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Ohhh rats. It’s actually time to decide on a college – AKA where you want to spend your next four years of your life. All of us here at Blush have had to make that wretched decision, and we think we did pretty well! (Not-so-humble-brag.) Point being, we totally understand how stressful this time can be. Figuring out how to decide on a college is beyond nerve wracking! But it doesn’t have to be. Blush wanted to help make your decision a bit easier, so we listed out some things to consider that not everyone really thinks about. You’re welcome!
Let’s ease you in with something simple. Talking about the weather may sound silly, but think about it! You are going to be spending 4 years in college (hopefully), and that’s a long time to be living somewhere. If you hate the rain, and move somewhere rainy…like say…Seattle….well let’s just say your mood might not be top notch for the general portion of your stay. If you hate the heat, then let’s not move to Texas, eh? Take it from me. When I moved to Austin for college, I was 3 weeks in when I chopped my hair off like a million inches because it was so dang HOT. Needless to say the above- chin do wasn’t the best look on me, but I HAD to free my neck!
Let’s not forget, many of you will stay in the city where you attended college, because that’s where the bulk of alums congregate, and where many job opportunities pop up. So if you hate the city for weather, or any other reason really, it’s probably not the best move to relocate there for the next four years.
How do you envision college? Hustlin’ and bustlin’ with a crazy amount of people on campus? Hundreds of organizations to choose from? Professor probably not noticing if you’re even there? Then you need a super size school. Yes, bigger schools can be overwhelming, but they have a lot more resources to get you plugged into different college communities. They have bigger sporting events, more alumnae, and bigger parties. Check, check, check.
If you’re more into an intimate setting with close friends in the dorms, attentive professors, interesting majors and smaller organizations, then a smaller school is totally for you. Smaller schools have easier to navigate campuses, a sense of community, easier access to academic help, and less clutter in general. Yay for all of those.
But, to each her own. There isn’t a right choice or a wrong choice–Blush thinks you can succeed in either setting. It’s definitely more about preference. But make sure you give this a hard thought before diving in; transition periods can be much easier if you are comfortable in your surroundings. (Especially if you don’t like crowds).
Let’s discuss the actual reason you are going to college: to study. Have you researched majors and minors offered at your chosen universities? Some bigger schools, although prestigious and competitive, don’t offer a lot of choices in degrees. I know my alma mater, The University of Texas, (nice plug, huh?) doesn’t offer any degree in Hospitality. Odd. But on the other hand, smaller schools can be very streamlined in their choices–Liberal Arts schools tend to focus on…well…Liberal Arts. (I am a GENIUS).
Not all of you know what majors you want quite yet, and that’s ok. But you need to make sure the university you are selecting has a handful of choices you are definitely interested in. It would totally suck to finally stumble upon what you want to study, only to realize your college doesn’t offer it. Ugh.
It’s also really important to figure out which college you need to apply for. Many universities require students to apply to certain colleges (Business, Liberal Arts, Communications), and lock you in from the get-go. So really think about what it is that you want to study, how your selected university divides students, and how the application process works before you dive right in. You might not agree with the application process or the way they divide majors….and after you sufficiently judge them, you might save yourself a lot of time by taking them off the list.
ABOVE ALL ELSE: Make sure there are AT LEAST three majors available that interest you– you do not want to get stuck majoring in something you do not love. That would be bad.
You are going to want to be involved in something other than the library. It’s good for your resume, your self-development, and your social calendar. Think: leadership, studying abroad, sororities, internships, honors programs, and clubs! What do YOU want to accomplish during your four years? Make sure those desires can be fulfilled at your university! For instance, if you want to be Greek, not all universities have sororities. If you are dreaming of becoming Student Body President, not every college focuses on student leadership in this area. Do your research, and get involved as early as possible. Preparation is key. Go get ’em.
We may sound lame, but being close to home can be important. A lot of girls choose to go to school within driving distance of home, because you never know when a case of nostalgia will hit. If you’re comfortable being a plane ride away, more power to you! Our advice would be to figure who you do know in a safe distance to your chosen university, so you have people you can rely on in case you get a flat tire or need to get away to do laundry. Sometimes, you just need to relax on a couch without any stress. We feel ya.
Some schools have crazy intense traditions, and others simply like to cheer at football games. Do you love stories and roots? Are you one of those loyal fans who plans on dressing up your children in game attire? Then make sure you find a school that allows for that. Are you a crazy football fan who wants to tailgate more than anything in life? Then you probably shouldn’t attend a school without a football team, or else your Saturdays are going to be filled pouting. These things are important!
For instance, Texas A&M is known for crazy traditions and insane school spirit. Students who really want to feel like they are apart of a community and love cheering on teams love A&M. But what if you don’t care about football at all, and would prefer studying abroad? Well, then Pepperdine might be a fab choice for you.
Point is, you only get these four years once, and so make the most out of it! Really focus on what kind of college experience you would like, and find a school that offers it. The best advice we could give, is to reach out to current students at the university and ask what their experience has been like thus far. That way you’ll know exactly what dance moves to memorize for the football games next fall.
Photo by VIKTOR HANACEK