Posts Tagged ‘College Decisions’

Tips for Making a College Choice: Maximizing your Campus Visit

Categories: Admissions Advice

It’s April, and you have gotten into multiple colleges. All of a sudden what you dreamed of all along has become this overwhelming reality! First off, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. Congratulations! You are in a great position!

While it may seem like a huge life decision you are not ready to make, there are easy ways to narrow down what schools you should be considering. It is always important, while you are deciding which school to go to, to remember that you are in a great position. While finding the right fit is important, a lot of the college experience is what you make of it and you will probably have a great and fulfilling time no matter where you go. Today I will be focusing on maximizing your experience during your campus visit.

Most schools will have a campus day for prospective students who have been accepted. If you have not been to visit the school yet, it is especially important to try to attend this. You will get a tour and the tables will have turned. As opposed to you trying to impress the schools, they will be doing everything they can to get you to attend. Even if you have already been to the school, this is still good to attend because sometimes your impressions will have changed and you will learn much more about the school.

When you are on campus, make an attempt to try to connect with someone you might know at the school. Whether it is a former high school friend who is older than you or a family friend or an alumni connection through your guidance counselor; it is crucial to get honest assessments from as many current students at the school as possible. Everyone is different, so it is important to take into account that while a school might seem great for someone, their experience might not necessarily be yours. Ask them what they love or dislike about their school. Most students around campus will tend to be positive about their school no matter what, so it is a good idea to try to get a really honest take on the school.

Better yet, even if your parents are staying in a hotel, try to stay with a student at the school in the dorms. This is the best way to see the school experience, meet a lot of current students, and see what life is really like at the school. Shadow this student to a day of classes (this might be difficult for some smaller classes but for general lectures you should be fine). At some schools, certain dorms have a specific kind of student that it caters to so remember to ask inquisitive questions to find out what the different types of dorms are to see what would be the right fit for you should you attend.

If you are applying to a specific school within a university or a smaller niche program, try to meet with professors within that program. Contact the department head in advance of your campus visit and ask to shadow a student for a day or sit in on classes.  Many programs will be glad to facilitate you. A lot of professors are way more accessible than you think and you can find their emails through easy website searches.

Remember, prepare for your campus visit as much as possible to maximize how much you learn about the school!!

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What I wish I knew when I was a freshman

Categories: Admissions Advice

When you're making college decisions, it never hurts to talk to students who have gone through the process before. Therefore, Cappex has spoken to real college graduates to tell you what they wish they knew when they were freshmen.

Timothy Griffin, Marist College – Put a greater focus on fewer activities

"I think the thing I most wish I realized as a freshman is that there's a limit as to how many activities you can reasonably do.

Between classes, parties, activities, internships and homework, there's only so much time. I joined a TON of clubs my freshman year, and tried to stick with them instead of focusing on one or two.

Because of that, I didn't really have enough time to actually be a part of them. When you're putting together a resume, it's great to show that you worked at the school newspaper, radio station and television station and five other clubs. But unless you can actually get something substantial to show from them, it's better to get some sleep once in a while."

Gordie Smith, Hamilton College – Focus on the skills you want to gain

"College is definitely an exploratory time, especially at a liberal arts school, but I wish as a freshman I had more of a clear and specific idea WHY I was going to college and what I wanted to get out of it in terms of skills and knowledge – that way I could have better focused the classes I took to match up with it."

Cara Spilsbury, University of New Hampshire – It's all about who you know

"I wish someone had told me that, in order to get my dream career, my grades, my schoolwork, everything was secondary to making connections. The saying 'it's all who you know' couldn't be more true. While I was busting my butt in class trying to get straight A's, I should have been out networking like crazy with people in my industry. I have been on about 100 job interviews, and not one person has asked me about my grades or my GPA. I have, however, been connected to most of those interviews through people I have met in both professional and social settings throughout my career."

Rebecca Bakken, Western Michigan University – Make decisions for yourself, not for others

"Looking back, I wish I had known myself better when entering college. As an adult, I've grown to see the importance of introspection and how it can help guide the decisions I make. When I was 18, however, I think I made many of my decisions based on other people – my friends and parents, namely. As a result, I switched schools and majors and ended up taking slightly longer to graduate. While it worked out for me in the end, I think it's important for high school seniors to take some time and think about what it is that they ultimately want out of life before entering their critical college years. Also, remember to have fun!" 

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Federal spending cuts could affect ‘public ivy’ universities

Many of the top public universities in the country could be affected by reductions in education spending, reports The Washington Post.

Record reductions in federal spending as a result of the economic crisis could threaten public universities. For example, state funding to the University of Virginia has been reduced from 26 to 7 percent in the past 20 years. The University of Michigan has reported similar cuts, with reductions from 48 percent of its operating budget to 17 percent during the same period.

At the University of California, Berkeley, cuts in federal funding have meant increases in tuition for students, larger class sizes and restrictions in some classroom equipment that could affect some students' college decisions. This year, the university received more funding from students than it did in state support.

"The issue that’s being addressed at Berkeley, fundamentally, is the future of the high-quality public university in America," Robert Reich, the former labor secretary and a public policy professor at Berkeley, told the newspaper.

Several of the Republican presidential candidates have made education reform and state funding a priority during their campaigns. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney recently told students that a vote for him meant job security after they graduate, according to ABC News.

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