Choosing a College

Choosing a College

In the U.S. there are hundreds of colleges to choose from, so how does one exactly pick a college to attend? Below are tips for choosing the college of your dreams if you are unsure of where to begin. 

Location, Location, Location

Narrow your list by geographical location. Do you want to study in a vibrant city such as New York or in America’s college town Boston? Are you looking for a change of scenery? Maybe you want to study abroad or on a different coast. Don’t choose a college in a region you would not enjoy living in. If you feel more comfortable in a country or nature atmosphere, it might not be best to apply to campuses within urban environments. Is it important for you to have a car on campus? Do you need restaurants, shopping, or entertainment nearby to thrive? Picture that University all four seasons of the year: don’t choose a college in Florida if you hate the heat or up in Maine if you dislike winter! Students may also want to think about potential job opportunities or internships in the location of their college as well for during their studies and after graduation. 

Majors and Degrees offered

Make sure the college you select offers the degree and major you want to pursue. It doesn’t make sense to choose a school that does not offer your discipline. Think about if you want to get a Bachelor’s degree in four years, or if you are better off focusing on an Associate’s degree with a two-year commitment right now. Some colleges now offer dual majors, major and minor combinations, or joint programs such as a 5-year program that includes a Master’s degree.

Financials to consider

When you’ve selected your school by location, keep in mind your travel costs each semester. Will you need to fly by airplane to go home each semester or for holidays? This may also be costly for family members to visit as well. Do you anticipate working on campus? If so, make sure to ask Admissions if there are work-study or campus employment options for students. Some colleges may or may not take outside scholarships in addition to FASFA, for example from their local church, boy scouts, or by submitting for an essay contest. Colleges can be expensive to apply to, some may have fees that range from above $200 and some fees may be waived. Realistically how many schools can you apply to? Tuition will range from private colleges, state-funded universities, and community colleges. The majority of students and families today are choosing colleges based on financial preferences. Are you willing to take out loans as an investment for your college? Or do you prefer to stay in-state to cut down on tuition and travel costs? Calculate the cost of living in the dorms vs. off-campus. Will you need roommates? How much will utilities cost?

How do I fit in

It’s important for students to feel safe and comfortable on campus. Make sure to walk around the campus to get the vibe of the campus. Would you fit in? Explore the campus at different times. Do you feel comfortable walking from class to the dorms at night? Are there social activities you can be a part of? Research clubs and organizations that interest you, does the college have a school newspaper or radio station? Are they open to students starting new clubs on campus? Do you prefer a campus with 50,000 students and Greek life or would feel more at ease with a small liberal arts school with under 5,000 students? Try eating in the cafeteria on campus, seeing a performance at the school, or visiting the college library to get a feel for the type of students you’ll be studying with. 

Students need to take time to visit campuses in person. Word of mouth and simply looking at an institution online may not necessarily depict an accurate representation of the college. When visiting a school, students can typically tell right away if they picture themselves at that campus for four years or not so much. It is a gut instinct! Students are also encouraged to research and connect with faculty, alumni, or current students to learn about their intended major, course requirements, and residential life before their studies begin. 

Looking for a college? Search the CS Music University Directory here.

Elizabeth Allen Turner

A Soprano originally from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Dr. Elizabeth Allen Turner is an accomplished performer who has captivated audiences across the globe. Trained in classical, jazz, musical theatre, and contemporary styles. Elizabeth’s warm voice, playful attitude, and vibrant inner beauty come alive on the stage, screen, and in the studio. Elizabeth earned her degrees in Vocal Performance from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (B.M.) and in Contemporary Performance and Production from Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain (M.M.). Most recently Elizabeth completed her Doctorate in Educational leadership and Innovation (Ed.D.) at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida where she serves as the Director of Vocal Arts and resides with her Swiss Husband, composer/arranger/copyist/pianist Andreas Häberlin. In her spare time, she enjoys cantoring for masses at the Chapel of St. Anthony. Elizabeth has previously worked for Concord Music Publishing in NYC as Licensing Coordinator for Boosey & Hawkes (Live Performance, Radio, TV/Film).