Students: prepare to get the most out of Private College Week

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Everyone is invited to visit any of our 24 campuses throughout the state. During Wisconsin’s Private College Week, each college and university organizes its own events including informational sessions, financial aid Q&As, meet-and-greet events with currents students, and sit-down conversations with professors. It’s an amazing opportunity to jump-start the college selection process as a rising senior or junior. Register for your spot to visit July 11 – 16, 2016, and read on to get the most out of your visit.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the collaborative event, and it seems each year is better than the last. The enthusiastic curiosity brought by visiting students, like you, is invigorating while the patient warmth, knowledge, and pride shared by the members of each academic community is truly gratifying. We know you will fall in love with something special during Private College Week (#WIpcw16), and you will know you’ve found your fit.

It does take more than a gut feeling, however, to make a conscientious college decision. You need real information about each school and you need to be able to apply that information to your goals, your personality, and your aptitudes. Towards the goal of ensuring your experience during Private College Week is as valuable as possible, may we recommend you spend time preparing in the following ways, prior to July.

Conduct a self-assessment.

In the coming months, a lot of your time and attention will be spent assessing different colleges. Essentially you will judge each academic institution on how it looks, how it feels, how the students interact, how tasty the food is, who the professors are, and, of course, its reputation. However, a crucial first step in using these assessments to guide your decision is to first assess yourself and what assets you truly need to thrive in an academic community. Don’t worry if you can’t answer every question. This activity is meant to get you deep into self-discovery, part of which is determining what you don’t yet know and what you should ask about during your visits. Grab your laptop, tablet, or journal and answer the following questions:

  1. Under what circumstances do you learn best? (Lecture, small group, interactive, experiential/hands-on, etc.)
  2. How do you socialize? Do you like big groups or small groups of friends? Are you vocal or more reserved?
  3. What do you do to recharge your batteries? (Something physical, something academic, something social, something solitary?)
  4. What types of extracurricular activities do you think you’ll want to pursue as an undergraduate?
  5. What type of relationships do you want with professors and counselors? (Personal or more distanced?)
  6. What course of study appeals to you as an undergraduate? Why? Will it require mentorship and/or graduate school? If you’re not sure yet, think about general areas you’re interested in such as public service or technology.
  7. Are there specific cultural values you would like your college to promote? Is it important that you attend a religious or secular institution?
  8. How much does location matter to you? (Urban, rural, a few hours from family, a long plane ride away?)
  9. When you close your eyes and imagine your ideal college, what does it look like? What does it feel like? What descriptors come to mind?
  10. Has anything else come to mind during this activity, which you would deem important?

Hone your self-assessment by sharing with your family and friends.  

Whether or not you realize it, a supportive team surrounds you: family, close friends, guidance counselors, teachers, and coaches. These individuals are valuable, not only to share their college experiences and thoughts with you, but also to help you think through your self-assessment. Remember, this is not about judgment. This activity is not about what you are good at and where you struggle, it’s about getting closer to the essence of who you are and what makes you a unique individual so you can find your best college fit.

The people who know you best will not only be honored that you share this activity with them, but they will likely have some valuable insight about what makes you tick and what environments in which you thrive. Take their advice into consideration, but remember that the ultimate decision is yours.

Get comfortable with your self-assessment.

Embrace yourself for who you are. You are truly unique, by design. ACT/SAT scores, grades, talents, family situations, and economic realities will never define who you are. They are only details of a life experience that is just about to get a lot more dependent upon your personal choices. Beginning the college selection process from a place of honest self-assessment will not only empower you to make the best decision for your future, but will anchor you with confidence as you embark on this next chapter. Keep that knowledge in the back of your mind as you seek a college that wants you as much as you want them.

We look forward to meeting you this July. Bring your self-assessment notes, a journal or tablet to make new college assessment notes, and an excitement for all that’s about to come.

Register for your spot today.

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