1. JPGriffin
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    JPGriffin Senior Member

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    College Planning

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by JPGriffin, Apr 25, 2012.

    It's come to that time when the pressures of picking colleges and finding where my life is headed is staring me in the face. I honestly have no idea what I want to do in my future, and I really can't go to any friends for help; as if they'd ever take me seriously. They see me as having a future set wherever I go, so all I'm getting is "Go do whatever you want, you'll do great!" Yeah, sure. I'll do wonderful wandering aimlessly looking for a good future for myself... And I digress.

    I'm looking for past experiences with colleges, how people planned and approached their college experiences, and how they decided what they wanted to do for a living (I'm expecting to see a lot of people saying "writing," but I'll ask that you please be more specific- editorial work, creative writing, so on and so fourth). I don't plan on stealing your plan, but any and all information should at least give me a general idea of how to NOT take a shot in the dark.

    To expand on what I know/have been told, a basic four-year school is a good starting point, where if I wanted to go for a master's degree it wouldn't be as expensive as studying the full six years in the specialized college. In-state would be easier, and minimal traveling distance (I like to walk everywhere, in lieu of driving) to local businesses would be favorable, yet I want to keep to a smaller school if at all possible. So this points to a college town, smaller than a big-city university but with businesses within an easy commute from classes. Feel free to correct me if I'm looking in the wrong area, and please feel free to share your own experiences and make any suggestions if you have any.
     
  2. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I would say the most important thing is to make sure you find a major that you actually enjoy, and hopefully something you're passionate about. A lot of students don't know what they want to do, and that's fine, but keep trying to figure it out. Once you get to major-specific classes instead of gen-eds, you should have a good idea what you're doing - otherwise you won't do well. I know a lot of people who do mediocre in college because they majored in something they don't really care much about.

    When I was looking for a university to go to, I focused a lot on location, city size, and college prestige/exclusivity. To be honest though, I wouldn't worry too much about picking the right college unless you're going to a highly specialized or obscure major that certain schools are known leaders for in their field. There are hundreds of colleges, many are good.

    As for deciding what I wanted to do, I've always known - it was just a passion that came naturally. So I guess the most important thing would be to find your passion. Don't worry about the money - find a field of study that you would enjoy working in every day.
     
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  3. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    Consider community college, you can parse and test the waters concerning possible majors while obtaining credit for those core classes that you have to take anyway in any college. Many of my friends did this and are much more content with their college experience and education, unlike myself who did the 4 year deal at a big U without much interest in a major I picked for ease and career opportunity that never panned out.
     
  4. losthawken
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    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    I agree with Pallas. Going to college with no idea what you want to do can be a HUGE waste of money. My wife and I have been out of school for 8 years now and are not even close to paying off our loans. For me, I knew what I wanted to do and am climbing that career ladder now. My wife went to school for 4 years and is now a stay-at-home Mom with college loans to pay. I wouldn't consider her time at school a waste by any means (her major in child development is a HUGE asset to us as we raise kids), but the return she is getting from her investment isn't monetary.

    I say, if you don't know what you want to do, get some experience working a real job and try to figure it out. You will be much more mature when you do go on to college and will be prepared to take full advantage of the opportunity. There is no rush.
     
  5. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    I applied to colleges that where free to apply to online, and NYU to pacify a relative. So I did little actual looking, and went at it opposite as suggested. As for majors, I planned either economics or finance. Wanted and still would like to do banking. Found out that I did not like finance but like the economics. I also discovered marketing so I changed study to economics and marketing. I had never considered marketing before business school, so I guess keep you mind open, and look for an advantage.
     
  6. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Honestly, for the psychology degree because I was speaking to the admission woman and it was the first thing that came out of my mouth, before that, I had no idea. There was some nonsense about characters going on in my head, but, yes, I just let it out.

    But choosing general at the beginning is just fine if they offer it. There's intro classes that can let you know what you want or what you're interested in. Mind you, I applied to a lot of places far from home but close enough that I could visit home... then blew that plan out of the water, went traveling for the summer and came back to rush to get in a week before the first semester would start. I do not advise doing this unless you do not want to be forced into on-campus living. My school filled up quickly there and I count it lucky that I didn't have to live there (have a twin, was cheaper for us to live off campus together.)

    You can go to a community college if you find one that fits your desires. The one around here doesn't. Or a small university. Though, I would advise to keep price into mind. Not knowing what I wanted to do, I decided that 20k for a year wasn't for me and went to a small university for about 6k a year.
     
  7. DanielRoseington
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    DanielRoseington Member

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    For me personally I kind of lucked out in finding what I wanted to do. I was in the same position upon graduating in that I had no idea what I wanted to do, and it seemed kind of scary. I applied for general studies at a local college-university and was going to take a range of classes to see what I liked (all I knew was that I liked arts/social sciences). My friend later told me later on about a general arts/social sciences program at Simon Fraser University for first year students and I applied and got accepted there. I took an archaeology class in first year and really liked it and after taking a few more arch courses and finding more out about how the business worked and how I would get a job I decided to declare it as my major. I'm really glad I didn't go as a general studies student at the college-university and I found archaeology, because I would have no idea what I would be doing now.

    For you I would recommend doing some research on the different courses offered at the schools you want to apply to. Try and find something you really like and go for it. This may take some time, but it will be worth it as it will effect the rest of your life (not trying to sound scary). If you don't know what you want to take I would recommend taking a year off to work or travel. You could end up wasting money on classes you don't need and from what I've seen general studies students tend to drop out at a much higher rate. College will always be there, but you won't always be young. If you don't know what you want to do its alright, you got plenty of time. Its better to earn some money, gain life experience, and make some memories at this age then be miserable in college, not knowing what you want to do and fretting the future.

    When you figure out what you want to do for a living, I would recommend finding out as much as you can about the business and tailoring your courses and extra-curricular activities so that you can have a solid resume when you're done your degree(s). Don't forget to take a look at other options like trades or other post-grad schools. And finally, if you decide to go for a Masters consider working in between the degrees to gain experience outside the class.

    Good Luck!
     
  8. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    A few thoughts -

    Don't school hop, credits never transfer well so you waste a lot of time and money.

    Don't pick a degree that has no future, you can get a degree in some pretty crazy things but they are zero help when you want a real job that will actually pay the bills.

    Remember to play the game - find out what the teacher wants and give it to them (unless it's immoral or illegal :) ). Learning is important but some classes you just need to get through. Don't ruin your GPA because you dislike a teacher or think what they are asking for is stupid.

    Don't take out a ton of students loans. It's okay to live in cheap housing, ride a bike everywhere and eat Ramen noodles for a few years.

    And I strongly recommend a minimum wage job because it's the best motivation out there to finish school.
     
  9. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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