As a sophomore, my family took a trip to the lovely Boston, Massachusetts, where we decided that while we were there we may as well bite the bullet and begin my search for the perfect college. I visited a total of six schools there, but of the six, my visit to Tufts University was the most informative, interesting, and illuminating. Here are eight things I learned on my college visit to Tufts University.
1.There are several “tiers” of colleges. Sure, we all know about the Ivy Leagues, but as I learned at the “Baby Ivy” Tufts, many colleges are near enough to the Ivy League standard to provide near the same quality of education, but often without the extremely difficult application process and unthinkably high SAT scores.
2.Colleges actually don’t care as much about numbers as one may think. This, undeniably, was a revelation to me. But as the lovely admissions lady holding the information session explained, they’d much rather take someone with personality and mediocre test scores than someone without personality and excellent test scores. They want to see you have a story; you don’t need to be perfect.
3.Just as important as finding a college that you can afford is finding a college that you WANT to afford. When I visited Tufts, I knew it was the one that I wanted to go to, and that has inspired me to work much harder. I’m now in the 97th national percentile for the SAT scores, am holding all As in my three AP classes (along with normal classes), and am holding down two internships. Find the university that inspires you to be great, because then, even before you get in, you will be.
4.Ask questions! Ask so many questions! Even if you think you already know the answer, if you get as many perspectives as possible then you can find out hidden gems, hidden terrors, and insider views on the applications!
5.The college student’s perspective is invaluable. Most college tours are done by current students, and trust me, they are the best resource you could find. They all got in, and they know how to apply, how to present themselves, and how to find the perfect scholarships. And they’re willing to help! I haven’t met a tour guide who wasn’t willing to gush with me about majors, honors, scholarships, and SAT scores.
6.Most colleges are willing to put you in touch with a staff member who’s willing to talk to you. I contacted the Tufts drama department and have been emailing back and forth with a staff member for a few weeks! It not only has reassured me about the department’s capabilities, but encouraged me about the friendliness of the staff.
7.You need to consider weather when you’re considering schools. Sure, the California sun may seem nice when you’re freezing in Minnesota, but when you’re getting heatstroke and longing for the days when you could actually see snow, you may reconsider. And while the Massachusetts winter may seem like a childlike fantasy to my Californian self, I’m sure I’ll have my doubts when I’m trudging through a blizzard to get to class.
8.Class styles are so important. Sure, most colleges are switching over to a more intimate teaching style, but it is still important to make sure that the teaching strategies align with your learning styles. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!