Right now, many high school seniors are scrambling to figure out where they want to go to college. After being accepted to a few colleges, and perhaps not their first choice, high schoolers are left with a decision that they know is a major life choice.
Determining which school fits you the best can be less stressful if you just follow some simple steps. To find the college that you will fall in love with and be proud to call it your alma mater, you will need to put on that investigative hat.
Here are some things you should consider.
Meta-Majors and Degree Pathways
Although you or your high school senior may have a clear idea what they want to major in, this may change after their first year of college. According to the article “How to find a college you’ll love,” 47 percent of the college freshman that said that there was “no chance” that they will change their major ended up doing so. I, myself, was part of this statistic, changing from a Music Major to an English Major before transferring from my community college.
However, colleges are attempting to incorporate a new concept called meta-majors, which is being designed with the intent to help freshmen obtain broader exposure to different degree pathways. They do this by grouping majors under a similar umbrella, like marketing under business, so that students can have the freedom to explore exactly what their focus will be in their first year. If you can get into a school that offers such an opportunity, it can be a great way to ensure that whatever your major ends up being, it will be one you are satisfied with.
Career Center and Internship Opportunities
One of the things that I wished I took more advantage of earlier in my college career was the career center on campus. I was a commuter and attended community college first because it made more sense financially, but my last few years at California State University, Long Beach, after I transferred were mostly spent in the classroom and in traffic.
If you are planning on being a commuter, consider moving closer to campus or making friends with those that live near or on campus. If they are willing to let you crash at their place occasionally, you can save your money on commuting and give you more time to take full advantage of what the school has to offer.
The consequences of not doing this will be reaped after you have graduated—I know because I went through it. Although your degree is important for your resume, it won’t get you a job solely. Getting real work experience through internships, developing skills, and fostering network connections will save you from the yearlong endeavor of finding a job that I went through post-graduation. Granted, this may not be true for all majors, but I am simply sharing my experience in the effort to make you think ahead and not get too lost in your studies.
Is It Financially Worth It?
Many high school seniors are determined to go to a specific school regardless of the cost. However, everyone should consider the financial toll their education will take on them once they have graduated.
Depending on your major, you may be able to take on a large amount of debt because of how much you will make after college. But for an English Major, like me, it is not really worth it. I was fortunate enough to receive financial aid, which is something you should apply for, as well if you are eligible and get as many scholarships as possible before taking out loans. Even then, really consider how much you can potentially make after graduating and if you are able to handle the debt that you will be left with.