Maybe you’re the person who has always known where you were going and what you were doing with your life. I respect you. I wish I was that person; I’ve just never been that decisive. I recently spent 20 minutes at Wal-Mart picking out a toothbrush. I mean, look at this:
I like hard bristles. My dentist told the soft bristles are better for my teeth. Do I compromise and end up somewhere in the middle? The one with the tongue brush looks cool. Does anyone actually use those things? Should I just splurge and go with the electric toothbrush? Does it even matter?
As an admissions counselor, I spend most of my time on the phone with high school seniors who are experiencing my own toothbrush-purchasing stress on a much larger scale. As you decide where to spend your next four years, countless options lie before you. You want a school that has exceptional professors. You want an atmosphere that you feel comfortable in and that presents opportunities for you to grow. You want the school to suit all of your needs, and you want your investment to be worth the cost.
If you are like most high school seniors, you’re bombarded with questions about where you’re going to school next year. You have probably thought about faking laryngitis over Thanksgiving break so you don’t have to explain your non-existent future plans to every. single. long-lost relative. And when I call you, I can hardly blame you for acting like this:
It feels like the choice you make right now will alter the course of the rest of your life. And it will. The college you choose is much more than a four-year investment. The next four years will alter the course of your next 50 years. You are deciding much more than where you will learn; you’re choosing whom you will learn with. You’re choosing your network. You’re choosing your mentors--the people who will model wisdom and teach you how to think instead of just what to think. It’s a big deal.
In an effort to relieve just a little bit of that stress, I decided to ask for some decision-making advice from the students that were in your place last year. Here is some advice from the Class of 2014, to the Class of 2015:
1. Get to know the schools that you’re interested in.
“First off visit the schools and make an assessment after spending the weekend there . . . I absolutely love it here because when I visited, I knew this was exactly where I wanted to be. The second thing I would recommend is to give every school a chance. Visit any school you're moderately interested in. It may surprise you! – Ben Burnette
“Actually get to know the school, the people, and some of the staff so you can get the feel of where you want to be! –Krissy Bennett
2. Be open-minded.
“Remember to keep an open mind. I flung Freed through a Google search after my 1st and 2nd choice turned out to be pretty sub-par. I searched ‘Church of Christ Schools in TN’ and found Freed. Even though seniors have ideas of where they would like to go, they need to be open to every possibility!” –Amanda Baugh
“1. Talk to other people about their experiences at the schools you're picking from.
2. Make campus visits. Stay on campus and do things other students do. Go to club events, devotionals, etc.
3. Talk it over with your parents.
4. Pray about it. This is such a big, forgotten step. It sounds cliché, but it helps.
5. Be open minded.” –Hannah Bigham
3. Go with your gut.
“First and foremost, consider how you will be affected spiritually at the school of your choice. That is, after all, the most important part of our lives. Second, consider your major. It's very important to at least have an idea of what you want to do for a career . . . Lastly, consider where you are comfortable. You ultimately need to feel like you are at home whenever you are at school . . . My advice is to visit as many schools as you can, and get the feel for the atmosphere they give. Narrow down the schools and rank them . . . Don't stress, because that will get you nowhere. Relax and pick the place where you see yourself being the happiest. You'll be just fine.” –Emily Bailey
“Don’t worry so much and just follow your gut feeling! Go tour as many places as you can and don't listen to your parents! Haha. Make your own decision based on what you will like. You're going to be the one at that school trying to learn and earn a college degree!” –Hannah Belew
“My senior year of high school was very stressful. I really struggled about deciding where to go to college because I knew this decision would impact my life in a profound way. Once I visited Freed, however, I knew that is where I wanted to go. It felt like home to me. I knew that this was the place where I wanted to spend my next four years. Coming here has been one of the greatest decisions of my life. I've loved every second of it. It's a place where I can grow in my walk with God while also getting a great education. My advice to seniors is to find the college where you feel at home because it will be your home for your next four years.” –Katherine Deshazier
4. Remember your purpose and be future-minded.
“When you are choosing a school, choose a school that will help you along the way and treat you like a person, not like a student ID number . . . Look at how each choice is going to better your future . . . Choose a school that will pose a good challenge for you . . . a school that will make sure you don't become lazy and become unmotivated.” –James Dees
“I believe a really important thing for picking a school is having a vision of where you want to be or what you want to do after college or 10 years from now. When you find that, then it makes it easier to begin paving a pathway to your future college.” –Ben Beavers
So maybe you’re the person that has everything figured out, but if you’re more like me, step out of your glass case of emotion, take a deep breath, and follow the advice of some people who were in your position this time last year. You’ve got the best four years of your life upcoming, and we hope you’ll consider spending it at FHU!