It’s just that time of year again, when you are all receiving your acceptance letters and trying to decide what college you will give the next four (or five, or six) years of your life to. I remember being in your shoes, and it was the most difficult decision I had made in my life at that point. Let me take you back a few years, to Edmond, Oklahoma, into my life.

The year was 2008. After being involved with high school journalism for all four years, I knew for sure that I wanted to be a Print Journalism major–but where? I considered only two Universities–University of Missouri at Columbia (Mizzou), and… (wait for it)… the University of Oklahoma. Both of these schools have excellent journalism programs (OU’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication was just renovated to now include over 100,000 square feet of high tech facilities, computer labs, classrooms, etc. Trust me, it’s beautiful! Or check out the photos for yourself here).

While I appreciated the beauty, proximity and reputation of OU, I was infatuated with Mizzou. It had the appeal of being out-of-state–which is such an exotic option when you  are choosing a college. Plenty of people from my graduating class considered out-of-state Universities, but the number that actually chose to attend an out-of-state school dwindled down pretty quickly. I felt that staying in state would make me a slacker. The absurdity of this amuses me now. I thought I would be a slacker if I attended OU–a Big XII University with an average high school GPA of 3.6. OU’s academic reputation is impressive, but it was so familiar to me that I didn’t see it right away. You can check out how your potential major compares across the nation here. 🙂

All this is to say, though, that the decision was not an easy one for me. I really did love Mizzou–and tigers are my favorite animal–but I also felt a strong pull to OU. I remember being so stressed about making this big choice, and I’m an indecisive person in the first place, so this was absolutely torturous.

Now, you clearly know the outcome of my decision, so I won’t amp up the suspense too much. Instead, I’ll just give you a list of the three things I decided were most important in making my choice:

1) How You Feel On Campus

OU felt like home to me. I felt peaceful when I was touring the campus. Mizzou was appealing in an exotic, exciting way, but OU inspired me.

2) What Your Priorities Are

Family has always been a big deal to me, and while I wanted to strike out on my own and gain some independence, I wanted to stay close to those that I love. Norman was the perfect distance for me–about 45 minutes away from my family. Close enough that I could visit as often as I liked, but far enough that I was able to stand on my own two feet. Because I put my family at the top of my priorities list, OU made the most sense.

What are YOUR priorities? Travel? Look at the Study Abroad program (you can check out OU’s over 150 exchange agreements here). Comfort? Look into the housing and dining and the programs they develop (check out OU’s here). Support? Look into the first-year programs designed to acclimate students (check out OU’s University College here). Figure out what you want out of a college, and then explore which University best fits the bill.

3) The University Reputation

Here’s the thing: even if you know for sure what you want to major in, keep your mind open. Look at the reputation of the University as a whole. I came into college positive that I would graduate from the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and guess what? I changed my mind. And attending OU, a University that excels in a variety of areas, allowed me the flexibility to explore what I wanted to do in life. While Mizzou also has a great reputation, I personally would have chosen them specifically for their journalism department, and I would not have felt comfortable changing my major. So really, think about how comfortable you feel getting a degree–any degree–from that University you are considering. I am proud to call myself a Sooner, and I know that my OU diploma will serve me well no matter what I do in life.

So that’s my top three list of things to consider that you might have overlooked thus far. But beyond all this, remember that college is what you make of it. You can have a wonderful or a horrible experience at any University, depending on how you choose to spend your time. Make the most of your time in college, and get involved early to ensure that you have the best experience you possibly can.

As you are making your college decision, talk to your recruiter (find yours here) and let them explain why OU is the right choice for you. And feel free to drop a comment and let me know what other places you are considering (or did consider, if you’re one of the lucky ones that figured it out early). Ask me your questions. Let me be an honest resource for you.

And last but not least, boomer sooner!

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3 Responses to “Top 3 Things to Consider While You Choose Your College”

  1. Adriana Perez on March 30th, 2011 12:34 am

    I am at that stage in school where I need to pick a college. I know I want to major in Chemical Engineering, but I am stuck between Texas A&M and OU. I already found out that I am a University Scholar with OU, which is awesome, but that makes it harder for me to choose where to go to school. Then again, most of my friends are undecided at the moment. I have a friend, who comes from a line of Sooners, and he knows where he wants to go, obviously, but some of us don’t have it that easy. What advice do you have for me?

  2. Tiffany on March 31st, 2011 6:30 pm

    I would say to really think about those three questions I posted, and see if either A&M or OU better fits what YOU want out of a college. I know it’s a tough decision, but the other advice I have is to enjoy this time in your life. It’s so stressful for you right now, but looking back, I wish I had soaked it all up a bit more.

    And finally, remember that whatever college you choose will be the right decision. One of my friends told me this when I was stressed about what to decide, and he told me that wherever you choose to go, you will find your niche and make the most of it, so take peace in the fact that–if you go into college with the right attitude–you can’t choose wrong.


  3. keesha on April 5th, 2011 9:52 am

    plus you really need to think about which college will give you the best opportunity after you graduate.

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