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College Search Answered

Hey guys!

I'm a high school freshman (or a sophomore now, rather. score!) and Mom wants me to start taking a look at different colleges <groan>

Now, I don't know too much about colleges, but I do know that I should probably go to one where I can get the kind of major that I want. Thing is, I really don't know what I want to major in, or what I want to do after I finish my schooling. So I figured I'd start with my interests. Here's my top 3:

  • Computers- I've always liked computers, but I really became hooked when I learned about CharredPC's i'ble on how to make XP look like Vista, when tech_king walked me through the steps of how to open a PC, and when LinuxH4X0r and a few others taught me about Linux. And, I know quite a bit about computers and continue to learn more and more about them every time I use them.
  • Engineering- I like building stuffs, but I'm not too great at it. I don't really have the time, money, resources, or transportation that I need to work with the things that interest me most. More specifically, I like automotives, but once again, I don't have the skills or experience, just the interest.
  • Music- My passion. I play clarinet and tenor saxophone pretty well, and can also play the trumpet and harmonica. I'm hoping to get really good at the saxophone, and play that in marching, concert, and jazz bands at my high school, and hopefully play it in a college marching band. Eventually, I'd also like to learn to play piano/keyboard, violin, percussion/drums, and bass guitar.


Oh! Location should be important, too. Any good colleges across the states are good; particularly I'm probably going to have to stick with the southeast; as far north as Virginia and as far west as Texas, but once again, feel free to tell me of any good schools you know.


I live in New Jersey and i higly suggest NJIT or even GT. u could sound very educated and superior in technology, so a state institue of technology would do very nicely. I would suggest MIT, but since I have know idea of your academic strengths/weaknesses, because MIT is absolutely ridiculous good in terms of academic standards. the average GPA is around 4.5

I dont know anything about the US school system :S in uk im going to college after summer (im 16) and in 2 years ill be going to university

I have no clue! I'm going for mechanical engineering.

Um...quick question:

  • What's sophomore and all those other ones?
When you go to a school that takes normally 4 years to graduate, could be high school or college:
  • 1st year - freshman
  • 2nd year - sophomore (noobie pranks so we get the term sophomoric)
  • 3rd year - junior
  • 4th year - senior Yay! you graduate barring sophomoric pranks that land you in jail.

This applies for US schools, maybe called Levels in other countries.

Then i am going to be a sophomore when summer ends.


10 years ago

GT? It's right around your area, and you'd get the HOPE scholarship to boot.

Eh, but we're moving out of Georgia...

Oh you're an engineer through and through. If you like computers and building things, even a little, you're probably an engineer. There are SO many fields you can get into involving music with the other things you love. Music technology is a rapidly advancing field, I'm sure you can find your special niche where you belong. Oh, and go to Drexel, I'm already accepted.

And Drexel is where? What's the full name of the school?

Drexel University. You need damn good grades to get in, although they've lowered their standards slightly recently. Their main campus is near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but there are other campuses. Google it.

My mother got her Masters Degree at Drexel. It's in Philadelphia between U Penn and the Railway Station. (not-so-fond memories of dragging my suitcase through Drexel through the snow...)

Savannah College of Art and Design is a good one. My sister went there before moving to NYC. Also Duke is a good school.

You can go to Harvard Summer School starting in your junior year + if you're broke-ish FAFSA and Harvard will give financial aid. You get college cred + streat cred 'cuz you can say you went to Harvard. Also it isn't far from


My sister went last year, and I intend to go next year. It would be sweet to have another ibler up there...
I'd really look into it if i were you : )

junior year of highschool, as in im 10th grade starting this year, so i can go next summer.

. As far as making you employable, which university you attend is not that important for most ppl. Yes, an Ivy League school on one's resume probably helps a little for some jobs, but not most. . Out-of-state tuition can be steep - try to find a school in your state or get a waiver. Many schools offer OOST waivers for various reasons - alumnus parent, high test scores, &c.; My daughter got a waiver because her Mom got her PhD there - saved us a LOT of money. . If you plan on starting at one school and moving to another, make sure your credits will transfer or you will end up taking (and paying for) classes twice. . Most universities have a specialty - engineering, medicine, art, &c.; Some have several. Try to find a school that caters to your field(s). If they have a good engineering program, they probably have at least a decent computer science program. If you're lucky, you can find a school that specializes in music and engineering. . . Once you enroll, the credit card companies will bombard you with offers. My daughter has been getting 1-4 per week for the last five years. Resist the urge to use these for living expenses or running up a balance of any sort. If you need a loan, go to a bank. Most universities have an office that will help you find financing for tuition/books/&c;.


