What is important when making your college decision?

The college search has begun for thousands of high school seniors all over the country. Application deadlines are fast approaching and parents are hassling their kids to settle on a school. But you don't want to rush into it! This is a decision that will affect the rest of your life! No pressure!

I remember when I first started going on campus tours during my senior year of high school. I had already applied to most of the schools I was looking at and it was time to actually crack down and make a decision. The first school I toured was University of Arkansas (random I know). That is where my grandparents live and they really wanted me to see it. It was an amazing school, a lot like IU actually. They even have a street like Kirkwood where there are a bunch of shops and restaurants and bars. It's called Dixon Street. I loved U of A because I basically grew up there, visiting my grandparents every summer. But it wasn't quite right for me.








The picture on the left is Dixon St. in Fayetteville, AR. The right is our very own Kirkwood Ave.

A few months later, I toured IU. Who knew then that I would be sitting on campus writing this now? WOW! Funny how things like that work out! But anyway, I had never seen IU before. I had heard all about the basketball program and how beautiful IU was. I had even watched Breaking Away before I knew I wanted to come here. LOVED that movie. Should have been a sign I guess. Anyway, I digress again... IU was not my first choice when it came to colleges. I thought of it as a huge state school that was "easy" to get into. So why would I want to go there? A little presumptuous of me right?! Right. Well, when I came to the campus for the first time I was giddy. Yep! I was giddy! No other way to describe it. (see the picture off to the right) You know when you just can't stop smiling? Well that was me that day! I went on the campus tour and I was hooked. I toured another university later that day and that was actually really unfair to that place. I won't name names though because I'm sure a lot of people are very happy there!

That's what it's all about really, being happy. That's what life is about! But that is a much bigger discussion for maybe some other blog. When it comes to choosing a college or university, you need to decide what makes you happy. Do you feel like you could spend the next 4 years of your life living, working, eating, running, hanging out with friends, and whatever else you like to do in this place? If the answer is "yes," then you may have found yourself a university! If you answer "no" to those things, then maybe you need to keep looking around.

Other things to consider are how close you want to be to home. Arkansas would have been too far for me. I am from New Albany, IN which is almost 2 hours away from Bloomington so that isn't a bad distance at all. That's actually the PERFECT distance for me. Close enough so that I can go home if I want but far enough away that I won't run into my family when I'm shopping for groceries. I still have that sense of independence that I need. Something else to think about is whether or not the school you are looking at has the degree you want and what kind of programs they have for your degree. Unfortunately, if you want to study engineering, that is the one thing we can't help you with here at IU. We figured we'd give Purdue at least one thing to brag about. But seriously, that is something that Purdue does very very well and if that's what you are looking for then it is probably an awesome school for you. If you want to study anything else though, we got you covered!

I asked several of my friends to help out and give you some advice too, so here is what they had to say about the college search!

I know at this point in your life, it is easy to get nervous about making such a huge decision. But don't let it freak you out! This decision should be fun. You are in charge of this one. So don't be scared or anxious, just relax and pick the school that's right for you. Simple as that!

About The Author
Linden SpaldingSpeech and Hearing Sciences Class of 2014

Hi there! My name is Linden Spalding. I am a Senior from New Albany, IN and I am studying Speech and Hearing Sciences here at Indiana University. I work as a Resident Assistant in one of the residence halls on campus and I absolutely love my job! I also serve as a Hoosier Guide which is part of our Student Ambassador program through the Office of Admissions. I show prospective students and their families the campus and tell them why I love IU! This summer, I also worked for New Student Orientation as a Student Coordinator. It was so much fun working with the OTeam and getting to meet all the new students and their families! Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you! Go Hoosiers!