Thursday, July 15, 2010

What Now?

We can all agree with Don- students don't want to leave their comfort zone and want to attend school close to home... and there is NOTHING wrong with this decision. If anything, it is the best and right decision for most. As for me, I don't want to lose the people I grew up with in my life and my middle/ high school years. We watched each other grow as a person and character. Leaving them for college is already one big decision, but leaving them for a different state is an even bigger decision. There are many reasons behind this and we all understand how difficult it is to transition elsewhere, meet a whole new set of people, adapt to the atmosphere, and learn to survive and thrive. Leaving your comfort zone and expanding your boundaries can be rewarding as well. The learning and living experience you get to be in is almost indescribable.

For me, it would be wrong to ignore the UC system. UCLA, UCSD, and UCI will definitely be schools that I consider. UCD, UCSB, and UCSD are great schools too but never interested me as much as the first three. still there are four more schools in the UC system that may suit others taste perfectly. California offers some well-respected privates including USC which I have heard great things about aside from the "rural area" aspect of it. 

Two of which Sue Kim recommended for me to explore -- Occidental and Loyola Marymount -- are also located in Los Angeles. Occidental offers too small of an undergraduate enrollment (1,863) and Loyola barely made it to my size of preference (5,746). I want to be able to meet new people and see different faces up until my senior year, and I would prefer a school of 5,000 or greater. 

Ms. Kim gave me a few other choices to explore, and some are located in states that are "random" to the most of us. Going out of state already requires a lot of audacity thus I want to attend somewhere not so random. Brown University was an unknown area to me before, but now I can say that I would be more than happy if Brown admits me as an incoming freshman. I have gained so much information and insight on this prestigous university and am learning to appreciate it more and more each day. I have the most information about this school - surprising. 

I can't put my finger on my top 10 choices, but I can say that together with Ms. Kim, I have come up with factors that I want in my college: diverse student body, high-energy and laid-back atmosphere, and lots of school spirit. A warm weather location would be highly appreciated as well. I know Ms. Kim and I will narrow down our choices of in-state and out-of-state colleges together and work from there.

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie,

    Thank you once again for expanding on your earlier blog. Your viewpoints are solid and valued.

    I hope I never gave the impression that I expected or even wanted our students to attend school away from home or out of state. What our goal in the ILC has always been was to open the eyes of our students so they understood there were viable options available outside of the UCs and the Cal State system.

    As I mentioned in my comments to your earlier blog, economics plays a big role in where we go. Unless you have Bill Gates kind of money—which leaves me out—then the financial part of attending college will be a major factor. It doesn’t matter whether we love a school or even if the school loves us, if we can’t foot the bill then we need to have a ‘Plan B’ ready to fall back on

    If you’ve checked out the UCs lately you’ll see that it costs an arm and a leg to attend. As of a few minutes ago, UC Berkeley’s web site shows that living on campus will cost a few cents under $27,000 per year. Living off campus only costs a buck or two less.

    Most private schools these days are significantly higher so many students automatically see that less is better.

    What they don’t often see are the financial aid packages that might be available. While it would be wrong to suggest that you can’t get financial aid from a UC, in reality they really don’t have much money to GIVE a student. Loans may be available but they’re usually sticklers about asking you to pay that money back.

    Many smaller private schools have endowments that can provide financial aid to the level that it may be cheaper to attend that prestigious out of state school (or in-state, for that matter) than it would be to attend a UC.

    And while you personally may want to attend a larger school (somewhere between super small and over crowded?), every student owes it to him/herself to visit one of the UCs while they’re in regular session and walk into a freshman calculus or chem lecture where they may have 1,000 to 1,500 students in that class. If you want personal attention from an instructor, then a school like that may not be right for you.

    You’re 100% right, though, about it being a personal choice. Your decision won’t affect me or anyone else. You have to live with your decision so you need to make the right one based on your own needs.

    What we hope for, though, is that when you make that decision you’re basing it on facts and not vague ideas. You’ve visited a number of campuses, Stephanie, and you’ve spoken to a number of admissions officers so you have a much better feel than most high school seniors who rely on word of mouth and what they read on the school’s web site. Already you have a leg up on them and will have a much better chance of making the right choice for you.