As I saw a number of prospective Marquette students and their families touring the grounds this past week, it reminded me that I have not yet discussed with high school juniors and seniors what they should be looking for in a school. With that being said, let’s begin.
High school seniors have been receiving acceptance letters for the past several weeks and the typical deadline to respond to the school of their choosing is May 1, although this may vary. Take note of any housing or tuition deposits the school requires you send in along with your enrollment verification.
But what leads up to you, the senior, making the final decision on where to attend college? It will most certainly include you parents’ subtly telling you their preferred choice and the total cost over the four years, but much more runs through your head.
The location of the campus is going to be a colossal factor in the decision. In previous article, I mentioned putting the driving time limit at eight hours, which I still believe is a solid cap. That gives you about 400 miles to play with in any direction, and there must be tremendous schools in a 400 miles radius. Unless if you can find a place that has nonstop plane service to and from your hometown, which would help tons and save connection hassle.
Depending on the parents, they may want you to be close to home at first, but they may soon realize that furthering the distance could be beneficial in the long run. However, if you see a school in France that you really have your heart set on, it better wow your folks.
The schools I was accepted by were Marquette University, George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Marquette is the furthest from Rhode Island but the quality of the journalism program here and the overall atmosphere compensated for the distance.
A few other key aspects are considered when choosing a school. Do you see yourself in that area after graduation, meaning is it somewhere you would like to settle down years after you pocket that diploma? Would you prefer a rural or urban setting? Do you know anybody currently over at the school who could be your unofficial tour guide during the first week? What is there to do for entertainment on the weekends?
However, the most crucial feature of the school you’re investigating is the cost. Much criticism has been targeted at private schools for “overcharging” students and seemingly providing the same type of education at a public school that costs much less. Your personal and family’s finances will be of great consideration when making the choice. Are you willing to put down $40,000 per year or save yourself some loans and find a school for $20,000 annually?
One concern for high school seniors heading to college is that they think they’ll have trouble making friends. Have no worries if this is you; although it may take a couple of weeks to get completely comfortable, meeting new faces in classes or in the dorm will present you with many opportunities to get to know people.
Until then, finishing strong academically is imperative. Getting all graduation requirements completed, making a lasting impression with your Senior Project presentation, and performing above average (if not excellent) in all courses will only make you more prepared for college.
Junior year is arguably the most important year academically because it is the last full year colleges see of your transcript. Schools will request either a first-quarter report card and/or a first semester transcript, but junior year is one of your last chances to dazzle the admissions office.