Incoming college freshman Lorenz felt like half of his dream was fulfilled when he got the University of the Philippines admission results -- he got accepted for his second-choice course.
Now, Lorenz has to confront the fresh high school graduate's happy problem of sorts, choose where to enroll and which course among the so-called "Big Four" universities where he passed the admission requirements.
“When I learned that I didn’t pass my first choice, I was disappointed. I am still on the fence between DLSU and UP, as they were the only ones offering BS Economics from the Big 4. I also didn’t accept the offers from the other two schools,” Lorenz, who got admitted to UP Diliman’s BS Applied Physics program told reportr.
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The choice was practical for fellow "Big Four" passer Christian, who chose Ateneo de Manila over UP Diliman because of the full scholarship.
“I am still worried about how I will adjust from high school to college because of the new and unpredictable environment. I am also worried about how to adjust to the hustle and bustle of city life in Quezon City since I am from the province,” 17-year-old Christian told reportr.
After hurdling admissions, incoming freshmen must make the potentially life-altering decision of where to study, which will determine their future career path.
“Choosing a college is more than just choosing the right campus or course offerings. It’s also about discovering which environment and culture suit your personality and preferences the best, wherein you can develop and grow more in being competent, skilled, and more confident in facing life,” Beverly Denice Ongson, a psychologist and professional life coach at Dear Future Self PH, told reportr.
How to choose a university
While each university has its own offerings, picking the right school that best suits your chosen career path is one of the surest ways to land your dream job after graduation, life and career coach Pat Mallari said.
“Choosing the right school is like a ticket to the next stage that you'll be in, the next train that you'll be in after college. The ticket that will show up in your resume,” Mallari told reportr.
Incoming freshmen should look at the success rate of the school's alumni and whether they would be able to develop critical thinking and analysis there, Mallari said.
“Yung research component ng school is very important because that shows you yung critical thinking and analysis which you will learn along the way, and how they push forward boundaries with the industry or function that you want to pursue,” she said.
Senior high school student Althea considered the high passing rate of UP Diliman’s Chemical Engineering program when she decided to be an Iskolar ng Bayan. She also passed similar degree programs in ADMU, DLSU, and UST.
“I know that UP offers quality education and unparalleled experience to students under my priority program. Their 100% passing rate in the current Chemical Engineer Licensure Examination speaks for itself,” she told reportr.
Aside from the location of the school and tuition costs, students must also consider the community’s values, mental health initiatives, type of learning, religious perspective, and regulations against bullying, harassment, among others, said psychologist Ongson.
How to prepare for college life
Going to college can be daunting, especially if the student will be coming from the province and will be living alone for the first time. For those who are in a similar situation, Mallari and Ongson gave the following tips.
Build a support system
As most universities are in the cities, many students feel concerned about going away from home and living in a different environment. In this case, they should have a strong support system from their family, relatives who may be living in the city, and their friends.
“Coming from the province, meron bang mga kamag-anak who you can go to if, for example, may nasira sa tinitirahan mo, or may pupunta ka pero di mo alam kung paano? That support system can also give you kind of assurance,” Mallari said.
“Parents may also try their best to entertain questions of fear and uncertainty and address intolerable or unhealthy behaviors. Check on their children once in a while and promote a safe environment at home,” Ongson added.
Go out of your comfort zone
Part of going to college is experiencing new things and discovering what you are capable of. These help you grow and develop skills that you may need as you go to your chosen career path. So if there are opportunities for these, go for it, advised Mallari.
“If your university is opening up a junior term abroad, go ahead and take it. Don't be afraid. Really experience every facet that the university could give you,” she said.
“Enjoy also the people that you are with. Enjoy that building of relationships. Kasi yan ang makakasama mo in your journey and who knows, even after graduating,” she added.
Revisit your purpose
College can be overwhelming, as you have to contend with fellow students from different backgrounds and start being independent from your parents. When you feel like giving up, always remember why you are getting a college education in the first place, Mallari said.
“Merong ibang mga estudyante from the province, their purpose is to go back to the province and help out in their family business or put up their own. So be focused on that,” she said.
No matter where you go for college, make sure that your decision will be beneficial for you in the future.
“The decision-making part of entering college is just a practice of the many decisions that a person will make even after graduating. And so make the most out of this practice of deciding where to go,” Mallari said.