Senior year of high school is crunch time for students looking for the right college to attend. If you have only just begun to research schools, it is not too late. Summer is a great time to explore the colleges and universities you are most interested in.
Here are four important questions to ask yourself as you research schools:
- What is your ideal college?
Envision your ideal college experience. Are you living on campus or commuting from home? Is the campus in your hometown, the same state, or all the way across the country? Are there many students on campus or is it a smaller community? Are there many athletic teams and other student events or are you responsible for making your own social scene?
Write down all the characteristics you imagined your ideal college should have. Use these criteria to guide your research for colleges that are the right fit for you.
- How big is your ideal college?
College size is a serious consideration for your learning style and social preferences. A small campus will offer intimate class sizes — averaging 30 students in a class — and a close-knit, community-oriented student body. A large university campus may have class sizes with 300 students or more. Large universities often have communities within them, like Greek systems, where you can find your niche among a smaller group of people.
Visit universities in your area – even if they are not your top schools — walk around to get a feel for atmosphere of a campus. Even though it is summertime, and many students are off campus for the summer, it will still give you a good feel for how comfortable you are on each type of campus.
- Is a faith-based school right for you?
Many universities have a religious heritage. There are 28 Jesuit schools across the country and 51 Southern Baptist colleges and universities. The Arizona Southern Baptist Convention founded Grand Canyon University, but today GCU is a non-denominational Christian university in Arizona. Some faith-based schools are particularly devout, requiring religious study and mandatory attendance at regular services. Other universities may require classes in religious studies but do not require attendance at services. GCU requires that all students take a class called Christian World View, which teaches the basic tenants of the Christian heritage and helps students understand the Christian faith’s impact on the world as we know it.
- What do you think? Seek opinions from reliable sources.
After brainstorming lists of desired college qualities and options, narrow your research down to schools that fit your specifications. Talk to friends, friends of your parents, current college students and trusted resources such as classmates, teachers or youth pastors. Ask why they chose their college, if they would change their decision and why.
Once you have narrowed your decision down, set up campus visits. Colleges are already booking visits for the fall. Contact their enrollment centers to make a reservation to participate in visitation days. Phoenix’ Grand Canyon University hosts Discover GCU events throughout the year to let high school seniors get a taste of campus life and hear about the various programs of study offered.
Come back to blogs.gcu.edu throughout the summer for more ideas on how to make the most of your summertime search for a university and for lots of other info about GCU’s colleges, campus and community.
If you need more guidance, please contact the GCU Enrollment center at 602-639-6441 or 602-639-6737. The enrollment staff at GCU’s entire purpose is to help you find yours!