How Do You Choose the Right College?

How Do You Choose the Right College?

Jahnnie Conner ’21

Choosing the right college can be pretty overwhelming when you’re in high school. When I was a senior in high school, I was torn between two colleges.

Thankfully, one of my favorite teachers helped me decide which was better for me. And lots of coffee-induced-late-night research sessions helped me too! When all was said and done, I chose PC.

If you’re reading this, you might be considering PC yourself. If so, that’s great! I love it here! But if you need help choosing the right college for you, ask yourself these five questions:

1. Do you want to go to a big or small school?

The size of a school is an important factor to consider. Larger schools will offer a variety of activities on their campus and may be in a larger city. Smaller schools offer a more intimate experience, and you’ll be more than just a number. It depends on your own personal preference!

I went to high school with 2,000 students, and that was not for me. For me, I was drawn to smaller schools. I loved the idea of getting to know my professors and people in my classes. The idea of having 100 or more people in a class really freaked me out. The most students I’ve ever had in a class at PC is 24.

2. Where do you want to be?

It’s important to have a general idea where you want to go to college. Do you want to be in the mountains or near the beach? Do you want to be close to home or not?

I’m from a small town in Western North Carolina, but I graduated from a large high school outside of Columbia, S.C. I was not happy in a big city, so PC’s location helped me feel more at home. Also, it’s about an hour’s drive from the mountains, so that means some good hiking!

You’ll be in college for four years, so where it’s located can make a big difference!

3. Does the college have your major?

Looking at a college’s academic programs allows you to get a feel for the school and what major(s) you could possibly pursue. Many schools offer pre-professional programs that students can experience. For example, PC offers a pharmacy track where students can earn their PharmD in six, seven, or eight years, while still spending the first few years at PC’s main campus.

I was interested in the history and education departments here at PC because initially I wanted to become a high school history teacher. The history department at the other college I was looking at was great too, but PC’s felt like home. By the way, the history department has been ranked #1 best value in the U.S.! The relationships I have formed with and through the history department have absolutely changed my life.

(This photo was taken before the pandemic.)

4. What does the financial aid package look like?

The financial aid that a student receives can be a big determiner. Depending on the school and the state, scholarships can be given out to bring down the cost. Student loans can also help you pay for college! It is best to sit down with your family and decide what would be the best plan for you.

College can be pretty expensive. It was not in my family’s budget to help me pay for school, so I have to do it on my own. It was pretty important to find a school that would give me an acceptable financial aid package. Fortunately, PC gave me a great financial aid package that made its top-rate education more affordable.

5. What does the college look like?

Taking a tour of a school is the best way to know if it’s for you. You will get a sense of the atmosphere, see what a college dorm looks like, receive general information about the school, and SO much more! It also helps to take a look at the website!

Fun fact: The first time I was actually on PC’s campus was during new student orientation. The building that caught my attention was Neville Hall, which is the heart of campus. If you can’t tell, I really love history, and Neville is filled with so much history. Trust me, you will fall in love with it, too.

Another thing that really caught my attention was how nice everyone was! Upperclassmen would say hey to me, and I was thinking, “Why are you talking to me, a lowly freshman?”

Orientation Leaders 2019 | Blue Hose Blog | Presbyterian College | Clinton SC

(This photo was taken before the pandemic.)

Good luck with your college search!

– Jahnnie