Post by Skyfire
some college in Jersey City
I resent that. It's in Hoboken
, thank you very much, and it's not just some odd college, it's an institute of technology; funnily enough, it was the first institute of technology in the US to have a liberal arts school (I think).
**Also Laihendi and Interest
I'm not suggesting that everyone go and become an engineer or a doctor or something. But you need to learn how to do something. Read that again. You need to learn how to do some specific thing. When you graduate, and you have your degree and your GPA and everything else in hand, and you hike off to your first job interview, the person who interviews you isn't even going to feign interest in your grades, your diploma, your extracurriculars or anything else if you can't look him or her straight in the eyes and say, "I can do/build/make/design/write/teach/explain/whatever this one real actual thing better than anyone else you're going to interview."
This. If you really are interested in English, I would resort to a degree in management of some sort, or become the pro-writer you're thinking to become, or major in teaching with the minor in English. There's still a lot of possibilities for someone who likes English or writing, but they will probably need to take the backburner to an application-based (as in, applying one's skills) major.
As for the OP itself, I'm not going to tell you which to look at. You're going to work on that yourself. And I'm going to give you your battleplan. :D
Your first mission is to take the PSAT, SAT, and
ACT (and the PACT, if you want), multiple times if need be. Colleges will start mailing you literal bucketloads of fliers after your PSATs, which really means that they have some
interest in you. This helped immensely in my own search for college, as the choices decreased from the 3 to 4000 institutions of higher learning to about 100. As well, most colleges only need the SAT or the ACT, so if you do better on one than the other, don't submit both!
Then, start sifting those down to the ones which you know to have the qualities in a college you want. I.e., you want an (good) English program and a band program. What else do you want though in a college? Should it be urban, suburban, or out in the middle of nowhere? Do you want to be close-to-home, close-but-not-so-close to home, on the other side of the country, or even out of the country? On a related note, do you plan to be an exchange student?
How many people do you want attending the school? 40k, 20k, 1k? What professor to student ratio do you want? 1:10? 1:20? (note that this one isn't the best metric, as you're still likely to get stuck in big lectures your first one or two years). Do you want a school known for the parties, or for the number of freshmen that don't drop out (i.e, a school where study > parties)?
Then there's the money. How much do your parents make (rhetorical)? How much help do you expect to get from scholarships and grants (usually grades based)? How much are your parents (you?) willing to pay per year to attend school? This is probably the least important criterion, but you should
consider it anyway. There's a big difference between a 5k per year community college, 20k per year state school, and a 50k per year private institution (I'm at the latter, for better or worse :), especially if you're not expecting to have money to burn.
Are you interested in anything other than English and band? Are you an athlete? Which division, if so, do you want to be in? Are you a part of student government? Heck, do you like to read? Play with cars? Will the college you plan to attend have a reputation for having a good student government? Will it allow you to make a club if there isn't one for the topic you're interested in? This is important, as it can provide an entry point into the applications stage, as well as for when you get to college, etc. For example, I'm a swimmer, and I knew that coaches would need to hear from me, so we got in contact with them before
the applications stage to see if that would allow us to discard anymore.
Once you've narrowed it down to 10 to 15, you need
to visit campuses. Some campuses don't fit; for example, %^&*inson
has two state highways literally running through the middle of campus. That would have driven me nuts
for one, and for two, the drivers aren't too concerned for the students' safety, and so I discarded it. But I wouldn't have known to discard it if I hadn't gone to see the campus. If you're lucky in this instance, you'll be able to manage all the trips with a maximum of 2 or 3 plane flights (you'll have a lot of driving, but that should still cost less than multiple flights).
Then, the applications. Those are an entirely different beast. :)
I hope that not-wall-of-text helps. I can probably dig up links if necessary...