choosing

Finding the Right School for You

May 29, 2015 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Colleges

You now what’s crazy? You graduate from high school, barely 18 and you’re expected to know exactly what you want to do with your life and where you want to go. Yeah, that makes sense. If you graduate from high school and are planning to attend college, there are so many decisions that you have to make. It isn’t easy, but luckily there are some resources out there for you to make you “life defining” decision.

Decisions, Decisions!

Decisions, Decisions!

1. Collegeboard.com: I used this site a lot when I was looking for colleges because it gives you a breakdown of each school from the ratio of boys to girls to the price. It’s fairly easy to navigate, and it allows you to see which college is best for you. This is especially useful if price is a big factor for you, because they are fairly accurate and you can compare the prices of each college that you are thinking about attending. Another perk is that this site gives the acceptance rate, which can save you some money from applying to schools that may be out of your league.

2. Guidance counselor: For me, my guidance counselor was very helpful in my search and helped me narrow down my choices. It’s best to find a counselor that is realistic in your search so that they don’t give you any high hopes for schools that aren’t a good fit. If you talk to your guidance counselor about your interests and everything that you’re looking for, they should have enough experience to help you find the right school. They can also connect you with other students that are in the same situation so that you can talk with them and get some extra advice.

3. Studentsreview.com: This site wasn’t so helpful for me, as much as it’s a sort of complaint center for people who weren’t happy in college at all. I made the mistake of visiting this site before I attended my school, and was scared off a little bit. Basically it’s like every other review site – people only leave reviews when they are bitter and rarely leave them when they are content. Most of the reviews on this site are about how certain schools have no parties etc. While some of the things said were a bit true, they hardly reflected the entirety of the school that I chose. I could tell that whoever wrote them must have been more unhappy with themselves and their own lives more than anything.

4. Word of Mouth: This is probably the best way to start your college search, or at least that’s my opinion. I didn’t even know about the college that I chose until I was talking with someone who went there. After hearing them talk about the college, I looked it up and ended up being really interested. If I had never talked to that person, I wouldn’t have even known that the college existed. Just because a college doesn’t have a huge name or isn’t well known, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not the right place for you. Try talking to older siblings or your friends older siblings that are currently in college to help narrow down your search.

The most important thing to remember when looking for a college is to stick to your gut and make the best decision for yourself. Don’t go to a school because all of your friends say it’s the best “party school” and don’t go to a school in Boston just because you think the city is cool. Once you visit the right college for you, you’ll just know it. Weigh all of your options, and don’t forget to do what’s best for you! Good Luck!

Getting Into Assumption

September 3, 2014 in Admissions, Campus Life, Colleges

ac_greyhound

                                                                                                  ac_greyhound

Like most kids graduating high school, I was excited yet nervous to move onto the next chapter of my life. I wasn’t particularly fond of high school, and dual enrolled my senior year at the local University, so I was excited to move on, but I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

I went and saw my assigned guidance counselor for advice, but what I got were too many options and not enough time to decide. I mean c’mon, I was just raising my hand and asking to use the restroom in class and now I had the responsibility of deciding EXACTLY what I wanted to do with the rest of my life? It was definitely overwhelming, until my guidance counselor asked if I was particularly good at anything or preferred certain subjects. Of course! I thought, English! I love to write, I’ve always been good at it, and I had passed every English class with flying colors. So, we looked up colleges close to Massachusetts with English programs and narrowed it down to Assumption, Emerson, Northeastern, and Fitchburg State. Now, my guidance counselor was helpful, but not realistic. The reality was that I was rejected from Northeastern and Emerson (my top 2), and was only accepted to Fitchburg and Assumption.

Then, I made my choice. It was simple – I wanted to live far, but not too far from home, and Fitchburg is about 15 minutes from my house, so I would obviously not spend the money to live on campus. So, Assumption was my choice. I accepted without even visiting the school actually, because they also offered me decent financial aid. What I didn’t realize was that Assumption was a private, catholic school, which meant a hefty tuition cost and no meat in sight for the entire duration of Lent.

The good news is, that Assumption was the best thing to ever happen to me, as far as friends, experiences, education, two internships, volunteering and being able to visit home on a whim. Although being unprepared in my college planning turned out to be a great thing for me, I would still encourage others to do more research and to really think about what they want, as well as the cost. Because I have attended both a public and private college, I would rate the quality of the education as the same, and the only difference may be the teacher to student ratio and the effort individuals themselves put in. Walking away from a school with $80,000 in debt is a big difference from walking away with $10,000 in debt.

Getting into Assumption isn’t particularly hard, but they do look for individuals who are community oriented and did well in high school. Assumption is very big into volunteering and serving the community, and looks for people who have multiple interests. SAT scores are optional, and I truly believe that they take your extra curricular activities and who you are into consideration more than just grades.

So, I would like to think that I didn’t choose Assumption, rather that Assumption chose me, and I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else!

Looking at Schools and Choosing Stonehill College

May 15, 2014 in Academics, Colleges

Stonehill's Clock Tower in front of the Library.

Stonehill’s Clock Tower in Front of the Library

I started looking at colleges toward the end of junior year and the beginning of senior year of high school. Thinking about college overwhelmed me, but I realize that looking earlier would have helped me figure out exactly what I wanted from a school. At that point I didn’t know what most colleges were like or what I should’ve been looking for. I probably sound like your guidance counselor when I say this, but researching and actually visiting schools is crucial. I visited all five of the schools that I applied to, Stonehill, Emerson, Emmanuel, Curry, and Salve Regina, and I even visited schools that I didn’t apply to. I toured Stonehill twice, which helped me build a connection to it, and realize that it’s the school for me. If a friend, brother, sister or anyone you know is going to visit a school, you should go with them even if you aren’t planning on going there. Seeing places you don’t like will help you figure out what you do like. It will give you a feel for if you want to be at a big or small school, if you want to live in the city, the resources available to you, etc. This is a huge decision, so you want to see and learn as much as you can.

