Thursday, January 26, 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

We just sent our second round of acceptance letters out in the mail for our EAII applicants, which got me to thinking - each and every one of these accepted students (as well as the EAI applicants the Regular applicants who will receive their offers of admission in late March) has a very big decision ahead of them. They will be deciding where to spend the next four years of their life - from the ages of 18 -22!

So, here are the 5 things that I think every student making the decision about where they want to go to school should learn about each of their prospective colleges - they might not be the biggest, most common or seemingly important things, but they are definitely worth knowing.

1) Am I being accepted into a certain major or academic program?
At Saint Michael's we do not have different admission standards for different majors - in fact, most of our students are "Exploratory" majors for at least their freshman year. However, at some schools you are accepted into a certain program and might not have the same kind of flexibility with changing your major. It's better to know this going in than be surprised when you get to school!

2) What are the weekends like?
Here at St. Mike's, we are just as active on the weekends as we are during the week - maybe even more so! You should definitely ask your tour guide or admission counselor if students leave on the weekends or if they choose to stick around. SMC is the epitome of a residential campus, which was one of my favorite parts!

3) What is the process for choosing a roommate?
Living with a roommate can be one of the biggest adjustments that a student makes when transitioning to college - sharing space with someone who you've never met can be pretty anxiety provoking. However, at St. Mike's our residential life staff sends out a survey and tries to match you with someone who you have similar living habits with. However, not all roommate pairings are perfect, so changes can also be made if absolutely necessary. Learning what you are in for in this regard can help you put your mind at ease.

4) What type of person would love this school?
This is a really great question to ask anyone who you can as you make your decision on where to attend school - you can get some really great answers, plus you can see if you can see yourself meshing with the descriptions that these people give you. I think that the type of person who would love SMC is someone who is willing to new things, go out of their comfort zone, get involved with lots of activities, ask questions, be present and go through four years of life changing moments and experiences. Does that sound like you?

5) What percentage of students return after their first year?
This is a statistic called "student retention." Students leave schools for any number of different reasons - whether it's because they changed their mind on what they wanted to study, realized that they wanted to be in a different location or they realized that they couldn't make it work financially. It's an interesting statistic to learn - we have a 91% retention rate at SMC, which I think is great - it shows that our students make really well informed decisions and love it at SMC!

What things are you wondering about as you make your decision about where to attend college?

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