There are countless aspects to obtaining a degree that are both exciting and memorable. From the initial events of the college experience – attending your first class, having your first cafeteria meal, and choosing between the large number of social clubs – your academic endeavors can fill many pages in a scrapbook (or these days, an Instagram highlight reel).
Certainly, one of the most dramatic moments of the university career is leaving. The old trope typically depicted in the movies follows a similar narrative: the fresh-faced college student packs (to the edge, of course) his car with all of his stuff and gives mom and dad a final hug before driving away to college. . The scene portrays a sweet and tender image of a freshman leaving, but it ignores all the time and angst of choosing a school that came before that moment.
If you want help deciding which institution to attend, consider some of these important factors and how they will affect your post-graduation experience and expectations.
The cost of a college education is considerably higher than it used to be, and while it shouldn’t be the ultimate factor in your decision making, it is an essential part of it. You are undoubtedly aware that public schools in the state are generally much cheaper than private schools (regardless of their location). In addition to tuition, books, and financial aid, be sure to factor in items that are not mentioned in school catalogs, such as gasoline, entertainment, food, and accommodation. if you live off campus. These expenses will vary depending on where your college is located.
Distance and climate
Consider the physical distance between the college and your home. If you have to fly to school, you are unlikely to make frequent trips. Would you be comfortable not seeing your family for months? Cell phones, on the other hand, make it easy to stay in touch and you might like to be away from your familiar surroundings. If you are looking to immerse yourself in a new environment, being away from home can be very appealing.
You should also consider the climate and weather of the school location. If you enjoy warmer temperatures and sunshine, it’s probably in your best interest to consider attending a school located where these qualities are strongly represented, like Pepperdine. On the other hand, if you can’t imagine a winter without snow, you might be better suited to a school in the Northeast.
Each region of the country has its own culture. The non-stop nature of New York City is unlike the bucolic Southeast, which is unlike the sunny Southern California breeze. Think about the type of environment you will thrive in, as well as what would provide you with the greatest variety of growth opportunities.
Keep in mind that discovering a new culture is a rewarding journey, and for some, that’s entirely why they choose a particular school. Exposure to new ways of thinking and expressing helps put the world in perspective and shows you how big the world can be. So if you are comfortable with it, accept the change.
A central goal of a college education is to help you explore a number of future career opportunities and develop skills that will help you secure a career. When considering how a college will fulfill these roles, be sure to look at post-graduation employment rates and explore the school’s career center offerings. Do staff help students apply for jobs and offer interview advice? Do they help students find internships or jobs with local organizations? Find out if the course includes hands-on learning. Check if there are any local industries that might interest you.
As remote working becomes more prevalent, physical access to an office or other career location after graduation may not be as critical as it once was. Nonetheless, as a student, your in-person experiences will have a great influence on your professional development and your future opportunities. The location of your college is therefore important.
A specific program
If a college has a particularly strong program in an area that interests you, such as business or education, this offer should weigh heavily on your decision-making. There are several ways you can tell whether a school’s specific curriculum is considered strong: ask professionals in the field what skills are most essential for entry into and success in practice, and explore the school’s catalog for it. number and scope of classes in this field of study. .
College rankings for fields of study can also be informative. Find out if a program is accredited. Pepperdine’s undergraduate program in business administration, for example, is accredited by the AACSB, which means that it has undergone a rigorous assessment process to ensure that students learn what they need to know to be successful. in business. Obtaining a good education is certainly the primary goal of earning a degree, so researching the quality of academic offerings from a college in your area of interest is a commendable endeavor.
Wherever your journey takes you, make the most of how far you’ve come
Once you’ve considered the factors listed above and made a decision, feel good and decide to make the most of your college experience. Whatever school you decide to attend, be sure to:
- Explore and participate in extracurricular activities such as student organizations, clubs and campus events. These are great ways to take advantage of the various resources available at universities and significantly contribute to your overall college experience.
- Build meaningful relationships with your peers and focus on building your network.
- Get to know your teachers and use them as a useful resource for career development.
- Find ways to apply the skills you learn in school to your intended occupation.
- Broaden your horizons by trying things out of your comfort zone; you never know what can come out of it.
Ultimately, getting an education is a holistic journey and we hope it will be a fulfilling experience no matter which college you choose.