The process of narrowing your college choice down to one school can seem like an overwhelming task. However, I’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a list of five important things to consider when you choose the school of your dreams.
Here’s how WSU stacks up against some of the other colleges that might be on your list.
1. Campus Size: Goldilocks Style
One of the first questions students should ask themselves when picking a college to attend is, What size school am I comfortable with?
For students looking for somewhere with an academic class size between a small university and a large school, WSU is the perfect place to be. Currently, a little under 10,000 students attend WSU. This means you’ll meet tons of new people from many different backgrounds and you’ll easily find your own community of friends—which is something most new students are most nervous about! Another perk: you’re less likely to get lost in a sea of students as you would at much larger universities with over 35,000 students in attendance, such as the University of Minnesota.
2. Location, Location, Location
Another important question you may have is, How far away from home am I willing to study? For some students that might mean traveling a great distance, while others might feel better staying close to home.
If WSU checks all the boxes on your wish list, but you are concerned about being too far away from home, don’t worry. I can assure you that WSU does a tremendous job of helping students flourish and create a home away from home.
Some ways WSU provides a homey environment is through the small-town atmosphere, the beauty of the bluffs and the river—which allow for tons of outdoor adventure opportunities—and campus and community activities that allow students to hang out together.
3. First-Year Housing Options
Living in the dorms your freshman year is not only a significant part of narrowing down your college choice, but also it plays a huge role in creating a home at college.
At WSU, we’ve got traditional and suit-style residence halls on Main Campus including the Quad, Prentiss-Lucas, Sheehan, and Haake. The Quad itself contains four interconnected buildings: Conway, Richards and Morey-Shepard.
While most rooms on West Campus are singles, Main Campus provides options if you want to live in single, double or even suite-style rooms. If you are looking to be in the middle of the action and close to your classes, Main Campus will best fit your needs. Likewise, if you prefer a quieter atmosphere and want a separation between school and home, then West Campus is the way to go.
One feature that is found on both Main Campus and West Campus is Residential Learning Communities. Each residence hall has one to two RLCs, totaling to 12, which allow students to make connections with faculty members and other students who share similar interests. RLCs also provide students with opportunities to further develop and grow as individuals, whether that be through physical health, community service or professional networking—there’s something for everyone!
Want to take a virtual tour of your housing options before seeing them in person? We’ve got you covered. Immerse yourself in an episode of House Hunters: WSU Edition and find your next dorm sweet dorm.
4. Ways to Get Involved
Looking at the clubs and involvement opportunities on campus is an additional way of narrowing down your choice for a particular college. This is an important factor to consider because while school is important, your social life is, too. You’ll want to find a place where you can not only see yourself having fun, but also where you can image making friends.
At WSU there are over 200 clubs and organizations that appeal to a wide variety of students, including:
- Academic—these primarily relate to specific areas of study.
- Campus—these are groups that serve the university and the students in a positive way.
- Diversity—these are inclusive to different worldly cultures.
- Faith-based—these allow students to easily practice their faith, since there are several churches and a mosque located near campus, as well as grow in fellowship alongside others of a similar faith.
- Greek life—these are groups that instantly provide students a close-knit community and role models to look up to.
- Honorary societies—these promote academic excellence on campus, as well as in specific study fields.
- Special interests—these are inclusive to many different passions, from writing to debating to volunteering.
- Sports—these promote physical activity for all the busy bees looking to relieve some energy.
Becoming an active member on campus is a great way to make friends who have similar interests as you. Also, if you feel there is an organization missing from campus, you are welcome to create your own club!
5. Financial Aid Opportunities
College is a hefty investment, so financial aid is an important aspect of choosing a college. Looking at the cost of college is extremely important for each student, regardless if they are paying for it themselves or are relying on scholarships or student loans.
WSU provides 94% of first-year students with some type of financial aid. There are several types of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, loans, and even student employment through work study.
Additionally, all admitted students can apply to WSU Foundation scholarships—which are specific to WSU—each year.
So, there you have it. These five aspects should help you narrow down your college options. In the end, choose the school that you feel most confident about. For me, I knew WSU was my home for the next four years the minute I arrived. I could tell that the university was going to challenge and motivate my academic learning in an area with beautiful scenery. After wrapping up my first year, I have realized that Winona went above and beyond my expectations. It has provided me with lifelong friendships, various ways to connect with people in groups of similar interests, and multiple opportunities for me to grow as an individual.