Selecting the right post-secondary path for you is a stressful and time-consuming undertaking. Some may be inclined to throw in the towel and let a teacher or counselor or parent make most of the decisions for them.
I know the feeling.
It was less than a year ago that I was in the full swing of making the decision that would likely dictate the course of my future. Although one might feel as though he or she doesn’t need to deal with the stresses of applications, visits to colleges, exploring career opportunities and all sorts of other investigative ploys, I would still certainly encourage them.Wanted: Information
You need to be able to gather all the information you can on your options so that you make the best decision. No matter how much work it feels like and how overwhelming it is, being educated about schools and jobs that are possibilities will ensure that you make a good decision.
Of course, I’m not promising that by reading enough literature or attending enough information sessions from a given college will guarantee that you will make the right decision about it.
When it comes to colleges, walking around campus and talking to students are two things that are most helpful. For all of you seniors out there reading this, if you’re anything like I was, you’ll be sick of cookie-cutter info sessions and relatively generic tours of schools by the end of your selection process.
If you have already been to enough college visits to be sick of them, then either you’re on top of your game or you’re very confused as to what you want in life.Experience the campus
Tour guides get paid to make you like a school and so does anyone giving information sessions. They have a vested interest in being as non-polar and inviting as they can be, and while the school may actually be non-polar and inviting, these mediums aren’t always the best ways to get a feeling for a school.
Although I can honestly say that I’m very happy with where I chose to go to school, I will also say that the one mistake I made was getting a very formal knowledge of each school I looked at, forgoing opportunities to spend the night with a student or to just walk around campus aimlessly.
Sometimes I’d been in the car for four hours and then sat or walked through three hours of getting to know the college. I was too tired to care about walking around the campus; I thought I’d seen it all through a tour.
That was the problem: I had seen it all through a tour.Happy with my decision
Looking back on my college search, I don’t think that experiencing the colleges more informally would have changed my decision, because I like the stats and the formal side of my college as much as the environment, and I’m happy to be here. Nonetheless, I think it’s definitely important to get that feeling for a prospective college.
Probably the main thing that drew me to Muhlenberg is that its two top majors are theater and some sort of pre-med track major. I love science and am prospectively a biochemistry/neuroscience double major.
However, I still absolutely live for the performing arts. Two days ago I went to see a show here and really enjoyed it.
What I’m trying to say is finding the right place is a matter of balancing what you enjoy academically with what you enjoy outside the world of academia. It is about balancing a challenging atmosphere with an environment in which you can comfortably grow into an adult.