By Joe Eastman, staff writer
By Sam Leitch, copy editor
For some, choosing a college is a defining life decision–so it doesn’t help that students have to pick out the culmination of their prior education amidst an overload of school work and responsibilities as well as a lack of information and guidance.
Before enrolling as a freshman at Santa Clara University, Chloe Moore made proximity to home a priority, not applying for any colleges outside California and reconsidering those near its borders. Moore said that one reason she chose SCU was that the people she met at a preview weekend were friendly and she felt at home on campus. For those nervous about starting a new life in a new location, Moore offered some words of reassurance: “…once you get to college it is easier to realize that you don’t have to know what you want to do yet. You are surrounded with so many people your age and it’s comforting to know you are all sort of figuring things out together.”
While location also played a large part in college freshman Cassia Lee’s decision, she stated that it ultimately did not stop her from studying at Harvard University all the way across the country. Lee’s choice revolved around Harvard’s academic reputation as well as the lack of fraternities and sororities, both of which created a social environment full of exciting and diverse individuals. “I like that Harvard is not huge so I can know people and get around easily,” Lee said, “but is still big enough to have a wide variety of people and classes.”
Mia Kiyota, a freshman at University of San Diego, said the same thing that proximity was important but being a little far away gives you more options. Kiyota acknowledged the importance of starting early, saying, “if your college has a program for freshmen before orientation, do it,” since it is a good way to “get introduced into the atmosphere of the college.”
Vishnu Pillai reports using the College and Career Center to decide on a college before enrolling as a first-year engineer at Purdue University. The decision revolved around what Pillai calls Purdue’s “prowess in the field of engineering,” saying he chose the college since it was such a strong school. Because this was the deciding factor, Pillai overlooked things like cost, class size, campus and location—though Pillai reports he wished he’d thought about location more: “being in the middle of nowhere can sometimes be boring…and the long distance from home sometimes makes me homesick, but I don’t think I regret my decision because of it.”
Despite each of these students’ varying motivations and preferences when choosing where they would finally attend college, the unifying factor is that they utilized opportunities to get a taste for what life would be like on campus, whether that was through freshman programs, representatives in the College and Career Center or discussions with alumni. It is important to both realize what you need from your college experience and research institutions that possess those qualities. While it can be scary, these students’ experiences showcase that it can be exciting as well.