When people tell you that college is going to fly by, believe them. It feels like just yesterday I was in high school, stressing about what college I wanted to go to and what I wanted to major in. I was worried about my SATs, prom, and who I wanted to be as an adult. But here I am, beginning my senior year of college! When I tell people I’m going to be a senior they’re just as surprised as I am; they agree that it doesn’t seem like I first began my college journey 3 years ago. When I was looking at colleges, I really had no idea what to look for. I didn’t know what I liked and didn’t like. While campus tours helped, I still was unsure of what I should be focusing on when making my decision. So, I’ve decided to make your lives a bit easier and create a list of what I personally have found to be most important in my decision of where to go to college. Here’s part 1 of how to find your perfect match, college edition.
1) Distance from home: Nazareth is a 4 hour drive away from my hometown of Schaghticoke, New York. I can’t easily drive back and just visit home for a couple of hours like I would be able to if I chose a school an hour away. I can, however, take a weekend trip to visit home if something important is happening. When I was looking for a college, how far the school was from home was a big deciding factor. I didn’t want to be too close to home and risk having too many people from my high school go there or too many opportunities for my parents to guilt me into visiting. Still, I knew I didn’t want a school on the other side of the country either. Naz was the perfect balance of staying close enough to home, without it feeling like I just moved down the street.
2) Location: Rochester, New York, is an up and coming city with a lot of colleges and college aged students. Nazareth is located in Pittsford, a small suburban part of the greater Rochester area. I didn’t want a college in the heart of a city since I’m from a rural area and the change would be a bit of a culture shock. I also knew a very rural based college wasn’t right for me either; I didn’t want to have to drive 25 minutes to the closest pizza shop like at home. A suburban location like Naz has was a great fit for me! The city of Rochester is only about 10 minutes away if I wanted to explore, but Pittsford is more quiet and low key than living in the heart of a city would be.
3) Majors: Although it’s obviously important to chose a school that teaches what major you want to focus on, it’s also important to think about the other majors your college offers. When I came to Naz, I was undeclared, meaning I hadn’t chosen a major yet. When looking at colleges, I had to make sure the college I chose had programs I was interested in. I wrote more about this subject in a previous blog post which you can find here. The majority of college students change their majors at least once throughout their 4 years in school and it’s easy to realize if a program is or isn’t the right fit for you once you start taking classes on the subject. So, if you decide your original major isn’t a right fit, going to a school with a lot of different majors that interest you is important. This gives you more options incase you change your mind in the future.
I have a lot more wisdom to share for anyone needing help finding the right college for them. Keep on the lookout for the next list of important things to think about when looking for colleges!