Helpful Tips To Choose The Perfect School For You

Helpful Tips To Choose The Perfect School For You

It doesn't matter so much where you go as what you do when you get there.
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Congratulations, you crazy high schoolers!! You've made it to the home stretch of high school! Now, you have just one semester left of high school, and let me tell you, this was my favorite semester of high school without a doubt.

It's the best semester; there's graduation, senior prom, senior all-night parties, and best of all, picking your college.

Yes, that's right! You've just finished applying to colleges and you're ready to start hearing back. You'll get into your dream school and a few others. Celebrate each acceptance letter! You did it!

But then, that means you have to pick the college you'll ultimately be going to. It's a big decision and it's important. This is when you'll start going to campus days and college tours and every school is going to try to sell their campus to you.

Every school will sound absolutely perfect, but just remember that the people you're talking to are trained specifically to sell, sell, sell.

No, that doesn't mean that they'll lie to you about their campus, but they will try to spin everything as much as they can to a positive light. Afterall, they want you to choose their university over all the others if they admitted you.

In that case, there are a few things to keep in mind while you're searching for the perfect home. Take it from someone who just went through that process and is more than happy with her decision.

There's a lot to think about, but the most important thing to do is talk to as many current students as you possibly can during the tour.

Talk to not only the tour guides but also to the other people touring the school. This will help you get a feel for what the campus's student body is like. Because let me tell you, the people you surround yourself with are one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.

When you talk to these people, ask them about their classes. Ask them to tell you about their favorite class or professor at the University. Ask them to tell you about something they genuinely enjoyed learning about. Listen to how they answer; do they make you excited to take classes at the university? Do they sound passionate about their experiences in classes, even if the workload was difficult?

But even more importantly than that, ask them about what they do outside of class. What kinds of student organizations are they part of, what kinds of projects do they work on?

When they respond, listen for their passion. Do the students here sound like they're just doing these things for their resumes or do they actually care about the work they're doing? When they talk about their activities, do you feel like you want to be a part of that too?

And then, ask them about what they do for fun. No one drinks and parties all seven nights a week (at least I hope to dear god they don't), so what do they do for fun?

This answer gives you a lot of insight into the campus culture and whether it's a good fit for you.

If they struggle to come up with what they do for fun, or it sounds like they don't spend a lot of time on destressing activities, then the culture of the campus might be more rigid and academically focused. If it's the opposite, then you know they do take time to relax.

In that case, listen to the kinds of things they do and if it matches with what you love to do or might want to try.

Take a look at how big the campus is and how much walking you're actually going to have to do. Don't take that for granted, and make sure you ask about bus transportation if you're on a big campus.

I can't tell you how many times I've misjudged the amount of walking I have to do. A good gauge is to ask your tour guides how many pairs of shoes they burn through in a year. I'm up to about one right now, which isn't so bad, but's its only been half the year and winter has just begun.

Speaking of winter, pay attention to the weather. And yes, it is much, much more severe when you're walking everywhere. Ask them about road plowing conditions if you're somewhere where it snows a lot. Ask about air conditioning and heating in the housing and even classrooms.

Honestly, it seems insignificant, but these little details matter a lot.

It's all about whether or not you're going to be comfortable in this new place because when you have a thousand other more important things to be worrying about, simple things like whether or not you'll be comfortable while sitting in class or are even going to be able to make it to class in the weather outside should not be adding to your stress.

And of course, make sure you look at existing credit transfers. You don't want to take all those college classes and AP exams only to find out they don't even really count for anything except general credit. And, find out what kind of recruitment services or alumni networks or professional development opportunities they have on campus.

You won't be thinking about these things as a newly-admitted freshman, but a few years down the road, you will. Cover for yourself now.

Basically, the most important things for you to figure out while you're researching your future home is what the school's culture is like and whether you fit into it and whether the resources they have align with what you will need in the coming years.

But don't forget, it doesn't matter so much where you go as what you do when you get there.

You'll be fine either way. Go out there and chase the world down my dudes.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram | @uofmichigan

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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Today, I'm Grateful For The Accident That Nearly Ended Everything

It changed my life for the worse — and then for the better.

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Four years ago, on August 5th, 2014, I was in a car accident on highway I-80. We swerved over the median and into oncoming traffic. I was in the front passenger seat so I was at the point of impact. I broke my right hand, my right leg and I got a traumatic brain injury. I was in the hospital for almost two months and then was in therapy for a few months after that.

Though it was subtle, the accident changed me as a person and at first, I hated it. I wanted to go back to the way I was before and didn't understand why I couldn't. But looking back, I'm happy the accident happened and turned me into who I am today.

It's an odd thing to say, right? I'm glad my life and personality were almost permanently changed due to this traumatic car accident. But let me explain.

Before the accident, I was a shy little thing that didn't like to talk about my problems. I was depressed but no one knew so I wasn't getting the help I needed. After the accident, however, it was like a dam had broken in me. I couldn't stop talking and I was telling everyone about my problems. I was an introvert that suddenly had to navigate how to be an extrovert. I had to learn where the line was of what was appropriate to say and talk about and what wasn't.

Thankfully, after four years, I have a therapist to help me with my mental health and I think I have the whole socializing thing down... for the most part.

Another benefit of the accident is that is showed me who my real friends are. Most people who I considered to be my friends visited me for my first month out of the hospital. They would tell me how classes are going and how they missed me but then they would talk about themselves and their problems like I was only there to listen; I wasn't supposed to talk about my problems but I did. Some of them drifted away and didn't text me or ask me to hang out with them after a few months. It really hurt and made me really sad and wonder, "What did I do?" I felt so alone.

Eventually, I realized that how they were acting was not my fault and if they treated me like that, then they weren't my real friends. It taught me how I deserve to be treated and it's okay if the only company you have is you.

One of the best good things that came out of the whole hospitalization thing is that I got a dog! His name is Winchester, Chester for short, and he is a mini husky. I picked him out from pictures my dad showed me and I liked that he had one eye that was half brown and half blue. I went with my dad to pick him up from the breeder in Kansas only a week after I got out of the hospital. Chester sat on my lap the whole three hours home. My parents got him for me because they thought it would be nice for me to have a little companion and they were right. He doesn't bark or pee in the house, he's loyal, he can be playful but he can also be lazy. He is the bestest little puppers ever and I love him so much!

Moral of the story: If you want a dog but your parents won't get you one, get in an accident that almost kills you and then maybe they'll get you a dog. (But really don't do that.)

Throughout the years, I've spent too much time thinking about what would have happened if I hadn't gotten in the car that day. But I think this was something that was meant to happen to me. If I hadn't been in that accident, I might've gotten hurt a different way and my injuries could have been worse. I am actually thankful that this happened to me because if it hadn't, who knows the kind of person I would be today?

Plus, if it hadn't happened, I wouldn't have gotten a dog and he makes my life so much better so I'm glad I have him.

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