I’m going to take a break from my normal routine of speaking on all of my doubtless fascinating stories and adventures through Italy, and focus instead on one wonderful person in my life: my sister!!! She is currently a high school senior embroiled in the internal and external struggle over the college choice. I’m writing, for her and others, tips on how to make this choice easier.
Obviously, we need to start from somewhere. I’m going to assume that at this point in the game, one already knows the basics of the school they want (student body size, urban or rural, liberal arts or specialized, etc). The problem comes down to those schools that are close enough in the external qualities. The secret is getting a closer look at what the school really holds.
Campus Visit: Obviously, brochures will only give you about 10% of the information necessary to make this choice. If you were to make a visit to Butler (link here), there are also many things to consider.
1) Professors: Meet with the men and women who will be instructing you for four years. If they have similar academic interests as you, you will garner more from their classes. Trust your gut: a professor that appears fascinating in a conversation will probably turn out like that in the lesson (and this holds for negative qualities).
2) Students: Meet with students, preferably in your area of interest. You will get the best feel of the campus from them: what are the classes like, what’s the energy of the student body, do they enjoy themselves on campus, etc. Not to mention that it’s about a thousand times easier to feel connected to a school if you make the effort to know the students.
3) Extracurriculars: You probably have an idea of what you want to commit yourself to for the four years of college. Get out of the academic buildings and see how the university shapes up to your expectations. Let’s say you were into rock climbing: I can guarantee you the the president of this or any Butler Club would love to meet with perspective students, show them what the life on campus is like outside of class and on the…wall? I’m regretting this hypothetical situation.