In your junior and senior years you will be making important college choice decisions. The transition from high school to college is filled with challenge, opportunity and decision-making. Sometimes this transition can be a difficult and confusing time, but if you work at it, it will be rewarding. Because the process of selecting a college is very personal, it must begin with self reflection.
It's not about pretty campuses. It's not about glittering facilities. It's not about flashy websites. It's not even about rankings and reputations. Your college admission process must first and foremost be about YOU. Your strengths and weaknesses. Your comfort zones and the things that make you unsettled. Your values, your amibitions, your goals, and your interests.
What are you like?
- Consider these things about yourself: your goals, strengths, weaknesses, and reasons for going to college.
- What kinds of courses have you taken?
- What courses have you enjoyed?
- What academic successes and difficulties have you had?
- What skills have you developed?
- How many difficult courses are you comfortable with?
- How do you learn best? In large lectures or in small groups?
- Do you want to specialize in one academic discipline as soon as possible or develop as many of your interests as possible?
- Are you comfortable aggressively seeking help from your instructors or do you generally hope someone will notice you need help and come to you?
- Are you most interested in being taught by professors who can share their cutting-edge research with you or would you prefer those who value their time in the classroom most?
- What do you want to accomplish during your working life?
- What careers fit your skills and interests, your likes and dislikes?
- What work or volunteer work have you done?
- What clubs, hobbies, and sports interest you? Which ones are areas you want to continue in college?
- What social activities are important to you?
- Have you done much traveling?
- Do you prefer organized social activities that can provide you with a "ready made" group of friends who share your interests or are you excited to mix with a diverse group of strangers and make new friends and explore new interests on your own?
- Would you like to be able to jump on a city bus or subway near campus and reemerge in the heart of a big city or is a small college town with a campus that you can cross on foot in 5 or 6 minutes more appealing to you?
- Do you take the lead of prefer to join in?
- Do you make the best of what comes or search for what you want?
- Do you prefer to work alone or with others?
- Do you like being one of the best in a class or do you need competition from other equally bright classmates to challenge yourself?
- Do you learn more quickly when structure is clear or do you prefer freedom to make choices about how you spend your time for a class?
Personal/ Family Life:
- Do you go your own way or stay close to your family?
- When considering your friendships, do you want your relationships in college to be similar or different?
- Are you comfortable being far away from your family or friends or do you prefer to be close by those who are familiar?
Five Years from Now:
- What do you want to be doing in terms of your education, career, personal/ family life, and leisure time?
Not every college or university is right for you, but to know which ones are good candidates, first you must truly do this internal reflection and know yourself.