5 Things To Consider When Applying to College!

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Admissions at Carolina always asks this basic question: Why Carolina? It’s a twitter campaign, an Instagram hashtag, and sometimes surfaces on Facebook. Every year I get the privilege to recount my journey to Carolina. Yes, I just smiled at my computer screen. Dork alert. It started in February last year when I went to the selection weekend for my science program at UNC where I got to meet with some high school seniors being considered for that year’s cohort.

I always raved about how much I loved Carolina. And honestly, after complaining for a majority of the year about how hard it was and how miserable I was spending 8 hours straight in the library, it was nice to just sit back and think about all the things I actually loved about my school. So, today, I’m just going to tell you some reasons I love Carolina and some things you want to think about before applying to colleges. Whether you’re in the middle of choosing where you’ll be for the next four years or looking at application fee costs, here are 5 things that you might want to consider before making one of the biggest decisions of your life! 

  1. You’ll need to make sure your degree program is accredited and respected.

    Carolina has one of the best chemistry departments in the country and I was obviously immediately drawn to that ~being the huge chemistry nerd that I am. A big part of making sure that my degree would be more than a severely overpriced sheet of paper after graduation I had to make sure that the degree was accredited by the ACS {American Chemical Society}!

    One of the biggest mistakes people will make when considering where they’ll be for the next four years: going to a school where there major either a) doesn’t exist or b) isn’t accredited by the major society or group that consists of professionals in your desired career. PLEASE make sure that your school of choice is accredited and that your degree will mean something when you finish up your undergraduate career. If not, mark that school off your list now!

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  2. Will all your “life necessities” be met at the campus of your choice?

    My main three requirements for any college that I was seriously considering had to have all of three {non-academic} things: a major city/town component, a rich history, and really great athletics! If you know anything about UNC, you know it knocks all three categories out of the park. As the oldest public university in the country, it is rich in provocative and innovative history that makes being on campus a gift! The student body really rallies behind all of our sports teams and Chapel Hill is a really cool city to explore the tiny shops and insanely good restaurants!

    You also want to look at  dining hall and dorming options, laundry, and the surrounding areas. It was also nice to have Zipcar if I needed anything off-campus; but be sure to check out your campuses parking and car regulations and requirements!

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  3. The social atmosphere should match your personality!

    One of my favorite things about Carolina is the diverse student body. It continuously amazes me everyday, how many different perspective I have the opportunity to learn from. It truly does make me a better person. Chapel Hill is also situated in the Triangle which has great shopping, delicious food, and the hub of ground-breaking research, which was super important for a budding scientist.

    I also loved the idea of going to school in the city, so you’ll have to assess whether or not you like the college town vs. integrated campus more. You’ll only know that by going on many, many campus tours! Your parents might sleep a little better if the campus isn’t spread out across downtown of a major city, but I’ll be writing a post all about safety in college in a few weeks!

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  4. On campus resources: quality and quantity!

    If you are ever struggling with acid-base chemistry in CHEM 102, is there a free peer tutoring service available on campus? Meanwhile, you also have a final paper due…maybe a writing center is available to proofread it for you? Carolina offers all of these programs and resources and more! Most major colleges and universities will have academic services that cost no extra fees and a majority of students won’t take advantage of them.

    Also, You might not be a fan of the party atmosphere on your campus, but the RHA and student government may host dry events on Friday and Saturday nights. You might not even think about these things among the college rankings and SAT score requirements, but they are so important and worth considering especially if you want to do well!

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  5. What’s in the surrounding area?

    Lastly, what’s in the surrounding area? Is it safe? Weekend trips to other parts of the state? Are you a Public Policy major and looking for potential internships during the school year? You might want to consider going to school near the state’s capital or a city with influential ties to the capital. Maybe my future marine biologists out there want to have year-round explorations and want to consider Florida or California schools! Some school locations will be able to enhance your education outside of the classroom and that is so very important!

    I love being really close to Research Triangle Park because these companies and government agencies offer tons of resources for undergraduate students to learn more about career opportunities for after graduation. You can schedule meetings to tour facilities and talk with a representative about gaining experience and summer jobs! I wouldn’t make this a huge priority because most of your time will be focused on school work, but it is an added bonus if your school is in a prime location!

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I hope this has gotten your brain wheels turning and gotten the Google search engine all fired up! There’s more to picking your dream school than prestige and academic rigor so be cognizant of all the various bolts and screws that are required to drive a viable college experience.

With love,

Signature_Gabby

  • mckenna bleu

    Im sure these tips are very helpful!

  • Thanks so much for sharing this Gabby! I’m a rising senior and about to jump into college apps (August 1st!). This is so helpful!

    xoxo,
    Katie
    chicincarolina.blogspot.com

    • It can be such a stressful time, super excited for ya– college is a blast! Let me know if you need any help with the process!
      xo, Gabby

  • I got so excited about the potential of Carolina bloggers but then I realized it was the wrong Carolina! Haha, jk jk! These tips are all so true, and USC has really been such a big blessing in my life. (I also totally geek out when freshmen start appearing on campus!)

    Tori
    http://www.mooretori.com

    • HAHA one of my good high school friends goes to the other Carolina 😉 and we joke about it all the time! Thanks for reading!
      xo, Gabby

  • This is great. I considered all of these when I applied to college and determined that the University of Miami was perfect for me. It truly was a fabulous 4 years.

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

  • Sarah Louise Zerbe

    Great post there is so much to think about.

  • Michelle Mink

    I spent a lot of time considering whether or not different universities were right for me. I loved the school i got my degree from.

  • Ashley

    These are great tips! I knew what I wanted to major in and spent a lot of time researching where would be the best place for me based on that!!

    xo Ashley

  • Whitney H

    You did a great job with these tips! I only applied to one university when I was in HS but I know that I absolutely made the right decision. A small liberal arts school with Greek life was exactly what I was looking for!

  • Merisa Ferrell

    Wonderful tips! Applying to colleges is such a stressful time. xx Merisa | Monogrammed Magnolias

  • mQs

    Great tips!

  • The Confused Millennial

    These are awesome tips! Thanks for sharing!

  • Such great advice! I only applied to one school and got in, and I loved my college experience, but part of me wishes I would have explored a few more campuses before committing.

    • I think I got super lucky to find a place that I love so much! There are so many schools now a days that I think you have to explore a ton to find it!
      xo, Gabby

  • sami moore

    These are awesome tips! When I was applying to school, I made sure to look for a school that had a great journalism program and Greek life. Best decisions I could have made!!!

    XO,
    Sami || sparkleandshinesami.com

  • Great suggestions! I chose my school solely based off of the accreditation and affordability. While I got a lot out of my degree and now do not have a lot of debt, I didn’t get a great social college experience since my university was primarily a commuter school. It’s great that you added those social and atmosphere points in! Xoxo Mindy

    • I know they were big factors up there with affordability and prestige so I felt like they just had to be included! Thanks for reading gorgeous! 🙂
      xo, Gabby