More Than Just BBQ: Picking the Right College in the South
The South is charming and can enchant any person of any age, so if you are considering spending your collegiate years in this part of America, chances are you’re not alone. However, picking the appropriate university for yourself should consist of more than just which amazing BBQ restaurants are in the vicinity. You should approach your Southern university selection the same way you would any other region of the country: by prioritizing course offerings, tuition cost and professional opportunities. Creating a list of options for yourself exclusive to this region will ensure that you get the best educational experience in a location you prefer.
Realizing your dream of attending a Southern university can come with more financial obligations than other colleges might. For example, if you plan to attend a school in a state that you do not have established residency in, out of state tuition can tack on a significant amount of money to the total cost of attendance. Understanding these additional costs will help you navigate the student loan process as well. You can take out student loans from a private lender in order to pay for your education, so understanding what size loan you will require ahead of time is imperative. Here is where research will also come in handy.
Being able to compare tuition rates across several colleges to hopefully have as little student debt as possible is a great perk of being open to different schools within your region of choice. Have open discussions with the customer service teams in place at your preferred lender offices as they will help direct your research and present options for you with their background of expertise in the area. Using the internet for broad searching is a wonderful tool, but when the time comes to make some commitments, you may feel more comfortable having human interaction surrounding the process and experience.
Think Outside the Classroom
Once you have narrowed down your list based on the high-priority items like course offerings and tuition rates, gear your search toward the lifestyle elements that will accompany your college of choice. Things like surrounding communities, proximity to your hometown and overall personality of the campus are all important too. Think about what kinds of activities you are hoping to engage in outside the classroom and evaluate if the local scene supports those activities. Do you want a college with a big emphasis on sports? If you choose Louisiana State University, Florida State or the University of Alabama, you could be tailgating and attending football games each weekend.
Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, has a RiverPark Campus where you can go whitewater rafting on the Chattahoochee River. The further north you go into the South, you’ll get more mountains and opportunities for camping and hiking, while you’ll find beaches along the coast of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and up into North Carolina and Virginia.
Elements like weather and climate should be taken into consideration, especially if the South is a great distance from where you will be coming from. It’s likely that you’ll need to prepare for a warmer, more humid climate.
You cannot fully know what you will and will not love, but being as prepared as possible and having a solid knowledge base can make a real difference. Also, give yourself some time to get your mind adjusted to the social differences that might accompany attending college in the South. Think about whatever drew you to the South in the first place and branch out from there. You will have an opportunity to learn so much outside of the classroom if you go into it with an open mind and a strong desire to quench your thirst for new experiences.