of the first things I looked for at the University of Kentucky and Alabama was their list of majors. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to major in at the time, but I knew it would be in the journalism field. Once I saw that the journalism programs at both of these universities were top notch, I checked that off my list. It’s easy to forget the main reason we all go to college when we are deciding because we want to follow our boyfriends or friends, but remember, getting an education comes first!
- How much does it cost? – This one is tricky. A lot of people choose to stay in state because, trust me, out of state tuition is ridiculous, but that might not be the best thing for you. There are lots of opportunities to earn some money toward college. Check out number 3.
- Check for scholarships- There are thousands of opportunities for scholarships out there that a lot of people miss! A lot of colleges offer academic scholarships for your GPA, ACT score or for the major that you want to pursue. Alabama even offers a special scholarship for people who were lucky enough to have parents that played football for Paul Bryant. Also, there are a lot of places outside of your school that offer scholarships. I even applied for a scholarship from Farm Bureau Insurance! Make sure you look at all of your options when it comes to paying for school.
- Talk to your parents- After you have researched the college of your dreams and put together a convincing argument, it’s time to present to your parents. Your parents will help you look for scholarships, take you on college tours, and ultimately, help make your decision. It’s really important that you don’t let your parents pick a school for you. Remember, you’re the one that is going to college-NOT them! I let my mom choose my college for me my freshmen year, and I was unhappy. Now that I’m in the place I want to be, it’s easier for me to stay motivated because I love where I am.
- Visit the school- Make sure you have actually been to the campus before you decide it’s your dream college. You need to check out where you’ll be sleeping, eating, studying, and going to class. Seeing the campus can definitely make or break your decision.
- Sports- Checking out the athletic program at your university is also something that most people find very important. On your visit, try to attend a basketball or football game so you can take in the game day atmosphere. Coming to an Alabama football game was the little push I needed to send in my transfer letter!
- Friends- Remember it’s not always a bad thing to go to a different school than your BFF. I have one best friend in Tennessee and one back in Kentucky, and I think our friendship is better than ever! We are all at colleges that are best for us, we still make time to keep up with each other daily and we have fun places to visit!
There is a lot that goes into choosing your college, but I feel like these are the most important things to think about before you decide. I think it’s really hard to know exactly what attending a university is going to be like until you are really there, but these will get you one step closer! Good luck!
- Ryan Martin
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