Picking the Right College

This time of year is both an exciting and stressful time for high school seniors. They are the big kids on campus and more than likely fully in "senioritis" mode! But they are also about to make one of the most important decisions of their lives. And that can cause a lot of anxiety. It was not too long ago when I had to make the important decision of where I would spend a chapter of my life. Deciding where I was going to go to college and graduate school played a huge part into the person I am today. So I wanted to encourage those who are in this phase of their life with a few tips!

1. Visit the colleges/universities you are interested in and see which one makes you feel at home. All of the schools that I applied to were important to me for different reasons, but Baylor was the only school that made me feel so comfortable that I could envision myself investing a few years of my life. Feeling comfortable at the college you end up going to is important so that when you come across those difficult days... And you will!... You don't regret the decision you made to go to that school in the first place.

2. See which school pursues you! Although it may seem that you are waiting for the school to decide if you are qualified enough to meet their academic standards, remember that the decision is ultimately yours. As a student, your success makes the school look better and become ranked higher. So when you are deciding which school to pick, look to see how hard they are willing to work to get you there. Are they offering you scholarships? Are they willing to work with any accommodations that you may need for your learning style? Are the professors passionate about helping you succeed, or are you just a number in the system? These are questions you should ask yourself when making a final decision.

3. Getting a higher level of education is not cheap. It actually makes me sick to my stomach to think about how much it will cost whenever I have kids that age! When making a decision about college, make sure that you make a decision that is financial responsible. Although it may sound good to go to a big named school, remember that typically comes with a big price tag. So unless you are receiving lots of scholarships, be prepared to be committed to the finances that come along with your decision. I personally came across this when deciding between Pepperdine University and the University of Houston for graduate school. Although I really wanted to move to California, I would have absorbed a tremendous amount of debt to attend that school. So I had to make a "big girl decision" and decided to stay in Texas. I ultimately finished my master's degree with no debt as I was able to work while completing my degree. It's one of the best decisions I ever made.

I would love to talk to anyone who is needing help making the decision that will steer the rest of their education and career. Hopefully these tips can help you! I also recommend staying in prayer as the Lord will guide you to where He knows you will be able to fulfill His plan!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015


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