According to a recent study done by The National Center for Educational Statistics, there are 4,726 public and private universities available for students to attend in the United States. According to the same source, over 21 million students attend a school of higher education, or over 5% of the US population. And while the national average for college education may be somewhat low, Leesville’s progress report for the 2015 school year showed that 73% of students chose to attend college after graduating.
With this in mind and the school year just beginning to heat up, it’s not too soon for students at Leesville to start mapping out their college options. From inexpensive, public universities to elite, private institutions, and in state and out of state choices, students have a plethora of options to choose from and apply to.
With all of these options available to students, how does one decide where to go next? College tours can be a great way to find out.
“[We] encourage interested students and families to come explore our campus. You’ll appreciate having an overview of our campus and how to get around,” said NC State in a statement made on their website. NC State is currently the largest university in North Carolina.
With big name colleges like NC State, UNC, and Duke now offering campus tours and interest seminars, there is no better time to attend a tour than now. The only question one might have is, “Where do I start?”
Luckily, this guide is designed for just that: to help students that are making the transition into college make the most out of their tour. Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you to make the most out of your first college experience.
- Keep Your Options Open
At some point during your high school career, you may believe you are destined to enter into a certain major at college. A fair amount of juniors and seniors at Leesville certainly seem to think so. “I’m currently thinking about going into mechanical engineering,” said Wesley Zemonek, a junior at LRHS. While thinking of a specific major can help you to plan out your classes better in high school for preparation, taking multiple possible majors into account can help students to explore a greater range of options for both colleges and careers. “I’m definitely keeping my options open,” says Evan Provost, a Junior at LRHS. “A degree in architecture or business are currently my top two picks, but I’m still trying to keep an open mind on things so I don’t make a mistake.” he said.
- Tour as Many Colleges as Possible
This one is simple: the more colleges you tour, the more you learn about potential majors, classrooms, activities, and the inner workings of the ideal college that you would like to attend. “So far, I’ve toured Duke, App. [sic] State, and NC State,” said Alvaro Hernandez, a junior at LRHS. “The information we learned about regarded the classrooms, the grades required to get into the college, and the extracurricular activities each college had to offer,” said Hernandez.
- Ask Questions
Asking questions to professors and leaders of the university can be a nerve-wracking experience for some students. However, this process is probably the most valuable of any of the tips given in this article. For starters, inquiring about specific topics to professors can help narrow the search for what you are looking for. Each seminar you attend and website you visit will provide general information about the college and the majors that they offer, but won’t tell you what each major entails and what classes you should be focusing on to get there. Asking these specific questions can help you to prioritize your goals and compare/contrast colleges based off of this information.
- Don’t Focus on Classes Alone
While considering the best possible college to attend for your major should be a top priority in making your college decision, the campus life and environment is almost equally as important. Would you, for example, take the best engineering class in the nation, only to find that your classmates are the complete opposite of you and there’s nowhere to go outside of the college for hundreds of miles? You’re going to spend at least the next four years of your life here, so make sure the college has a nice campus, good housing options, plenty of clubs and extracurriculars, and other attributes that meet your wants and needs.
Whether you’re a freshman who just made the entry into high school or a senior finalizing your college options, going on a couple of tours can be a great way to maximize your future college experience. All in all, be sure to explore different fields of interest, research different college opportunities and scholarships, and meet with parents, mentors, and professors to discover which path is the best fit for you.