Things I Wish I Considered When Choosing A College: A Senior's Perspective

Things I Wish I Considered When Choosing A College: A Senior's Perspective

This is the next four years of your life we're talking about!
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As a second semester senior, when I look back on my college experience I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve had the time of my life and, reluctantly, I’m beginning to realize it’s coming to an end. Even though I would never go back and choose a different school to attend, there are some things I know now that I wish I had paid more attention to when I began my college search four years ago. Although it may not have altered my decision, I believe knowing certain things about the other schools I was choosing from would have broadened my spectrum of options. Here are six things I wish I paid more attention to when choosing a college, from someone who's almost done.

Long-Term Cost

This is not to say that the cost of the school I was going to choose wasn’t one of the top deciding factors. Of course, I wanted to go to a school that I could afford, but I also wanted it to be a school that I loved. What I didn’t consider, however, was how much money I was going to have to pay back in loans depending on what school I chose. I think it’s so important to attend a school that you love, but also that won’t put you under in debt once you graduate.

Housing Options

When I was looking at schools, I only really asked where the freshman lived and toured those types of dorms. I didn’t really consider the fact that the housing situations would be different year to year. Some school have apartments for students starting as soon as sophomore year, and some schools don’t even have on-campus housing after freshman year. I would have been more informed about each school if I had asked where most sophomores/juniors/seniors lived.

Social Scene

For many (like myself) I wanted to attend a school with a good social scene. However, I didn’t exactly know what I was asking when I'd say “Is this a party school?”. Freshman year was a tough adjustment for me, like many others, and I had often wished I inquired more about the non-party scene at schools as well. Thankfully, I enjoy the weekend scene at the school I attend, but it would have been a helpful thing for me to consider four years ago.

Dining Options

This includes everything from the food service provider to meal plan options and close off-campus restaurants/food places. When you visit a school, you usually try out the food at the dining hall. However, I never considered what I’d actually be eating 7 days a week. Of course, the pizza, pasta, burgers and French fries are good at most any school. I really should have looked into the options that the dining halls offered in regards to what I would seriously want to be eating daily. Also, there is a huge difference between a dining hall that gives you allotted “swipes” for the week, as opposed to one that runs on a “points” or “dining dollars” system. It’s really something to consider when looking at the amount of times you’ll be eating there and the food you like best. Off-campus options are great too, and it’s nice to choose a school that has a couple yummy places around that your parents can bring you to when they come visit. (HA!)

Career Services

As a freshman, I really wasn’t thinking about what I was going to do once I graduated college. And honestly, I didn’t start thinking about this until junior year. However, it is important to choose a school with a helpful career services program. This office is what helps you write a resume, develop interview skills, get internships, and create networks of people for work after graduation. These people are a huge help at most schools. Career services is an important department to ask about when touring colleges, and seeing what they offer or how they have helped students in the past can weigh heavily on your decision.

The Health Center

When looking at schools, the first thing on your mind definitely isn't what you'll do if you ever get sick while you're there. However, it's important to know about the health center or health services a school offers. This includes anything from sick visits, to emergencies and mental health support. It's important to know if you'll be able to be treated on campus if you catch a cold (which you will, the campus plague is a real thing), or if you'll have to go to the doctors somewhere else. It's also helpful to know the hours they'll be open. Sometimes I wish the health center on my campus was open 24-hours like a lot of other schools. It just was't something I asked about initially.

Parking/Transportation

Most schools don’t allow freshman residents to have cars on campus because they want to encourage staying there and getting used to living there. Some schools offer Zip-Cars, or something similar, that allow students to basically rent a car to leave campus for a bit. Some also offer shuttle services to stores/malls/movie theaters. I knew I would want to have my car on campus as soon as I was able to, but never considered asking where people were allowed to park or how much it cost for a parking pass. This wouldn’t really have been a “make or break” for me, but it would have been nice to know how far away from the dorms I’d have to park or how much I would have to pay.

While the main things you consider when looking at colleges (how pretty the campus is, class size, if they have your intended major or not, number of undergrads, how cute the boys are) are all very important, don’t forget to ask about these little things that could seriously impact your decision when choosing where you’ll make the hefty investment into your future. Just remember, ask plenty of questions and don't be shy when doing so. This is the next four years of your life we're talking about here!

Cover Image Credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwixv73l-ujRAhXB4CYKHQ8VCm4QjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftyrasbookshelf.blogspot.com%2F2016%2F01%2Fquotes-for-true-book-lovers.html&bvm=bv.145822982,d.amc&psig=AFQjCNHrlnggHEmTAunfsyjUy3_FzSA40Q&ust=1485834401936866

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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