So, my mom has been forcing me to head out to college visits. I am only a Junior in high school and she is pushing hard. Most of the time I disagree with her, and I have been battling with her. Truly I will tell you I argue with her every time she mentions yet another college visit.
How many colleges do I have to visit? Why do I have to visit so many colleges? What could I possibly learn from visiting all of these colleges? Our college visits have been primarily based in my hometown of Pittsburgh.
What I do know is that I want to to be a nurse, what kind I don’t know maybe on in the anesthesia department or maybe not. It is a very competitive field (nursing) yet I know this is who I am. After fighting about visits with my mom, telling her they really were not that important, I found out different. Here are 5 reasons teens should visit a college.
5 Reasons Teens Should Visit A College
Say what you want about college visits, they truly will pay off. If nothing else you can build up your ‘cool’ wardrobe with all the different tees they will hand to you! Another thing about visits it that you can get your parents to stop griping about where you are going if you show at least some interest in getting on the path. Believe me, anything to not hear my mom tell me, “You better put some thought and time into it!” I hate that phrase and got sick of hearing it. So I left my seat in front of Fortnite and headed out to visit some colleges!
1. Visualize it
You know how you dream about the first day of school and issues? Ok, so maybe I am the only teen that does, DOUBT IT! Anyway, seeing a school in person is a great way to see if it fits. Do you like how the campus is set up? Is there a funky smell from the cafeteria? Who goes to to the school?
The path I can take to get my degree is different at almost every school. Some schools offer a 1:2:1, others are offering 18 months, no bachelor degree, and yet others are offering RN certificate, with school following paid by the hospital I will be placed in. So many options, yet I have to figure out if I want a Degree or just a certificate. I guess you can tell I want the BSN. So far, learning that is a big part of eliminating what schools I don’t belong at.
2. Travel Programs
We have visited a few schools that don’t offer travel abroad. Don’t go there. You want the chance to travel an during college the trips can be fantastic and well-priced. Traveling with friends is an awesome experience. Your take away for travel should be college credits. I am looking or a medical program for 12 weeks where I can learn from other hospital staff. Also, I found out that there are travel scholarships, and they are easy to apply for. I am working on that now.
Getting to see how far buildings are from one another and which buildings will host my main studies is another great reason to take a tour. Instead of just trying to think about what the dorms look like I got to see them in person. This is important so I know if it is at least tolerable there or not.
What scholarships are available to me and additional financial aid? I have to know what my good grades are going to help me earn, there has to be a scholarship or merit award. I took the time to sit down with admissions and financial aid and learned that my grades are going to support some of my educational funds!
Additionally, I also learned as I go that often they will waive the application fee for admissions if you visit and take the financial aid meeting, and every dollar helps. I get everything in writing, request a followup date and have learned that sometimes there are interview scholarships for coming back to the campus for a 2nd and 3rd visit, up to $3k is the biggest one I have been offered. (not too bad)
Ask about alum scholarships, work-study jobs and actual jobs that contribute to a real paycheck while going to school (library, offices, RA, etc) You just have to sniff this stuff out. Private schools offer far more merit scholarships than public.
5 Fitness Center & Extra Curricular Activities
Learning from my friends, their siblings and my sister Kallie, I know that learning about the fitness center and activities are important. If the sports teams use the fitness center, you basically get screwed. They need their own. I work out every day and I want to be able to when I feel like it not around the dudes on the teams.
Extra Curricular Activites are important for socializing. If they have 20 clubs how many people actually belong? How many times a week do they meet? What are the fees? The school I looked at has an adventure club and the property with rope trails, zip lines, climbing walls, kayaking trips, etc, it’s me!
It’s About The Best Choice.
Don’t just apply to colleges, visit them. Make sure they are you. I have ruled out at least 12 different colleges around me because they don’t feel right. If the staff is miserable I can bet the students are too. Sometimes after calling to make an appointment, I decide not to go because the staff on the phone won’t answer questions. Who is going to help me when I am there in academia with questions?
Watch interactions of students between classes, sit in on a class as well. Look at the posted announcement boards for clubs and activities, this will show you who is most active. Decide who you are already: quiet or loud. Dorm life or apartment life? Commuter or on-campus living. Active or in-active community member. Someone who qualifies for a scholarship, or merit awards? Do you need financial aid? All of these will be part of your decision, they are part of mine. For the last 4 years, I have committed to school to get the best grades I can so I can get a great merit award like my sister did. Good luck college shopping!
I am MJ Vento a teen travel writer. Travel is a pure adrenaline rush from the time we get to the airport to each adventure. I am always looking for the best burgers and pizza after all at 6 feet tall, my stomach always needs to eat. If you are a destination offering adventures (ziplining, quads, snorkeling, etc), coasters, or an all-inclusive resort where I can just hang, I’d love to talk to you about visiting. Talk to me. Use my mom’s email she is in charge- firstname.lastname@example.org. #TMSJuniors travel writer