What should you know about your college?

When you are a senior in high school, college is closer than you ever imagined, and the beginning stages of looking into your future school is at hand. You take college tours, you talk to your friends to find out where they are attending, and maybe look online for what schools are best for your major. Most seniors in high school do not really put the time into understanding their college of choice. Sometimes their decisions are based on other factors, such as attending the same college as their friends, just for that stability of having a set friend on campus. Others choose a college far from home because they feel the desperate need to get out of their houses and seek parental freedom. But really, how well do they know this college before they dive in for the next four years? Most likely they don’t, but understanding the college you choose to attend is important. So how can you do just that?

Research is crucial. Looking at a college’s website is a good way to start but it can not be your only source of information. Campus tours are vital in understanding your college. When you attend a campus tour you get a good look at the school you want to attend. The leader of the tour is also available for any question you or your parents may have. The greatest part about the leader of the tour is that they attend the school you are looking to apply to. What better person to ask your questions to then someone who already is attending? During a campus tour you will also receive packets of vital information that will help you understand the college better. You can find out about dorming, meal plans, campus activities, majors and minors, scholarships, financial aid, professors, internships, on-campus jobs, and so much more. Colleges have plenty to offer their prospective students, but most prospective students do not ask the right questions either because they do not care to ask, or they just do not know exactly how to ask these important questions.

Another great way to understand your college, to “know before you go,” is by researching offline. Those questions that some prospective students do not ask, can be easily sparked by just viewing the college website. Anything on the website that you find interesting or that you are unsure of, write down and be sure to contact someone at the college and ask these questions.

The important thing is that you know exactly what you are looking for in a college. Once you have established your expectations you will be able to figure out if your college of choice can meet these expectation or not before you apply. What is the sense of applying to a school just because you heard it was great, or it has a “good name”? Once you are tied into that school and pay the tuition, you may learn that this college is not for you and can not meet your expectations. You have wasted time and money and will look to transfer. Do not let this happen to you. Do the research, because in the end it will be worth every effort.

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