College Questions Answered

Melanie Orcutt

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College! Where should I go? What should I major in? Can I afford it? The questions that run through your head during the application process.

College searching can a be chaotic time in your life but it can also be very fun! The hardest part of it all is finding out where to begin. There are millions of colleges all over the world and you need to pick one to go to and spend the next four years of your life! It is best if you first narrow it down to the state you are most interested in. Do you want a warmer climate? Colder? Do you feel more comfortable in a city or can you see yourself in a more rural area? These questions seem pretty easy to answer but when it comes down to it, they can be pretty difficult.

One thing I kept in mind to help narrow my decision down, was to see what area my major would thrive in. For me particularly, being near a city would be beneficial because that is the home to most news station offices. The city is a place filled with internships and connections.This may also be the case with your major. After you narrow down the type of environment, then you can pick a state! Your options are endless and if you are ready for a fresh start and do not have a problem with being far from home, then far away is the choice for you. When picking a state  you should also keep in mind what the culture is, because even a state that borders us can be very different culturally. The people can be different along with the social norms you are used to. Some people I have talked to tried going far away, but once they left Massachusetts felt as if they did not fit in. So choose carefully but do not panic, if you are not happy transferring is always an option!

The next step after you determine the location of where you want to go is the size.  Do you want a small school where you have a personal relationship with each of your teachers? Or do you want a large school where you might only be a number in a giant lecture hall? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions, it all depends on your personality. If you want a bigger variety of people then you might want to look into a larger school, but if you find yourself feeling lost in large environments then maybe you want to look at a school on the smaller side. If you are not sure at all then the perfect choice might be a medium sized school. You may not know exactly what you want in the beginning but after going on a few tours you should be able to make up your mind. Plan ahead and make time to look at a handful of schools. After that follow your gut instinct and if it feels right then that is your school!

Next step is choosing your major. This can be difficult for some people but do not panic. More than half of college students change their major at least once throughout their college career, so what you choose now is just a start.  It is hard to know what you will like until you are put into the situation. So if you have an idea of what you think you might enjoy then go for that but if not there is always the option of declaring as undecided. If you go in as undecided you are able to take a variety of classes until you pick one you believe you will really enjoy. Just think of your hobbies and things that make you happy and run with it. The possibilities are endless.

Lastly, how are you going to afford it? This a common question that runs through everyone’s heads. The first step that might be helpful is sitting down with your family and discussing how much money you have saved for college. Once you know this it might help to eliminate some schools that are just not in your price range. However, if there is a school you really like do not panic. You can always give it a try and hope to get some scholarships as well as financial aid. Apply to as many scholarships as you can. Even if the reward is not that high, any amount of money will help. Another option is looking into state schools. If the state school is in your own state then you get the advantage of paying “in-state tuition,” for a much more affordable price. The money you can not pay right away you will need to get in loans. Loans seem great at first but they soon come back to haunt you. Once you graduate college and are ready to start your life paying an additional bill for college tuition will not be fun. Try to cut your debt down as much as possible and remember no matter what college you go to you will be better. The most expensive is not always the best. I hope these tips are useful and good luck in your search!