Picking the right college is tough!
There's something in the air, and I don't quite know what it is. New mulch and springtime? Food cooking at Cowan? Nevin Hall? No! It's the smell of success!
There's something enormously fulfilling about knowing you're almost one year through college. Potential first-years are flooding the campus in droves, and I've been lucky enough to get to chat with many of them. Most are terrified about choosing a school, trying to decide what they want to major in, and still finish high school (ah, senioritis!). It kind of takes me back to when I was choosing Centre...
I was one of those people who was hopelessly confused as to where I should attend; I had the confirmation windows from two different schools up on my computer at 11:59, sobbing and distraught because I felt like I hadn't had enough time to fully consider my options. So, I'm leaving my advice to all of you who are scouring college websites, hoping for a bit of last minute advice or information to help sway your decision. I've been there, and I can sympathize.
1) Regardless of where you end up, any undergraduate education is what you make of it. I have genuinely loved (almost) every minute here at Centre, and this was not my first choice school. There's a reason for everything; I believe that I ultimately ended up at Centre because this is precisely where I needed to be. My peers and professors are wonderful people and I truly enjoy learning from them everyday.
2) Really look at the type of people on campus. Do you feel like you fit in? Could you see yourself in class (and hanging out) with these people? If you feel like a social outcast, four years (or more) at any institution can feel like eternity. Make sure that you're comfortable with the vibe you get from the student body.
3) Don't worry about your major. Sure, if you have a good idea that you want to major in marine biology, then a school in landlocked state may not be the place for you. Unless you are dead set on a particular major, don't choose a school for a particular program. College students change their major an average of three times, and with the well-rounded liberal arts education that Centre offers, it's easy to fall in love with a completely new subject. Also, most employers and graduate programs really don't care what your major is; they care if you are competent, personable, and adaptable. Anyone can be trained to do (almost) anything.
4) Consider finances. I know that financial aid offers are the crux of many college decisions, and trust me, I understand. I really do. There's no way you're going to get the next four years of your life back, so you want to be somewhere where you feel comfortable. Conversely, you don't want to be in unmanageable debt. Oftentimes there's a school that offers a middle ground between personal happiness and financial feasibility. If you have your heart set on one particular school (Centre, perhaps?), but you still feel that it's out of reach, call the Financial Aid office and request to speak to someone about your dilemma. Sometimes a phone call can make a world of difference.
5) Go with your gut instinct--it's often the best indicator of what you should really do. Gladly listen to that advice that your parents and friends give, but stay true to what you really feel is the best option for you. No one else has to live with your choices, and it's best to live with no regrets.