One of the objectives of attending college is that of improving communication skills. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) are generally required to take more foundational English, Literature, History, Social Studies (diverse content), Psychology, or Philosophy in writing or discussion-based courses, to address such an objective, than would be the case if pursuing a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in the same major area of study. So, those of you interested in STEM or fine/performing arts will be obliged to participate in more, or fewer complementary, indoctrination-oriented, liberal arts courses depending upon your degree.
Even in the absence of much of the meaningful information, many sources provide “rankings” of institutions, including complementary rankings with focus on particular majors (e.g., engineering, theology, music, fine arts, etc.). What is missing from all traditional college reviews and college fair presentations are vivid descriptions of the nuances of attendance, style of social interactions, the cross-cultural experiences, the overall pictures of the experience, the sociopolitical leanings and philosophical biases to be anticipated on campus, in classes, and in the surrounding communities.
Some perspectives should be quite obvious when you review a school’s website, noting the name, location/community, size, student profile data, Mission Statement, the About Us statement, the list and nature of campus clubs, and the range of funding sources of complementary scholarships offered. Or, you may observe the manner in which students present themselves on Youtube recordings of their personal spaces and social activities, noting statements about school and life in that setting. Also, see what gets shared on the diversity of alternative social media pages.
Unfortunately, increasingly more new-era, tuition-absorbing classes are being created for marketing purposes. They are self-titillating, pandering to selfie addicts, the #me-too entitled, and are directed at students with narrow knowledge bases, but a deep yearning to say “my opinions also matter”. Look at schools’ catalogs to assure that the range of qualitative courses from which you will be obliged make at least a few selections. Note that the content will reflect the personalities of staff who teach them and the students around you who pursue related majors. You should pursue settings with as much practical, conscionable substance as is possible.
You experience shared living environments, courses, pastimes, frivolous behavior, critical academic and life challenges, personal values and worldviews as you grow in your college experiences, including informal and formal education. You will revel in some experiences. You may find other aspects of college not preferred or even distasteful. However, it is extremely helpful to have a realistic expectation before starting. Most importantly, you want to know if those who you will mostly depend upon, and with whom you will be obliged to interact, your instructors and other support staff are balanced, level-headed, objective, student-sensitive professionals there to help you in any manner reasonably possible versus prideful, arrogant, idiosyncratic, even neurotic, tenured fools and self-aggrandized administrators with whom you will be obliged to suffer as part of your survival. Dig deep, or your rites of academic passage and social indoctrination will be very challenging.
Choose your college environment and obligatory indoctrination wisely. At least be prepared for an occasional disagreeable bump in the road if obliged to trade such for the benefit of scholarship funding. Your success matters.