A year ago, when I was deciding where to go to college, I was told to think about the usual things: location, class size and availability of my major. While all of these things are important, there are some things that are important at a college that I did not think about, but rather stumbled upon during my first semester at California State University Northridge.
If you aren’t planning on living in the dorms, you should. I firmly believe that everyone should live in the dorms (In fact, some schools actually require students to live on campus; CSUN is not one of them.) Commuters miss out on a lot of stuff. Most of the people I talk to live on campus, because it’s so much easier to hang out with people who live two minutes away. Commuters go to class and come home. That’s it. People who live in dorms go to class, hang out with friends, have some fun then crash in their dorms for a couple hours. I know people who are commuters and enjoy being commuters. Personally, I don’t know why or how they do it.
But if you are living in the dorms, there are so things you should know before you accept. Take a tour of where you are staying. Some schools may have rooms that are spacious, others make a cardboard box look like a palace. Get familiar with where you will be living for nine months, because you don’t want to be living in a school with 10 bathroom stalls for a hundred girls. At least, I don’t want to. Some schools (like where I’m living) have apartment-style dorms. A bathroom, a kitchen, a living room and two bedrooms for four girls. That’s what you want to stay in.
Some school push or even require a meal plan. I don’t have one, but I’ve tried the food. Please, if you are getting the meal plan, try the food first and remember you will be eating that (for the most part) three times everyday.
I’m dyslexic and when I was applying, I didn’t even think about what the Center of Disabilities was like. If you are dyslexic or have any kind of learning disability, look at the Center of Disabilities before choosing a college. In high school, many of my teachers did not respect my disability and refused to offer proper accommodations. At CSUN, they make it mandatory for professors to respect disabilities. They offer private rooms, free note-takers, priority registration, extra time on tests and more for kids with disabilities.
I love driving. In fact, I can’t live without my car. I drive all the time, racking up around a hundred miles a week. If you are like me, choose a college where you can have a car as a freshman. Some schools won’t let freshmen have cars. If you need a car, don’t pick that school.
Think about clubs. In high school, I didn’t really worry about clubs. In college, clubs really help. I am a part of one club that really kept me sane throughout the first semester. When I was lost my first week of school, they took me in and treated me like family. A lot of schools have a club-day event before you have to accept going there. Attend this and find some clubs that work for you. They help and it’s a good way to meet people.
Don’t think about what everyone else says. If I did, I wouldn’t be at CSUN, even though it’s where I belong. Choose a school that’s right for you, not your parents or friends or teachers.
Picking a college is scary, but a little exciting at the same time. It requires some research to figure out which school is right for you, but if you pick the right one, you will be happy.