When going to visit colleges, as a senior in high school, you look for certain things that may interest you. For some that may be the student body, which is the appearance and characteristics of the students and the environment in which the student body demonstrate. For others the schools food, look, size, sports, organizations, and academic setting may be more important or a main focus. Picking the perfect college that offers your major and enhances or fits your social life could be difficult. For one a school may offer one thing, but lack in the other major focus, and this can alter your decision. Another problem could be that the school you may choose to attend may not give you enough, if any, money or scholarships to attend. This is when loans and debt comes into consideration. As we all know college is pretty expensive.
Some major factors I focused on when deciding which college I wanted to attend were environment/atmosphere, organizations, sports, and student body. Yes, it was difficult. I applied for all instate colleges and community colleges in Illinois. Instate tuition is always a bonus and would help financially with college. Attending an instate college, the map grant covers your meal plan and room and board. I also applied to out of state colleges such as FAMU, Florida Memorial, Clark Atlanta University, Alabama A&M, and Tennessee State, just to name a few. I got accepted into every college I applied for instate and out of state. I chose to apply to all those schools because I know they were all large, some diverse, offer a lot of organizations, and my family and I were are familiar with them.
When finally making a decision I considered only Illinois colleges because of finances and scholarships. The top three colleges I decided to pick from were Southern Illinois University (SIUC), Western Illinois University (WIU), and University of Illinois (U of I). These three schools offered most of the same majors, organizations, and had a great student body and atmosphere. I had visited each college before making my decision. My decision was to attend SIUC. My older sister, who just graduated from SIUC last semester, was attending the school during my transition and decision to college.
Not to many of my family members attended, let alone, graduated from college. My uncle and his wife, who he met in college, both attended and graduated from SIUC. Once my sister got her chance to choose a college her first choice was SIUC, although she never visited, she based her decision from hear say and ads seen and heard on the televisions, radio, and website. She also chose to go there because some her close friends were going to attend there and our uncle graduating from there. When making my decision I also took into consideration that I have a uncle and aunt who are Alumni and a sister and friends who are recently attending the school. The fact of having friends and family away at school with you gives off a feel of comfort and home, especially as a freshman in college.
After being sure that Southern Illinois was where I wanted to attend college, my aunt contacted my grandma and told her about Quincy University. My cousin Mahlike was recruited and accepted into QU and received a basketball scholarship. Once my grandma heard about he school she suggested that I applied and once I applied I got accepted and received a couple of scholarships within a week. After receiving the scholarship Quincy offered and compared it to my current school choice, the tuition and finances seemed more convenient and reasonable to attend QU.
In late April my family and I came to visit Quincy University for my cousin Mahlike basketball recruit. During our visit we met with QU basketball head coach Marty Bell, who showed us around the campus and recreational center. The rec center, also called the HFC seemed to be up to date, clean, and occupied. Coach Bell allowed me and my family to sit in my cousins meeting and answered questions for us. Coach Bell also allowed me to sit in their summer practice, which I observed a pretty talented group of young men and assumed that the student body and social life would not be so bad. I think to much of the school at this point.
The next visit my cousin and I attended was our WRAP session, which included other incoming freshman’s and activities to interact with our classmates. We toured campus, ate the cafe food, and did games and activities to get us bonding. Throughout the entire session I was quite and still unsure if I like the college. I talked to my grandmother and mother about not really wanting to attend QU, but they persuaded me that it will be fine and I may begin to like it. Also with the consideration that my cousin would be with me helped me to accept that financially and as a family QU is best for me.
After my first semester at QU I was not as excited about college as I though I would be. After attending the football and basketball games I felt that the atmosphere and student body was not what I liked or was use too. Quincy University is a Division two athletic school, which is small, compared to a division one school, like U of I or SIUC. After discovering the different organizations offered at QU I did not like or participate in any that I felt fit me. I always wanted to be apart of a Greek Life organization growing up and learning about college. The school I wanted to attend, SIUC, had the Greek organization I wanted to join. QU did not offer any well established or familiar organizations to me, I was always interested in pledging Delta Sigma Theta. SIUC had several different frats and sorrow, including Deltas, their brotherhood, Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Kappa Alphas (AKA) and their brotherhood Alpha Phi Alpha.
The biggest disappointments attending QU was the fact that I could not pledge or find any organizations on campus that I identified with or was interested in. The few organizations I tried I did not enjoy or relate too. When completing a resume for a career my involvement in college would be short, which I could have avoided. Other students who have the opportunity to attend bigger universities with more diversity and organizations has a better chance at a position than I do because of the credentials their college have over mines. This is a downfall and major issue to me and future.
Therefore I advise all incoming college students to make their own decision on what college they want to attend and what major they want to take up. No regrets, horrible social life, and bad college experience would be put on you, for making a family decision. If these things still may occur after you have experienced a semester or two, make another decision to transfer and do what is best for you and your college experience. College was always said to be fun and exciting. I am going into my senior year and the last time I truly had fun and felt that QU was a college was my freshman year, first semester. If I could go back I would definitely go with my first mind and attend SIUC with my sister and join many organizations to keep me occupied and interested in school.