Arts & Humanities: Don't Leave College Without Them

Don’t forget: you are paying for your education. So get the education you want.

4- Whatever you do, don’t forget to look up a school’s general education requirements. Ultimately, these are the classes you will have to take. So make sure you want to take them! Too many students get to campus and then feel surprised, sometimes even angered, by the classes they have to take. Know what you are getting into before you go. Okay, say you find a college that offers many of the classes (learnings) that excite you, and it's a college you can afford. You apply, and you get accepted. Congrats! You get to campus. Now what? Whatever you do, remember these man- tras: 5- Learn as much as you can. Your goal is to learn, so get yourself out there. Challenge yourself. Explore! Discover! Take a class, or two, or three, from a totally different field. Your goal is to learn and grow. That’s what you are paying for. So go out there and get it. 6- Don’t tie yourself down through more majors and minors. In other words, don’t get double majors or minors just because they make you look like a go-getter. More re- quirements mean less time to explore other classes. Ask yourself whether the trade-off is worth it. You are a go-getter when you drive your learning through classes and experiences that you care about and that will expand your knowledge and skills. If you create your own unique path, you will stand out from the crowd.

has nothing to do with liberal politics, and eve- rything to do with every single human being’s ability and opportunity to free your mind, ex- plore possibilities across a wide array of fields and think for yourself. And, yes, it's totally finan - cially worth it. This should be a conversation led by you, with your interests in full view. Although we as par- ents often want to guide our kids in the right di- rection, for this particular step, you should try to control our impulses and openly talk about what motivates you.

And that’s where it gets complicated. As someone who came to the US from Germany (but completed high school in Spain at the age of twenty, I knew absolutely nothing—zero, nada, nichts—about US colleges and universities, I understand how daunt- ing this task can be. So here is what I wish I had known beforehand: There are various types of colleges to choose from: community colleges, professional schools like nursing or engineering, public universities, private universities, research universities and lib- eral arts colleges. Each has different strengths and provides different opportunities. What you want to do is find a place that matches your budget first and your interests second.

And whatever you do, don’t forget to:

1- Take your time to look at college websites . What you will search for is the course catalog and the general education re- quirements to see if there are classes that match up to your list of desired learnings. 2- If you can, visit the school in person (sometimes schools provide financial help to get you on their campus. Just ask the admissions office). This can make a huge difference. Some schools look great on paper, but then don’t live up to the hype when you see it in person. Other schools look so-so on paper, but then feel great when you get on campus. And, yes, sometimes you just need to go by what “feels right” to you. 3- Don’t let standardized tests get in your way. Standardized tests are made for people who are good test takers and whose brains work in specific ways. If you are not one of those people – I was definitely not one of them – do not waste your time or money try- ing to improve test scores. They do not measure your intelligence nor your future success. More and more colleges and universities, especially after Covid, are recognizing that standardized tests place a higher burden and do not measure success of students with different intelligences, from different cultural backgrounds, and with different strengths.

Once this genuinely authentic process is com- plete, looking at schools and colleges can begin.


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them


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