May is upon us, and it’s the end of our school year here at Gannon. We decided to do things a little differently for our final College Search 101. We thought the bulleted list was nice, but that it would be even better to get some first-hand opinions from our editorial board about the most important aspects of searching for a college. Who better to dish out some handy advice than the people who were in your exact shoes not too long ago? We’re all happy at Gannon, and want to help you find a place that’s just as good for you as Gannon is for us (sure, we hope you pick Gannon too, but we’re here for the bigger picture).

Nicole Dohoda, editor-in-chief, senior theatre & communication arts major
The most important part of searching for a college is finding a place where you feel comfortable. It’s true that students flourish when they’re in an environment that feels like home, so your college choice should reflect that. To find a place that will be your safe haven for learning, you have to visit each school you’re looking at. There are certain things that just don’t come across in a pamphlet or brochure. A school could look great on paper but be a terrible fit for you when you actually set foot on campus. Don’t let your first day of classes be the first time you see your school – you may be in for a horrible surprise. Visit early (and often if you can), and find out if the campus is a place you want to call home.

Chelsey Klube, copy editor, senior English major
Find a school where you can picture yourself. Don’t forget that college lasts four years for most people — if you visit a campus and aren’t in love with it, that school probably isn’t for you. And that’s what college should be all about…you. This is your time to figure out what you want to do with your life and for you to focus on your education. Don’t ever feel like you’re locked in to anything –  a school, a major, a club, etc. And use the resources available to you. It might seem intimidating to call an enrollment advisor at a college you’re looking at, but after working in the Office of Admissions, I KNOW that they love helping you out and answering your questions. The most important thing, though, is just to go where you feel you’ll be the happiest.

Tyler Babcock, assignment editor, junior nursing major
Personally the most important aspect of my college search was exploring the opportunities that were offered to students. Not only did Gannon have a great nursing program, but it was also possible for students to get involved outside of their major, such as my current involvement at Edge. My advice to you is to explore areas other than academics. Look into clubs and activities and explore if they have something you would like to get involved in. Extra-curriculars are a great way to make new friends as well as to develop your time management and leadership skills. Also look into what may be available in the area for things such as internships and co-op opportunities. The best thing that I can say is once you find that fit you will know. And if you are having troubles deciding between two, flip a coin, because the minute that the coin is hits the air you will know which one you really want.

Carly Lyons, photo/ social media editor, senior communication arts major
I transferred to Gannon my sophomore year, so I feel that I went through the college search process twice. For me, the most important part of the search process was finding somewhere that made me happy, finding somewhere that I knew I could call home. Although it might be both exciting and intimidating at the same time, one of the most helpful things for me was actually visiting the school and taking in everything on the tour. Did I feel like this was a place where I could fit in? What were the people like? Did the school offer the major I was interested in? Could I picture myself being here for the next four years of my life? It’s hard to explain what that ‘home’ feeling is like, but when I visited Gannon, I walked away feeling like I had found home.

Joe Kreydt, video editor, senior communication arts major
It’s all about the people for me. When you visit colleges, be aware of the employees and students. Choose the school that has the people you would fit in with. Ask yourself questions like, “Would I prefer a registrar’s office that strictly helps me with scheduling, or would I prefer a registrar’s office that helps me with scheduling and asks me how I’m doing?” and, “Do I want friends who will challenge me academically, or do I want friends who will make sure I smile everyday?” I think the most important thing is finding the community that best fits you.

Sarah Sgro, assistant photo editor, freshman French/ international studies: business major
When you’re making your first college list, don’t be afraid to list a lot of schools. You have to look at a lot of things before you decide where you’re going to spend the next four years of your life. You want as many options as you can to find the best fit for you. That being said, don’t worry about applying to all of them. Apply to the ones that you really like and forget about the rest. Make your decisions based on what you know you need in a school and on campus, not on what your parents or friends think you need. You’ll be able to make the best decision for yourself and your future.

Stuff you might also like: Read how our blogger David Kramer decided to come to Gannon.