Welcome to part two of our four part series on making your college list! Last time we discussed campus size and location, so if you want to know more about that, check out part one. Today we will be talking about the importance of campus life and academic programs at universities on your list.
This may sound obvious, but when considering different universities, make sure that they offer academic programs that align with your intended career! I have seen so many students choose a school that does not offer a program they are considering to study.
If you want to go to medical school but the university you are considering does not have a pre-med program, or perhaps their pre-med program is not very good, maybe you should reconsider. While it is perfectly understandable to be unsure of your future as a high schooler, you should still consider what academic areas interest you so you can choose a school that has a variety of academic programs that support your likely majors. If you are thinking of MAYBE being an engineer, you need to go to a school with an engineering program. Even if you change your mind later on, it is still best to give yourself the chance.
If the college you choose to go to ends up lacking the academic programs that you need for your intended career, you may end up needing to transfer elsewhere down the line. We have seen many students put colleges on their lists that lack the academic programs that they are looking for, and this can negatively impact their college experience.
Your future college should feel like a place that you can call home, as you are hopefully going to spend four-plus years there! This means that the campus’ personality should fit your personality, and that the campus should have activities and events that interest you.
One of the best ways to figure out if a college is somewhere you could call home is by taking a tour and sitting in a central location on campus. Does it seem like people can make connections easily? Or do people seem to be more isolated, struggling to connect with their peers? Do some people watching in the cafeteria or in a central square and you’ll get an idea of how people interact.
Some larger universities can make people feel isolated, despite the large student population, while some smaller universities have a thriving social community where people talk to each other in the dorms, leaving their doors open to invite people in.
Do you enjoy watching a particular sport, like football or basketball? Is watching your college’s team play something you’d be interested in doing? If so, you should consider choosing a university that has a program for your favorite sports. Also, is there a sport or extracurricular activity you may want to participate in? If so, choose a school that offers those programs.
Ideally, you’ll be able to find a school that has a mix of academic and extracurricular activities that interest you, and you’ll also find a campus culture that you feel comfortable with. Don’t underestimate the importance of campus culture!
Next week, we will be discussing cost. Thanks for watching and reading, and stay tuned!