So many choices! So much to think about! How does someone make this important decision? Ignite Your Faith asked students from Carson Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, for their best advice on choosing a college.
"Don't announce your college decision to friends and family until you've thought about it for a few days. When you make a quick decision and tell people about it, it becomes difficult to explain yourself if you change your mind later. Before you make it public knowledge, be sure you have peace about your decision."
"Visit every school that you consider seriously. There is very little chance you'll know whether a college is a good fit or not if you don't visit. Spending time at a college you're interested in tells you several important things: the look of the campus and its facilities, the personality of the student body, the strength of the faith community, a feel for what it would be like to study there, and the types of activities you'll have the opportunity to try."
"Start early—you'll have more time to take advantage of every opportunity. If you get all your paperwork in early, it's more likely there will be more financial aid money available for you."
"Reading mission statements and quotes from students allowed me to explore the academic and spiritual priorities of the administration, faculty and students.
I also talked to students and alumni, and their comments really influenced me. Whenever I visited schools, I tried to keep in mind that these people were potential peers and classmates. Meeting with faculty members also was helpful—in short,I tried to make as many connections as possible with individuals in different areas of the college."
"The biggest thing that helped me make my choice was coming to the college and staying with a friend. I would definitely recommend staying in the dorm overnight so you can see the school from the perspective of a college student. After I visited by myself, I came back later and visited again with my mother. I trust my mother's judgment so much—I knew that if she didn't like the school, then I probably wouldn't succeed here."
"Community was the most important factor for me: I wanted a college where I would be able to get to know people. Taking a tour of the college really helped me decide. At Carson-Newman, I saw firsthand how my student tour guide interacted with other people on campus. It seemed like he knew everyone and they all knew him. I saw people who were caring and truly wanted to know each other."