10 years ago

If you are a freshman or sophomore in high school, it is not a bad idea to be thinking about colleges at this point but it should not be a major issue. You still have time, and your thoughts will probably change. A couple of other points of advice that I can give (this applies to all): 1) You do not need to know what you want to study. In fact, you probably shouldn't: part of the next 5, 6 years of your life will be taking a wide variety of classes and participating in a range of activities to figure out what you want to do. I am a college freshman now, and most of the people around me still have no idea what they want to study...and I am one of those people too. 2) Financial aid is good and getting better at most colleges. If you have top-notch grades, activities, etc. you should not be afraid to apply to any school, private or public, that you want to go to. 3) School rankings are very arbitrary. Yes, they give a general idea of schools that are considered "top tier" versus "second tier" versus "third tier" (ie "best", "next best", etc), but they need to be taken with a grain of salt.

It's good to start thinking now because what you do in high school will impact where you go or want to do later. A big decision for anyone and something that the folks need to get involved with because they are probably footing the bill.

College is expensive.
State Univeristy or private college? Associate/Bachelors/Certificate degree? Is your goal to get a masters degree right after?
Can you afford to live away in the dorm? Commuting and moving costs? Any relatives willing to host you in a different city?
Will you have any scholarships or go into huge debt with loans?
Will your grades be good enough? Prep for your SATs and essay writing for applications. Get involved with student activities or community service.
Will you have a summer job or be workinging part-time?
Is there some kind of sports or marching band you want to get in to?
Have you looked at military service to go to an academy, serve and get a college bonus or take ROTC while in college.
Etc.,etc... you don't need to reply with answers

You can go online and start requesting the college catalogs to browse through. Guidance counselors are best to ask where everyone else went to. I am sure there are forums that rate the schools and their campus/social life.

The only bit of advice I have is that you should go into something you want to do. I have seen many kids choose a school to study something because their parents said you must become an accountant or engineer. They spend a year or two figuring out it was no fun and change majors or graduate and get a job in something completely unrelated. Likewise, my nephew the hacker discovered that taking Computer Science in college was not the same as tinkering around with PCs. And his part-time job as a PC help-desk tech turned off his interest in PCs at home. But that is life. Good luck.

Thanks for all the input!

Right now, I'm looking through here, and it's proving to be pretty helpful, with costs, majors, statistics, etc.

To answer a few of your questions (yes, I'll answer them :), I'll probably start off at a community college and then head off to a 4-yr State University for a bachelor's. Depending on what I decide to major in, I may or may not want to go for a master's degree.

Regarding our current financial status, a dorm doesn't seem likely, but once we sell our house, we may be more financially stable. Are my grades good enough? I'm a high-A student, so I'm set there. Scholarships are likely, I do really good on standardized tests.

>Get involved with student activities
Like Student Council? Check. Sports, like golf? Check. Marching band? Triple-check ;]

Once again, thanks for all the help!

BTW, do you mind my asking, where did you go, what did you major in, etc?

I&apos;m a high-A student, so I&apos;m set there
You have to keep it up for three more years, which can be easier said than done, since material gets harder and distractions get more distracting". Also, you may find your interests changing as you're exposed to other things (and you SHOULD expose yourself to other things; take lots of electives!)

Harder material isn't what I'm afraid of. This year, I went two different really awful schools, academic-wise. The elementary-school type work what really what caused me to slack. I didn't do have my homework or projects because of my pride :-) and that caused my grades to drop from 95 to 70, in the worst case.

As for electives... I'm most likely switching to another school, in a different state. Or, if push comes to shove, I might be home-schooled. In my new school, I'd like to find somewhere that offers a wider range of electives. This past school that I went to was on a block schedule and I only had 4 periods each day, the same classes everyday for the whole semester. Not much room for electives.

And what do you mean by distractions??

> distractions ?
Anything that make school seem relatively less important. The usual distractions for guys are girls and cars (the latter somewhat less than historically.) But also alcohol, drugs, the social scene, money (it seems to be pretty common to be lured by the illusion of financial independence into forgetting that finishing your education is job 1.) In your case: got a band? Start getting critical acclaim, groupies, and/or paid for gigs and you can get several of those distractions rolled into one!

Don't let anyone knock ya that you are starting out at a community college. Even a trade school (auto/flight mechanics, HVAC, welders) might be right for some people. Try to pick a community college that will have transferrable credits or a program to move on to a 4-year program as an option. My niece did that and just took a year or so longer to graduate from a 4-year college from a transfer after she "found" herself.

I am a sophomore (going on junior) and I have visited the colleges that my sister has visited. I mainly have looked up north (Middlebury, Brown, Lehigh, Bucknell, and some others) In Virginia, I like the College of William and Mary, University of Richmond (I heard their campus is beautiful), UVA, Virginia Tech, and some other decent colleges in Virginia. Keep your grades up, stay involved, and you can even take virtual tours of colleges from their site.

My aunt got her Masters at William and Mary. It was a great school back in the day.

I still have no idea what I want to study......I've planned that I want it to have to do with computers.....that's as far as Ive gotten....