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Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to a University

Updated: Aug 7, 2022

By: Celeste Calabrisi

When applying for colleges, I got into the school I wanted. I must admit, however, that I did not put much time or thought into why I wanted to go. I chose the school that I chose because I wanted to be able to live at home to save money. Whether you are trying to save money, live at home, or immerse yourself in the college experience, there are many considerations to take before selecting your school. Here are the things I wished I would have known before selecting my school and applying for it.

The Funding

I picked to study History. For my school, this was in the school of humanities and was secluded in one part of my campus. While the seclusion made it easy to walk from class to class, it was made very clear to me that not all departments were treated equally. The humanities portion of the campus was run down with one newly constructed building that had a plethora of advanced technology for teaching. (Ironic since humanities teachers do not usually prefer teaching with any technology.) The run-down portions of the humanities areas showed that my department was underfunded. When your subject of study is underfunded it will affect your learning experience greatly. Some of the teachers may be poor, your classrooms will be dinky, and your opportunities may feel limited. I would suggest looking into how much your field of study is valued at your school before you attend.

The People

Everyone goes to visit their school before they attend. University tours are super popular for Juniors and Seniors to embark on to ensure the school “vibes” are right for them. However, the people that go there are seldom a subject of discussion. I wished I had considered that since many of the people at my university did not share my struggles, values, or passions. As a full-time student and a full-time employee, the school was often just half of my day. Many of my classmates did not match my experience. Their opinions on life were also starkly different from mine. This made it hard for me to make friends or want to socialize with anyone outside of my immediate classmates. I would suggest considering the demographics and people of the university before you go.

The Scheduling

At my university, the class enrollment was stressful: making sure I picked the right classes, making sure they fit with my work schedule and making sure that I woke up early enough to enroll before classes filled. This was a difficult part of college. I scheduled an appointment with my counselor after every enrollment period to ensure that I was on the right track (A suggestion that I fully endorse others to do). However, there was an instance when I needed a course to graduate, and the university made a conscious decision only offer it in the evenings when I worked. That was not going to work with my schedule, so I reached out to the scheduling department to see if they would offer it in the morning the next semester— I like to think it was because of my complaint. The response I got was very rude, hostile, and not accommodating. They did end up offering the class in the morning the following semester, but I cannot stress enough the importance of meeting with counselors about scheduling. The last thing you would want is to need to graduate an entire semester late because of one missed course.

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