I consider the college search to be like a treasure hunt—explore the world so you can put your talents to the test and hope to strike gold. But how do you even get started? Fortunately, as someone who has been through it and has now been at college for three years, I am excited to help as Like a Boss’s College Blogger! My name is Amanda Kennedy, and I am a junior at Bryn Mawr College who has a passion for creativity and learning.
The cherry blossoms are in full bloom right now at Bryn Mawr, which remind me of their same pretty pink flowering when I first came during Accepted Students Weekend three years ago. (Wow!) I had been choosing between three very different schools, but thanks to the blessing of my parents, I finally settled on Bryn Mawr – my first choice from the get-go – and have embraced that decision ever since.
Here are some criteria that helped me consider my own list of colleges, and that ultimately led me to where I am now. I hope they will help you, too!
Programs and Majors Available: Consider colleges and universities that celebrate your strong suits. Even if you do not have a specific major in mind, see if you can match your interests with programs, classes, and extracurricular activities available at the college. I am an English major at Bryn Mawr because of my long-lived love of writing, but I have recently developed an interest in entrepreneurship, too. Bryn Mawr does not have a business program, but it is a liberal arts college, so I can explore different classes and resources outside of my English major that cultivate my entrepreneurial spirit.
Geographical Location: How close do you want to be to home? Now is the time to decide whether you want to be a snow bunny or warm weather girl – changes in climate figure into location, too. Bryn Mawr is 1.5 hours from home, and for me, that distance is perfect. I can take the train home on any given weekend if I want to, but it’s also far away enough for me to cultivate my own experiences and establish independence. I also have friends who attend colleges hours and even a few flights away from their hometown. Other friends live at home and commute – which they say is a great way to save money and enjoy the comforts of home!
Size: The size of the school is a big factor when considering colleges, as size can range anywhere from approximately a few hundred to many thousands of students. At Bryn Mawr, I appreciate the small class sizes (anywhere from 10-25 students, but usually somewhere comfortably in between!) and intimate discussions that our small classes generate. I love getting to know so many of my classmates, as well as my professors. I’ve chatted with my professors during office hours, had coffee or lunch with them, and I have to say – they are some of the most inspiring people I have met and provide guidance for my future aspirations.
“Unique Factor:” Quite a few colleges have a unique side to their culture and setting, such as women’s colleges, religious-affiliated schools, service academies, historically black colleges, and more. Bryn Mawr College is one of the Seven Sisters, a group of liberal arts colleges in the Northeast that are historically women’s colleges. (Two of the seven now admit men, too.) I deeply value my women’s college experience because of its challenging learning environment and the sisterhood I find there – I never had sisters growing up (except for my dog Jackie, a Hungarian Vizsla), so suddenly having more than one thousand of them has been super special.
I hope you use these guidelines as tools to find colleges that empower you to cultivate your interests and build your dreams!
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