As an Oshkosh High School Senior photographer, many of the seniors who come to me aren’t totally sure about which college they want to attend. I love talking to seniors about this decision because I had a crazy experience not just choosing my college, but also deciding to continue my education there. There was only one Wisconsin University I applied to, the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. It was one of the only few schools that offered Sports Broadcasting. I applied to ASU and BSU and actually got into both, but didn’t receive enough financial aid to cover the costs of out of state tuition. So all that was left was UW – La Crosse. And I’m honestly so happy I went there, even though I almost transferred after my first semester haha. My point is, it’s a difficult decision but don’t be afraid to just go with it.
Choosing the right college can be nerve wracking. There are so many questions and plenty of things to take into consideration. Do they have a program that fits your education goals? What’s the culture like on campus? Do they offer help for career planning? What does tuition cost and do they offer financial aid? I understand the weight of choosing a university because this is your future you’re talking about. So let’s break down some quick facts about some of the best universities in Wisconsin and I’ve got some helpful tips to help you decide which University is right for you.
The list below is to help you get started on your research about Wisconsin Universities. But once you feel you know which colleges you would like to consider, there are a few things I would suggest you do to help you decide which ones are right for you.
First, conduct your own research about the school. Browse their website and read into information about their student programs, life on campus, tutors, etc. Do they have everything you need? Look at what is required of the degree you are wanting. And if you don’t know what degree you would like, don’t worry. It’s super common to not know what you want and be an undecided major.
Second, I would schedule a tour on campus. Some people say that you “get a feeling” when you walk onto the right campus. I toured four or five campuses, and I didn’t feel a dang thing haha. So don’t let that be your deciding factor. The tours on campus are super helpful and can provide you with a lot of insight about each building, the academic programs, life on campus and all the things you should know. Often times the tour guides are students themselves and so you will get a unique and super insightful perspective.
Next, I would suggest to reach out to the head of the academic program you’re wanting to pursue. Set up an appointment to chat with them in person the same day as your tour. And if you are undecided, I would talk someone in career services or see if you can chat with an academic advisor. I spoke with a few advisors after touring universities in Wisconsin and asked them questions about my program. Questions like what kinds of classes could I expect, what do students love most about the program, etc. It helped me decide on a college quickly, because some of them had stated that my program was fading. So I obviously didn’t want to goto that university then.
Finally, I would also wander around the city surrounding the university. After the first year, most students move off campus and so I would look at the housing available while driving around. Explore the downtown area, look for pharmacies, check for a Target or Walmart, search for a grocery store, and all the things you need. Because this is where you’re going to live, so you have to like the vibe from the surrounding city. Does it fit you and your lifestyle?
There are 85 colleges and universities in Wisconsin. All of them are great institutions and choosing the right one comes down to your needs.
I also want you to understand that even if you choose a college, your answer isn’t set in stone. If after a semester you decide that you hate it, you can transfer to another college. You aren’t stuck there. However, give the school and yourself a chance too. Like I said, I wanted to transfer after my first semester because I moved far away from home and things seemed difficult. I even sent in my application to another school, but I decided to give my college another shot. And it was the best decision I ever made. You’ll know the right answer, just trust your gut.