Updated: Nov 2, 2021
November marks the due date for many American universities' early enrollment deadline. In order to find your perfect fit, here are some of the most important factors listed by our undergraduate student blogger Katie Overby that she took into consideration when deciding what schools she would apply for and ultimately attend.
When considering university application and admission, academics should be the number one priority. Keep in mind that not every school has every major, especially if you’re studying something more obscure, look at schools that have your intended major. For example, a friend of mine wanted to study Aviation. This is not a major offered by every school, so he ended up attending the University of Dubuque, which has its own Aviation department. Additionally, certain schools are known for specific departments, a university with a prestigious political science department, may not have the biggest business department. One of the reasons I attended Louisiana State University is that I really wanted to continue taking German language courses, which are not offered at every school. When researching universities, look into their academic programs section to see if schools can serve your independent academic needs.
Representing LSU’s German Program
One of the biggest factors I took into consideration was location. I decided on my university because of its proximity to my family, in case I needed any help while I was at school. This has provided me with a great deal of support during my studies. However, many international students may not have family in the United States, location is still a big deal. Would you rather go to a university in a big city such as New York University in New York City or a university in a smaller town or city such as Quincy University, located in a small town in Illinois?
Additionally, consider weather and climate.
If you hate cold weather, try considering a university in the Southern US. Perhaps, you’ve always wanted to live by the beach, try researching schools in Hawaii, Florida, or California. Although academics is the primary deciding factor in selecting a university, I find that it's important to be comfortable in your environment as well. Despite how close it is to family, one thing I’ve found is I despise LSU’s weather. We frequently have bad weather and even hurricanes, teaching me to never leave home without an umbrella.
One of those days we regret not bringing an umbrella
Not every student can afford thousands of dollars of tuition, so another important factor in deciding what university to attend was my financial situation. Many American college alumni have thousands of dollars worth of student loan debt, and I knew that was not a situation I wanted to get into. I then decided to look into schools that were affordable enough to prevent that. Every student has their own unique financial situation. Generally, public schools will have less expensive tuition, however, this is not always the case. Students should also factor in the amount of financial aid or scholarships offered by schools. Another affordable option for college is considering a community college. Community colleges offer the first two years of an undergraduate degree, often at a more affordable price. You will then gain your Associate's Degree and have the option to gain your bachelors by attending a 4-year university for the remainder of the 2 years. If this is an option you're considering, make sure your intended 4-year university will accept your community college’s credits.
Finally, consider university culture. I attended a very small high school where the graduating class was only 69 people. I knew that I wanted a change in pace, which is why I chose Louisiana State University, which has over 20,000 undergraduate students. Smaller schools have their advantages as well because often they have smaller, more intimate classes and a closer-knit college community.
It really depends on how an individual student learns best. I also wanted to attend a school that had a large football program, which LSU offers. One of my favorite extracurricular activities is attending games with fellow classmates and cheering on the Tigers. You can read more about my experience with football here.
Finally, I am an LSU legacy, meaning both of my parents attended LSU as well as various aunts and uncles. I’ve been a fan of LSU for as long as I can remember and wanted to continue a family tradition.
Me circa 2001: An LSU fan since birth