I can remember the long drive from Nashville to Knoxville at the beginning of September—the journey was speckled with orange everywhere you looked. And it wasn’t from the changing leaves of the fall. It was the Volunteers fans caravanning across the state or getting into spirit for the start of University of Tennessee’s (UT) football season. As you walked past the students celebrating in front of fraternity and sorority houses, you could be expected to join the masses in belting out the words to “Rocky Top” at any given moment. The second you stepped foot onto that campus, you felt like you were part of something spectacular.
Where do you see yourself?
Take a moment to imagine yourself on a college campus. Are you practicing the “Bama Rush” TikTok dances and getting your jersey ready for the college football season? Do you see yourself on a quiet campus, spending your weekends chatting with classmates in a quaint café? Or perhaps, stepping off your college campus right into the center of a large, bustling city, filled with cultural attractions and top restaurants? When you research colleges, here are some key things to consider when deciding what type of campus culture is the right fit for you:
- Are you interested in joining a fraternity or sorority?
- How important are social events to you?
- Do you have a college team that you follow?
- Do you enjoy attending live sporting events?
- Are you energized by large groups of people, or do you prefer to stay away from crowds?
- Do the arts interest you or could you see yourself attending poetry readings, art exhibitions, or local concerts?
- Is there a sport or activity you participate in that may only be available in certain regions, such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing, horseback riding, hiking, or rock climbing?
Find your place.
To me, the camaraderie in Tennessee and the spirit of the student population were captivating. As the kid of a UT alum, I imagined myself going somewhere similar—except, I didn’t. The beach is where I felt at home, so I chose to enroll in a small school located atop the cliffs overlooking one of San Diego’s most beautiful beaches. Named a top surf college by Surfer Magazine, this university was not known for its sports, Greek life, or school spirit. In fact, it had a very quiet, calm energy that meshed perfectly with its surf culture. And at the time, this was the right choice for me.
Your answers to the questions above can help you determine the kind of campus culture you want to experience, as well as what kind of setting you see yourself being in. So, as you compare the degree programs, courses, and tuition and fees, take time to consider what type of campus is the right fit for you. Doing so will likely put you in a school amongst like-minded individuals, giving you the chance to truly enjoy every aspect of your college experience.
For more resources and information on preparing for college, visit the K12 College Prep Center.