My advice about college might be a bit backwards. But I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t stress and worry too much. So, my recommendation is to not worry too much! When you’re deciding where to go, don’t pick over every little detail and find reasons that you wouldn’t want to go. Instead, take a look at the bigger picture – what is the university like? What programs does it offer? Etc. There are just too many universities each with their own set of programs, students, faculty, etc that if you get sucked into every detail, you’ll get lost. My consideration for universities was to schools that were in a geographical location that I liked, just that they were out of my home state, the amount of study abroad opportunities, and price. Pittsburgh fit my bill – it was northerly enough to be away from TX, it has a wide array of study abroad opportunities with tons of scholarships and funding options, and although the school is expensive for out of state, Pitt offers a lot of scholarships and other aid.
Once I had decided that Pitt was the best option for me, this is when I got into the nitty gritty. This is when I began to look into how many majors they offered, their variety of minors and certificates, the staff to student ratio, the campus life, the amount and quality of clubs, etc. I hadn’t even visited the campus before I accepted Pitts offer!
I think this is also an important piece. Once you decide, or even before, just know that wherever you go, there will always be a place for you to fit in. There will be someone who shares your hobbies, interests, and coursework. This is the mindset that allowed me to decide on a university before I knew anything about the campus itself. It was quite the surprise coming from the suburbs of Texas to the city life of Pittsburgh!
But I really enjoy the urban life of Pittsburgh. Especially now that I’ve lived here, you find the little secrets. Like the fact that Pittsburgh is the 20th most bike friendly city in the nation. It’s also surprisingly outdoorsy which I never would have guessed from its urban centric location.
My final tip on coming into university from high school, would be to look at it as a positive thing, a new adventure. Attitude is everything, and if you go into a change with a negative attitude, not only is it detrimental to yourself but other people will pick up on it and leave you behind as they go and try new things.