Before entering college I didn’t know what I wanted to major in. English was the only subject I was ever passionate about, so technically the choice was obvious, but I went in undeclared and didn’t officially declare until spring of sophomore year. In high school my dream job was to write for an alternative music magazine, so I had journalism in mind too, but I still couldn’t decide. I wanted to do everything, and Stonehill let me.

Stonehill is a Liberal Arts college that has many majors and minors and they’re constantly expanding. If I wanted to choose something other than English or explore another discipline I have plenty of options available. If you’re interested in a lot of subjects, Stonehill has an Interdisciplinary Major program where you can combine multiple disciplines that fit together. I took advantage of that and created a major in addition to English called Editing and Publishing. It consists of English, creative writing, journalism, and graphic design courses. Now I get to take all of the courses I want without missing anything.

Not only do I like the many options available to me, but I love the small community of Stonehill. You can’t walk from one building to another without seeing a familiar face and saying “hi.” I went to a very small high school with a graduating class of about 120 students, so I knew I wanted to go to a small school. I liked small class sizes and knowing everyone’s name. I liked being able to ask teachers for help and being comfortable enough to talk with them after class. That’s what I wanted in a college and I found that in Stonehill. I’m going to be a junior in the fall, but I already have great relationships with professors. I’m not just a number in a 100+ student lecture, and all of my professors know my name. When the semester ends, professors still remember me and will stop and talk when they see me. I can email them, go to their office hours, or see them outside of office times. I’ve found that they truly care and will go out of their way to help which is hard to find at other schools.

As you may already know, or will soon learn, applying to colleges can be a total pain, and it costs money. Something I liked about applying to Stonehill is that sending in your SAT scores is optional. I was never good at standardized testing, and didn’t do very well on my SATs, so the fact that I didn’t have to send them in was a bit of relief and took some stress off of applying. They are important, but if your scores aren’t great, it’s not a big deal.

Just remember, wherever you decide to go, be sure to decide on your own. Unless it’s a financial issue, go where you want and don’t be afraid to make a bold move. I know it’s hard, but don’t let your parents, friends, or significant other influence you. This is about your future and where you’ll be, so make this decision yours.

Why I Chose The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

January 16, 2013 in Admissions, Reviews

There are roughly 2,000+ 4-year institutions that offer post-secondary education. Most of them are primarily focused on a certain subject, like liberal arts or science. Many of them have specific candidates that they admit to their school each admission season. Few of them have price-tags on their tuition in the high $55,000′s and even higher. Ranging from the sweltering heats and nonexistent winters of the southern colleges to the blisteringly cold months and medium summers of the northern colleges, the high school senior is given what seems an impossible challenge: “What college should I attend?”

Noting the fact that most of the decisions are based on a few key factors helps a high school senior decided what school to attend. These primary factors being: GPA, location, tuition and major. For me, roughly a year ago, I too was ripping my hair out, trying to figure out where I want to go.

Living in the midwest really helped me focus on where I wanted to school. Next, I looked at my GPA and my ACT scores to narrow down the schools I had a chance at. I broke up every school that I wanted to attend into three groups: Safety School, In Range school  and Reach school.

The safety school were schools that I didn’t stress over admission for. I was above the GPA and ACT scores for these schools so I was waiting from my acceptance letters. At this time, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities was in this group. Seeing how I lived in Minnesota, I was not really looking forward to attending school 45 minutes from my house — but more on this later!

The In Range schools were colleges that I had a very good chance of being accepted at, save for a few variations. My GPA or ACT might not have been the highest at these schools so there was a greater chance that I would either get rejected or wait-listed  To help my chances, however, I spent more time on the essay portions, injecting my personality and persona into each one, so that the admission committee could see that I am more than just a test score.

The Reach schools were simply that; schools that were a huge reach for acceptance. An Ivy league school and a school out west made this list. These were schools that it would be a dream to go to, but I knew that I didn’t have chance to get into. Man’s reach exceeds his grasp, but nevertheless, I wound up applying to a few schools and needless to say, I was not admitted.

I applied to 8 schools, with 2 being Safety schools, 4 In Range, and 2 Reach. I was admitted at 6 of the 8, only not making the Reach schools. I was happy for I had 6 great options to chose from. This began my next stage of choosing the school: Visits.

I spent one month, traveling to 3 of the In Range schools and both of my Safety schools. I knew that I would live on campus, so I wanted to see if I actually liked the campus. It would be pointless to spend roughly $30,000 per year and not want to step foot outside my dorm room. These visits were priceless because I was able to easily remove a few schools from my list of six. I was down to 3 schools that I really wanted to go to, with once again, the University of Minnesota being at the bottom.

The last step of my decision was one of the biggest steps: cost. Two of the schools cost about $30,000 per year while the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities would be roughly $18,000 per year because I lived in the state. It was logical at this point. The U of M had everything I wanted: a big campus, lots of people, lots of social activities, a strong science program, and low cost. I accepted my admission to the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities on April 1st, 2012. Looking back, it was easily one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.

Now, after having spent a semester living in the dorms, meeting new people and professors, taking tests, and getting involved in campus life, it doesn’t seem like that my house is only 45 minutes away; it seems like I live on another continent. The school itself is a self-sustaining environment and in turn, the students follow suit.

College planning. Some of the hardest decisions that a person must make, but by breaking down each and every step, the choice becomes clear. After months of researching, I am proud to call myself a Golden Gopher. Our school motto is “Driven To Discover” and that is truly my ideal in life.

Driven To Discover