Six Things to Consider when Choosing a College

Emily Hankinson, Senior English Major
Looking for the right college was one of the biggest decisions I faced my senior year of high school. A lot went into choosing my college, but these are my top six things to consider when choosing a college.
1. Leaving Home
Whether you’re leaving home or commuting, college is going to be a big change. Either way, you want to be in place where you feel like you belong. Choose a college where you can feel safe and accepted.
2. Cost
College is expensive. Between books, tuition and all the supplies, things add up. And that’s not even including the fun stuff or dorm essentials. Look for somewhere you can potentially afford without putting a financial strain on your already stressed life. Many universities offer scholarships, but there can be external scholarships offered by local businesses, big companies and small groups that are involved in the community.
3. Campus Size
A smaller campus with easy access to buildings, parking and dorm rooms usually means smaller class sizes. A smaller class size means faster relationships with peers and professors. These connections will be essential in upcoming semesters. Lifelong friendships will form and professors will look forward to staying in contact with you. These opportunities are also available at larger universities, but attending a large campus (especially one away from home) may come with extra strings attached like housing requirements or driving limits for first-year students.
4. Easy to Navigate
Easy navigation doesn’t just mean being able to find your way around the campus. You also want to be able to navigate the city and feel safe when off campus. You want to be able to leave campus and still feel comfortable. If you do feel uncomfortable going out, ask someone you trust to go with you and take proper safety precautions. Friendly people, both on and off campus, can make a world of difference.
5. Student Opportunities
You may not care about clubs or student activities that are offered. But give them a chance. Those activities provide a break from the classroom setting to get out, have fun and meet new people, usually for free or a reduced cost. Clubs help you find people with similar interests or backgrounds, or they can introduce you to a whole new idea. Student activities can involve anything from spirit weeks (even Ohio State Newark has a huge Beat *ichigan Week), karaoke, movie nights and laser tag to off-campus activities like ice skating, bowling and local fairs or festivals. Other student opportunities may include career fairs or expert talks about relevant topics in the news.
6. Education Abroad
Even if you never considered traveling, look at the education abroad opportunities offered by a school. It took me two years to figure out that you can travel the world and get class credit at the same time. Since then, I’ve been to Costa Rica and am currently planning for Berlin, Germany. Both trips were partially funded by Ohio State Newark and had scholarships available. Education abroad trips can last from a week to months in duration. Try a new adventure. The right college will offer opportunities and be ready to help you prepare.
All in all, a college has to be the right fit for you. The Ohio State University at Newark continues to fulfill my needs and provides me with opportunities for success. Four years have flown by, and I know I made the right choice with Ohio State Newark. With easy transition to the Columbus campus, Ohio State Newark can provide a great start to your higher education, even if you don’t plan on staying here all four years.
Emily Hankinson is a senior at Ohio State Newark majoring in English and minoring in both Spanish and professional writing. She works on campus in the Writer’s Studio and off campus in a local library. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in library and information sciences after graduating in May. In her free time, she likes to read young adult novels; travel; and spend time with her friends, family and two cats: Tigger and Sadie.

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