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Do your research

The university you end up at will have farther reaching consequences that you might expect.


 

Almost three months into university and I am only now discovering institutions I wish I had known about 6 months ago. Here are a few examples.

This small liberal arts college in Maine markets itself as a school “for idealists with elbow grease.” There’s only one major – human ecology – with a wide variety of routes you design yourself within that broad but guiding discipline. 305 students, average class size of 12. Tuition: $41,550. Average aid: $28, 020. SAT’s not required!

Admitting students for the first time this fall, NYU Abu Dhabi marks a recent trend of world-class American universities opening campuses in the Middle East. Marketing itself as “The World’s Honors College,” they hope to attract the best and brightest students from around the world. The intensely competitive admissions process includes a “finalist weekend” spent at the Abu Dhabi campus, but NYU rewards those who do make the cut with complete financial aid.

This anomaly in higher education boasts a grand total of 26 students. Isolated in the Deep Springs Valley in rural California, an hour drive away from the nearest human population, the school / cattle ranch accepts 10 – 15 students a year out of 100 – 200 applicants, meaning it’s often more selective than Harvard and Yale. Indeed, after two years spent laboring 20 hours a week on the ranch (part of the deal) and learning in classes of 8, Deep Springs students go on to complete the final two years of their degree at the best institutions in the world. Students at the College hire the professors, select new students, and set the curriculum. Tuition, room, and board are paid for those accepted.

Point being, do your research and do it well. Make sure you know all your options. Talk to as many people as possible. Think about yourself and what you want out of a university in terms of academics, social life, reputation, etc. University years are inevitably some of the most formative of your life, and the environment in which you choose to spend these years is undoubtedly crucial to your personal, intellectual, and social development. So think carefully.


 
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