Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Figuring Out Your Next Home

This post is a re-post of one I did last year.  I think it is very useful and so did a lot of people so I decided to revise it a bit and re-post it for those of you trying to figure out your next home:

Now is the time when high school seniors are finishing up college applications and beginning to receive the acceptance letters.  You are also beginning to really question which college is the right one for you.  To help you through this process I'll tell you the steps I took in choosing St. Michael's as my final decision.

Step One:  Gather all the information you have from each of the colleges you are considering and sort it by college.  Next I personally made sure I had information on their Computer Science department (since it was my intended major).  I also checked to make sure I had the tuition cost and any other costs that the school required.  An option to add to this may also be any specific clubs or sports you may be interested in.

Step Two:  I made a generic document on Excel that had specific information to fill out about each college.   A lot of information on it helped me throughout the application process.  My first column said "College/University."  Then the following columns read in order:
  • City/State
  • Anticipated Major
  • Application Sent (date)
  • Application Submit Date
  • ACT Code - St. Mike's is 4312
  • ACT Scores Sent
  • SAT Code - St. Mike's is 3757
  • SAT Scores Sent
  • Guidance Sent - any information your guidance office needs to send, this was the date which I checked to confirm it all went out
  • Response - this line contained a smiley face to tell me if I was accepted by the college
  • Tuition
  • Room/Board
  • Miscellaneous Fees - any other fees that the college has
  • Scholarship - if I received a specific amount of scholarship from the college
  • Total Cost - the cost of tuition, room/board, and miscellaneous fees added with the scholarship subtracted
  • Number of Students - St. Mike's:  2,000
  • Visit - dates I visited the school
  • Web Address - www.smcvt.edu 
I suggest something along this line so it is an easy comparison between the colleges and then you have important information in one place too.

Step Three: Then make a pros and con sheet for each college.  This step is sometimes tricky because you really don't know what you should put.  Depending on your interests and concerns some items you can put on the lists are:  size, location, cost, sports, clubs, and perks.  Perks is probably the hardest because you are thrown so much information about a school that you really don't know what may be considered a perk.  For an idea, some of my perks for St. Mike's were:  Housing for 4 years, Smuggs Ski Pass, MOVE and Wilderness Program, and a Chapel on campus.  Your perks will probably be different but they should be something that stands out at you and will make your experience enjoyable.  By visiting you may find a perk you didn't even know you wanted.

Step Four:  This is an option, but a highly suggested one.  Visit the colleges again.  You don't have to visit all of them again but the ones that are top of your list are highly encourage.  When you visit this time you will most likely retain more of it because you are more interested.  You may come up with more questions based on the information on your lists.  When visiting, if you're interested think about requesting a lunch with a current student or meeting with a professor in your intended (or interested) major.  If you don't have a major in mind you can still talk to a professor in any area just to get a feel of the college.

Step Five:  Hopefully you've narrowed down your choices and maybe even have made a decision.  If you haven't then this is probably going to be the hardest step.  My suggestion is look again at your lists, update the pros and cons, and let it sit for a day or two.  If you can't stop thinking about a specific college or have more questions make a note.  Get those unanswered questions answered!  Then look again at your options and go with your gut.  That is what I did and I love my school.  A few more ideas to think about when making the decision are:  Where do feel at home?, Where can you see yourself?, What do you want from a college experience?

I hope these steps help and if there are any questions I may be able to answer you can post a comment or formspring me by clicking here!!  I wish you the best of luck :-)

Hint: St. Mike's is a good choice if you ask me!

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