Why IU? 5 Things You Should Consider When Selecting a School

Why IU? That seems to be a common question, especially as I have officially spent more time here than I have left. Looking back on my last 2 years at IU, there are things I've loved, and somethings I might have done differently.

First, I chose IU because of the Jacobs School of Music. Originally, I was going to study music performance. Jacobs is one of the top music schools in the country, and I wanted to come here because of that. My parents liked IU for a different reason; IU gives you the freedom to change majors and still be at an excellent school. They had good reasoning for liking that because I switched majors at the end of my senior year in high school to Arts Management.

My freshman year, I loved IU. It meant freedom (no curfew, no parents, no rules). Not to mention that Welcome Week is a lot of fun, and you make a ton of new friends. I got involved right away, joining the Ballroom Dance Club, and they became a second family to me. I liked my academic program, but I liked school more for the non-academic aspects than actual classes.

Sophomore year rolled around, and I liked IU because I had friends here, I knew what I was doing, and I was involved. There was always something new to do, and I was able to continue to try new things that I hadn't had the chance to my freshman year. Again, most of this was non-academic.

Junior year, wow, time flies. I now have completely different reasons for loving IU. I have some very close friends here, but I'm more academically focused. This year, as I look to grad schools, I'm realizing some of the advantages IU gave me, and I'm also realizing what I did wrong in my search for schools. I'm using what I've learned at IU to help me pick grad schools.

Here are some of the things that I've learned...

  1. Know what you like to do. I absolutely love math, but I didn't choose a degree that focuses on math at all. Make sure you know what you like and pick your degree by what you enjoy doing and not what you know you're good at. 
  2. Choose a school with the culture you like. IU has a very distinct culture. There is a reason students choose IU over Purdue or vice a versa. The culture of each school is unique, and you have to make sure you're comfortable in that specific culture. This isn't just for socializing, but in academics. I've learned that case based learning (real world examples/practice) works best for me, and that I don't like sitting and taking notes.
  3. Know how close/far from your family you want to be. This is probably my one big regret with IU. I absolutely love the school, but I also need time with my family. Being from Chicago, IU is far enough that I think twice about going home spur of the moment. I know I need to be close to my parents. Some students don't need that, and it's great, but know how far you can be from home.
  4. Understand your living habits. This comes in hugely when picking a dorm or studying. I've learned that I need my own room. I'm a fairly private person, so I need space and having a room mate is very difficult for me if we don't have seperate rooms. Also, I study best in the morning. If it is after 10pm, no matter how much time I spend on something, it won't be good. So I get up early to do assignments instead of staying up late (this makes a huge difference in grades).
  5. Don't take yourself too seriously. School can be tough, and we have our ups and downs. Know what you need to make sure you succeed, but don't forget to take time for yourself. Don't pick the hardest school you can get into, we all need a little breathing room. Free time is so important to keeping a level head in school, so too much work is really detrimental to your health and your grades.  So pick the school that fits, not the one that looks good on paper.

IU fits these requirements for me. That's why I'm at IU. I was able to figure out what I like to do and pursue it. I fit in, the culture is what I want, and I get to see my family more than just breaks. There are living options that suit my exact needs and IU has the right work load for me.

About The Author
Devyn ManschotArts Management, 2013, Chicago IL

I'm Devyn Manschot, Arts Management Class of 2013 (graduating early! yipee!). Originally from the Chicago area, I've been involved all over campus, from the Hutton Honors college to the Ballroom Dance Club. I love to dance and have a strange affinity for accounting.