Choosing a college to go to can be extremely stressful, especially when you’re trying to balance your life around high school. Take it from someone who’s been there before; there is no need to stress about finding the perfect school. The best school for you is out there somewhere, you just need to know the steps on how to find it.
First of all, you should choose a college that has the major you’re after. It doesn’t make sense to pay a lot of money just to attend a school that won’t benefit you in any way. Make sure that the college of your dreams will get you the degree you’re after and not just a good time. Also check the credibility of the program you want to enter and if they have any master’s programs if that’s what you’re looking for. I am a Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) major, and a big reason why I chose Misericordia is because they offer a 5-year program for a 6-year degree. Their SLP program is fantastic and highly accredited, making it the obvious choice for me.
Depending on what type of person you are, the farther away from home the better. I’m here to tell you that’s not always the case. It’s very common to get homesick, especially during the first few weeks. The farther away from home you are, the harder it hits. I wanted to commute to cut down on costs, so I chose a college that’s only a 30-minute drive from my house. During breaks, it takes longer to leave school if you live over 3 hours away from home. Just a reminder that in-state colleges are cheaper than going out-of-state. Not only are more grants available to you if you stay closer to home, but some schools even charge an out-of-state fee.
Speaking of money, the price of your school should also be a big decider on whether the school of your dreams is the right school for you. State schools tend to be cheaper, but private universities are able to offer more academic scholarships that help lower the price. Make sure to fill out your FAFSA as early as possible for the best financial aid. You don’t want to end up paying more for a degree than you already are.
Going out and getting to see the campus itself is probably the biggest part of the decision-making process. I’m not talking about big, cluttered open houses, I’m talking about a small, more personal visit. Almost as soon as you step onto a campus you’ll be able to see if you can picture yourself going there. There were schools that I thought I would love and ended up hating as soon as I walked onto campus. Misericordia has always been a part of my life since I’m a local, but every time I went for a visit, I just fell more and more in love with the school itself. I highly suggest shadowing students in a classroom or staying for an overnight at the college before you make a final decision.
Personally, I am a person that likes to stay busy. I wanted a school that had more to offer than just classes and sports. Make sure that the college you’re looking at offers a wide variety of clubs and other different campus activities. Of course, academics always come first so see if the school you’re interested in offers any kind of tutoring. Misericordia has a student success center that offers free tutoring and a writing center that will proof-read your essays for you. It’s the little things that people don’t tend to think of while they’re on their visits that tend to bite you in the butt later.
Take it from me, try the food on campus before you decide anything.
Honestly, finding the right school for you isn’t as daunting as everyone makes it out to be. All you have to do is know what you want in a school and do a little bit of research. It doesn’t matter where your boyfriend or your friends are going to school. It doesn’t take long to meet new people wherever you go. Just take your time and breathe; you’ll make the best decision for you.
- Rachel Miroslaw '21, Speech-Language Pathology. Rachel is from Tunkhannock, PA, plays field hockey, and enjoys reading and writing
For more information on Misericordia University's Speech-Language Pathology program, click here.