Applying for college is a big step in life whether the applicant is a traditional student fresh from high school graduation or a nontraditional student who is returning after being away from education for a few years.
Either way, most soon-to-be students begin their college search with campus visits.
Newman University hosts a special day for those who are interested in continuing their higher education — Preview Day offers potential students a chance to visit the campus, ask questions and to find out where they might fit in.
Finding the right college fit
When searching for a college, finding the right fit is a priority to many. Universities come in all shapes and sizes and making sure there is a strong connection both academically and personally is essential to the search process.
Academically, students should look for course work and professors that pique one’s intellectual curiosity and are relevant to the major the student has in mind. Although there is nothing wrong with entering a college career with an undecided major, the learning and connecting process may go faster when the student has an idea of what they want their future career field to be.
Newman University partners with MyMajors to help in that decision process.
Cammie Kennedy, director of undergraduate admissions at Newman, said, “I think it’s important for students to visit the MyMajors site and go through that survey. If they do this fun little survey, it can help put them on the right path. We at Newman can put them in the right degree program. It’s really about finding that match for the future.”
Knowing what classes a university offers, and in what degree programs, is a large part of the college search.
Academics are of high importance, but seeking out a social connection during the college years comes in at a close second, and there are a variety of ways to get and stay connected with peers on a college campus.
Campus clubs, student government, on-campus living and attending athletic and fine arts events are all great ways to create an engaging collegiate experience. Athletic programs can be a big pull for a student looking for the right college fit.
For high school senior Felicia Georgiou, playing collegiate sports is extremely important. Georgiou attended Newman’s Preview Day on Nov. 3 to see if Newman could be the right fit for her both academically and personally. She had already met with the soccer coach on a previous visit, so attending Preview Day was an extension of her search process.
“I’ve been looking to play soccer, and had been looking at smaller colleges when I found Newman,” explained Georgiou. “What’s important for me academically is a good premed program and soccer program, too. I knew at the beginning of high school that I’d want to go to college, but when I decided to play collegiate sports, some of the things I was looking for changed.”
Applying for financial aid and finding out what financial assistance is available can be eye-opening for most. Many college searchers think they cannot afford to attend certain universities even if they feel it is the perfect fit for them.
However, attending a private university can be just as affordable or even more so after the help of financial aid.
During Newman University’s Nov. 3 Preview Day, potential students were given the opportunity to attend a session specifically designed to learn all about financial aid and filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
“The benefit of applying for the FAFSA,” said Bonnie Saucedo, financial aid assistant with Newman, “is to ensure that the student has explored all funding options available.”
By filling out the FAFSA, students increase their chances of being awarded supplemental financial aid packages that help lessen the overall cost of higher education. Some packages may include grants, scholarships, loans and work-study programs.
In the end, finding the right fit with a higher education institution and combining the search with proper financial aid knowledge will pay off for those seeking a higher education career.
Georgia Drewes, Newman associate director of admissions for recruitment, said college recruiters are looking for students who want to stay through the length of their college education career. She added that staying in contact and building trust between the potential student and the college admissions team is an important step in helping students find the right fit for them.
“We’ve had a lot of current students tell us what it means to them to have one-on-one relationships with the faculty here at Newman, so we keep that in mind when we are talking with students looking at Newman,” said Drewes. “Professor (Cheryl) Golden does a really good job conveying to potential students that the professors at Newman are serious about education and are very interested in their students.
“We want students to find a college where they feel comfortable — find their niche — and there is something here that appeals to them and makes them want to stick around. Ultimately, we’re not recruiting freshmen — we are recruiting graduates.”