As your high school years begin to wind down, it’s time to start figuring out where the next chapter of your life is going to take place. This decision is not to be taken lightly, and ultimately, it’s not up to your friends, your siblings, or even your parents-- it’s a choice that only you can make. This is your life, so you’re the only one who can know what will be best for you!
So how do you find the “right fit”? Maybe you’ve heard this phrase before, but haven’t yet figured out exactly what it means. Here are a few tips from our CU Boulder Student Ambassadors on how to find your way in the college search process:
#1: Discuss and record your campus visit experience.
When I was deciding where to go to college, after every campus visit, I would sit in the car with my parents and talk over what I liked and didn’t like about the school. Discussing the pros and cons of each school while it was fresh in my mind allowed me to begin to decide what I was looking for and what was most important to me in a potential university. Another way to better remember each school is to take plenty of pictures while you’re on campus. Campus visits can start to blend together, so pictures are a great way to refresh your memory.
By Alyssa Radtke a sophomore studying Business with an emphasis in Finance and Operations Management. Alyssa is the Vice President of the CU Boulder Student Ambassadors organization and her favorite spot on campus is Folsom Field.
#2: Envision yourself in the college setting.
One of the best pieces of advice I received during my college search was, “Imagine yourself actually living and succeeding in the college setting.” It’s extremely helpful to carefully consider what is important to you in terms of a healthy living environment. For example, one of my main deciding factors was the ease of access to mountains because I love the outdoors! So, while visiting college campuses, keep these kinds of questions in mind: What makes you happy, and how accessible is that activity here? What study environments do you prefer? What new things are you interested in trying?
By Ashton Matthews a senior studying Environmental Design with an emphasis in architecture. Ashton is the President of the CU Boulder Student Ambassadors organization and his favorite spot on campus are the Kittredge Ponds.
#3: Take time to explore the city/town you will be living in!
Of course, touring college campuses is definitely fun, but it’s important to also be sure to take the time to explore the city/town you will be living in. Campus life is only part of the college experience—the other part is going hiking at nearby trails, trying all the local restaurants around town, finding your favorite coffee shop, etc. Check out where upperclassmen live and get a feel for what your life outside of school might feel like! These really are some of the best years of your life, so make sure you live somewhere in which you can make some great memories.
By Kailey Crafts-Thimmig, a senior studying Strategic Communication with an emphasis in advertising and a minor in Environmental Design. Kailey Crafts-Thimmig is the Social Chair of the University of Colorado Boulder Student Ambassadors. Her favorite spot on campus is the Environmental Design Building.
#4: Think of questions for your tour guide ahead of time.
In order to get the absolute MOST out of your campus tour, it is imperative to think of questions ahead of time! As a prospective student, being able to think of those hard questions ahead of time is a phenomenal way to guarantee that you will not forget to ask them. I know when I toured CU Boulder, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer experience of being in Boulder and achieving my dream of visiting campus (thanks, Mom). I definitely forgot to ask questions that I wanted answered, like, “How do out-of-state students adjust to a new environment if they don’t know anyone?” Remember, if it’s something you’re wondering, chances are good that another prospective student is wondering the same thing. There is no such thing as a “dumb” question, so ask away!
By Jordy Frankel a senior studying English with an emphasis in Literature while also pursuing a licensure in Elementary Education. Jordy is the Secretary of the CU Boulder Student Ambassador organization and her favorite spot on campus is Old Main.
#5: Try and get a feel of the culture on campus. Ask a random person for directions or connect with current students!
The majority of time you spend in college will not be sitting in a lecture hall listening to a professor speak, but interacting and socializing with your fellow classmates. The people you meet and interact with will make up a big portion of your college experience, so when touring colleges, get a feel for the campus community. You want to see if the school’s culture and values match with your personal goals. Chatting with current students will help to give you a thorough idea of the social atmosphere on campus.
By Evan Martinez a junior studying Finance and Accounting. Evan is the Social Chair of the CU Boulder Student Ambassador organization and his favorite spot on campus is Farrand Field.
There are a variety of ways to determine if a school is right you! Your decision will become clearer over the course of your search process, so definitely make the effort to visit as many schools as you’re able. Don’t forget to trust your gut and follow your intuition. And again, make sure that you’re considering your own personal goals and needs first - not anyone else’s! At the end of the day, you will be the one sleeping, eating, breathing, socializing and studying in those spaces, so your opinion is the one that matters most!