Today is February 8th, but I’m going to start this post by going back in time a little bit. As a senior in high school, I toured Ohio State for the first time on February 4th, 2013 (almost exactly two years ago). I had never really seen the campus before, and I remember being so intrigued and astonished by the beauty and excitement of it. I knew immediately that this was the place I wanted to call my home away from home. I had an idea that I was going to end up at Ohio State for awhile before touring, but seeing the campus in person really confirmed that for me. I payed my acceptance fee the minute I arrived home from my tour and I haven’t looked back since.
I realize that picking a college to attend is a stressful process for many people. There are so, so many things to consider: the location, the size, the cost, the opportunities, the sports, and many others. I really don’t believe that there is a perfect college for anyone. While I love Ohio State more than I could ever explain, I know there are a handful of other schools I would have also been happy at, had I decided to attend them.
There are a million things to consider when going through the college application process. Usually there are lots of people to help you along the way; parents, counselors, and hello, the internet. Below are things I heavily considered while going through the process myself.
This is a big one for many reasons. First you should consider the proximity to home, because I promise you, even the most independent people get homesick. Going to school 8+ hours away might be fine for some people, but there are times I just want to spend a weekend at home! Another problem some people also face, would be living too close to school and always being tempted to go home. Finding a school that is far enough away, but not too far is key. Another thing to consider about location is the cost. For public schools, in-state tuition is obviously less expensive than out of state, disregarding scholarships.
Going along with location, would be the school’s environment. Are you looking for an urban, suburban, or rural setting? Each one has its own strengths and limitations, so it is best to find the one you would be most comfortable in. This is another factor to consider!
When I started looking at Ohio State, I remember being warned countless times of its daunting size. Even as a sophomore, when I tell people I go to Ohio State they usually say something along the lines of “isn’t that school way too big?” I love going to a big school, however. I grew up in 13 years of small private schools, and if theres one thing I learned, its that I hate small classroom environments. I love that Ohio State is ginormous because it allows me to participate in many events that other schools have not heard of. I also have countless major opportunities, including my major of Public Affairs, which I had no idea existed before OSU.
When touring a school, you want to focus on the opportunities it has for its students. For example, if you played a sport in high school, but aren’t continuing at the college level, you should look at intramurals. You also want to pay attention to how many student organizations the school offers, so that you can see how easy it would be to get involved. Another thing to consider would be the size of the school’s Greek Life; whether you are interested in it or not.
There are many stats to consider when looking at different colleges, but there were a few I made sure to pay attention to during the college application process. One major stat I looked at was the retention rate, which is how many people return to the school after their freshman year. This is a big indicator of how people like the school, and often shows how likely people are to transfer to other schools. Another big statistic would be how many people live on campus. Some schools are strictly known as commuting schools, which can be great if you’re living at home, but if you’re looking for an on-campus college experience, you should probably stay away from them. Another thing to consider would be the school’s living requirement.
So, there you have it. In short, I guess that’s how I picked my college. Like I said, while it is a big decision, I don’t think it is necessarily a life-changing one. If you really click with a college, then that’s awesome, but I’d try to keep your mind open because every school is unique and has something to offer.