Your top 10 questions about college, answered.
1) How much will I study in college?
Being a college student is a full-time job. Expect to study two to three hours for every hour you spend in class, so about 30 – 45 hours a week if you take 15 credit hours.
If that sounds overwhelming, consider this: College gives you more control over what you study, so you'll be learning about things you really love. Plus, you don't have to go it alone. Grab a friend and head to the library or review lecture notes on your laptop at your favorite coffee shop.
2) How will I pick a major?
It's totally fine if you aren't already sure what you want to study—a big part of college is exploration, so it's important to choose a place that lets you stretch the possibilities. Larger universities offer the most flexibility in what you can study. For example, SLU offers nearly 100 undergraduate degrees, which can be customized with certificates and minors to create an education totally unique to you and your interests.
3) What is it like to live in a college dorm room?
Dorms get a bad rap sometimes, but when you think about it, it's actually a pretty good living situation. It's your first time "on your own," but you're surrounded by new friends and support from residence advisors (RAs).
Residence halls come in all shapes and sizes. You might live with one other person in a room that shares a floor-wide communal space, but more and more dorms are moving to apartment-style living. Find out about the housing options at SLU or plan your dorm room on Pinterest.
4) Can I drive?
It depends on the school you attend. At SLU, first-year students can bring their cars and park on campus on a first-come, first-served basis. But current students often recommend freshmen wait a bit before bringing their cars.
College campuses are self-contained, and much of what you want to do will either be on campus or nearby (explore what there is to do in St. Louis). Plus, public transportation options make it very easy to get around for all four years with just a bike or your feet.
5) Should I go Greek?
Depending on the college you choose, this could be a defining question for you. Some things to keep in mind are the time involved, the mission or purpose behind the group you are interested in joining and the type of extracurricular activities on which they focus.
While fraternities and sororities can be social, many are career- or service- oriented. At SLU, 15 percent of undergraduate students go Greek. No matter what you choose to do, college offers plenty of opportunities for making friends and forming lifelong bonds either in or out of a formal group.
6) Am I going to gain weight?
Ah, the freshman 15. College can be hard on your health. You have less time, you're more stressed, and your cooking skills begin and end at ramen noodles and cookie dough from a tube. Luckily, there are plenty of options to stay healthy. Hitting the gym is a guaranteed way to help you keep up your energy and keep off those pounds and at SLU, a membership there is part of your student fees.
Campus food is getting healthier too. At SLU, dining services offers vegan and vegetarian choices, along with organic milk and free-range meats whenever possible. Fresh Gatherings Café at the medical center serves up dishes like black bean and quinoa burgers with jicama apple slaw, and also offers a market selling locally raised produce.
7) How far should I go from home?
Your parents probably have a lot of say in this decision, and rightly so! There are benefits to being close to your friends and family, especially during the first year you are on your own, while heading out into the world can help you build your independence and focus on your studies (Plus, there is always Skype!).
The bottom line is that you should choose the best college for you. Focus on finding that first. Before long, you might be defining home in an entirely new way.
8) How am I going to afford this?
College costs can add up, there's no doubt. Before you put lottery tickets on the shopping list though, remember that there is a lot of financial aid available. In fact, at SLU 97 percent of first-time freshmen receive help with tuition, with more than $333 million awarded in scholarships and financial aid in 2014.
Check out the Presidential Scholarship, a four-year, full-tuition award SLU offers to exceptional students. Find out more about financial aid, talk to your family about what you can afford and make a plan.
9) What's life like on campus?
Classes and grades are a big part of your university experience, but they aren't the only ways you grow when you're in college. The organizations, sports and cultural experiences offered on and near campus will be a big part of your life.
SLU offers over 200 campus organizations and activities, including plenty of opportunities to volunteer, participate in team or club sports, or sing your heart out in a cappella groups, while St. Louis' cultural heart is steps away, offering the symphony, theater shows, art and great eats.
10) Should I pick a party school?
Not to sound like your mom here, but that depends on what you want at the end of four years. You get one chance at an undergraduate experience. A school that focuses on academics and you as a person is going to leave you in a better position, period.
Need proof? Ask recent grads: 96 percent of 2013 SLU graduates are satisfied in their careers or graduate studies. That's not to say SLU students don't have fun. Billikens After Dark offers peer-pressure-free street parties, while NCAA Division I teams keep excitement high and Chaifetz Arena rocks the student body.
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- Quiz: College Majors
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