Senior Strategies: Talking to College Students During Winter Break

At this point in time, the application part of college planning is slowly winding down. Before looking to the new calendar year, applicants should take advantage of the extended breaks to reconnect with friends and classmates who are returning from their first semester of college.

Out of all the ways to get a feel for a school, there’s no better insight an applicant can than one from someone who just experienced it for the first time. Not only will an applicant get a more genuine view of the school from a friend, but it also opens up the window for future visits if the applicant gets into the school. This part of the college planning process is crucial as adjusting to a school in the first semester is one of the many challenges college freshman will face.

When asking about how his or her friend’s college experience has gone so far, there are a few subjects that a prospective student should bring up in helping his or her college planning:

  • Workload: Very few admission offices will blatantly state that their programs are very time-consuming and require a lot of out-of-class time. However, from friends who just went to college, they’ll tell an applicant what work at that school in their specific program is really like. In addition, an insight from a friend in college is a good way to benchmark the amount of work a student has to do in the future when compared to their current high school workload.
  • Dorm Life: Living in the dorms is a hit or miss experience. Some students love it. Some students hate it. It all varies school to school, which is why students should try and figure out the ideal living situation at each school he or she applied to. From campus dining to noise level, these are factors applicants should be looking into when considering which school to attend in the fall.
  • Extracurriculars/ Social Life: These are the nitty gritty details that usually end up selling the student on a school. From vibrant sports culture to events held both within and outside the campus, these factors are ultimately what students look forward to the most in college. Any student should have a good idea of what is up around campus and take time out of their studies to go and enjoy a new environment.

Looking at the college planning road map, there are a few key insights that can be obtained from simply just talking to those who have had the college experience for the first time. From actual workload to standard of living to extracurricular activities, these talks can really fill in the question marks of a college planning checklist and help a student make an educated decision on where he or she wants to attend. For the majority of students, college is the next big step in their young lives. For this reason, it’s imperative to get a good idea what they’re getting themselves into when they finally pick their school.

Questions? Let us know!