Back to College: Deciding Where to Go

Things to Think About When Choosing a College:

For many the first two on the list are the most important, but don’t underestimate these other factors.

  • Location
  • Cost of tuition
  • Cost of room/board (if living away from home)
  • Programs/courses offered
  • Teachers/Faculty (a lot more important than you may think)
  • Social atmosphere of the campus

After taking cost and location into account, it’s very important to do your own research and really get informed about the colleges you are thinking about attending (or thinking about sending your kids too). Even if you are looking at community colleges or universities in your immediate area, the decision should not be taken lightly.

  • Always visit the campus before deciding to attend a college.
  • Use the internet to read about the colleges you are looking at attending (but take their message with a grain of salt…go see the place and meet the people yourself. Remember the website is designed to make you want to go there.)
  • Talk to students that attend the school.
  • When you go for your scheduled campus tour, take the opportunity to meet professors working in the department that you’re most interested in.
  • And/Or contact “potential, future” professors by phone/email and let them know you’re interested in their program. It’s very important to find out about your instructors ahead of time, to find out about their classes, and their perspective on the subjects they teach, and their teaching philosophy.
  • Read department newsletters and school newspapers to find out what kind of cultural events are held at the school. (plays, exhibitions, guest speakers, ) While this may not seem important, it is because it can tell you a lot about the school’s political leaning and agenda.
  • Also, when finding out about the college, you should find about about work study programs and inquire about student organization and the overall campus environment.
  • Prospective students should also consider attending a class or two to find out what the classroom environment is like. (or you can sign up to audit a class for a semester)

Why This is Important to Me

It may seem kind of silly that I devoted an entire post to “deciding where to go to college,” and really in some cases it’s just a no brainer that you would find out about a college before you go there. On the other hand, I know that a lot of people (myself included) attend a college because it’s affordable and nearby. But I wanted to write this post as a word of caution to some.

And here’s why: My husband and I went to college together, and he’s currently in graduate school. My husband has loved the subject of literature for his entire life. He is very passionate about it! Before he began attending grad school, he looked over the website of the college he currently attends, and it sounded like it would be a good fit for him. Unfortunately for him, he was never more wrong. He’s taking the last of his classes right now, and all he has left is to write his thesis, but his love for the subject….his fire and flair, has fizzled out dramatically.

He began with thirst for knowledge, and he’s leaving with a bad taste in his mouth. This college, like many, is filled with teachers that bring their political beliefs in to the classroom, and they are very indifferent and even hostile to students who believe differently. And aside from that, they’ve taken a subject that my husband loves and changed it completely, focusing not on works of literature themselves, but on what’s missing in the works and focusing more what critics say about the works, and they completely lack objectivity.

I could go on longer, but for the sake of trying to keep this post as short as possible, I’ll just leave it there. But if you have any questions or would like to know more about this, you can contact me and I’ll be glad to answer your questions.

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