Written by gbspcamp on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
The fall season is upon us, school is in full swing and if you are a Junior or Senior in high school, college is on your mind, a lot. Planning college tours, tackling common apps, and deciding on a school may seem overwhelming, so we brought the GBSP College Panel to our blog to help answer some of your questions! We had the delight of interviewing GBSP PA’s Sarah Blatt-Herold, Jamie Doucette and Annie Youchah on their college search, to give you some insight and inspiration on the big question, “ How do I Choose a College?”
Freshman at Harvard College
Major: English and Philosophy
When did you start your college tours? The summer after my sophomore year of high school.
How many schools did you visit? I visited eight schools, but had a list of 15 that I really, really liked.
What kinds of schools were you interested in? As my interests were in English and Philosophy, I was definitely looking at smaller liberal arts schools and medium schools. I didn't want a big school; I wanted small classes, a good faculty to student ratio, and small departments with a lot of individual attention.
How did you ultimately make your college selection? I ultimately made my college decision based on the humanities program and the mission of the school. One school I was looking at has a great humanities program, but it is very isolated; the overall mission of the school concerns engineering and advancing sciences. At Harvard, the humanities program is also amazing; however, it is also extremely inclusive, and the greater mission of the school is about changing the world in general, not changing the world through technology. I wanted to feel a part of the greater school community, and I didn't feel that way about the other school I was considering. Of course, this is my opinion and my personal experience, not hard fact.
Sophomore at Stanford University
Considering: Major in Public Policy
How many schools did you look at? I looked at 5 schools during my search and ended up only applying to one.
Was location an important factor in your school selection? Location was a factor: I wanted to be away from home, but still have the ability to get back without too much hassle.
How about student body? In my school, I was looking for a diverse community of intellectually curious and fun people.
What questions should you ask your college tour guide? Ask your tour guide about the quality of food available late at night.
Sophomore at University of California San Diego
How many schools did you look at? I applied to 11 schools in total (four of which were part of the University of California system), but I considered and visited at least five others.
Was the size of the school an important factor to you? Yes, I wanted a large school because I wanted to have the opportunity to meet as many people as possible. It's important to remember, though, that all sizes of schools have their advantages and disadvantages, so in retrospect I wish I had focused less on this aspect.
What questions should you ask your college tour guide? Ask what people do on the weekends for fun. I know it sounds like a strange question, but you'll get a sense of what the student body is like by asking that.
Words of advice? Remember that there isn't such a thing as the perfect school. It's still important to research your options and not just apply to every school. When you pick out a good bunch of schools to apply to, remember that what might be your top choice might not end up working out, and that's okay!
What questions about college do you want answered? Join the conversation on our Facebook , post your questions and get answers from current and graduate college students in the GBSP community!