From campus clubs to the people in your classes, there are lots of different ways to think about college diversity. When searching for potential colleges, I tend to look to see how diverse they are in these four areas.
Campus clubs and activities
Have you ever found comfort in knowing something is there even though you don’t necessarily need or even use it? This is how I feel when it comes to college clubs and organizations.
When visiting a college’s website, I tend to check out what they offer in terms of clubs. Seeing such a diverse selection actually comforts me. In my eyes, it shows that this college is accepting of all people, whether they be environmentalists, animal lovers, aspiring doctors, devoted writers—the lists goes on. It also shows that the learning continues beyond classroom hours.
Once I finish reading about the clubs and the activities available at the college or university, I try to see how easy it is to start my own club. It is possible that there may not be an existing club focusing on an interest of mine. However, it is important to me that I have the ability to start my own club even if it may be different than the others, weirder than the others, or crazier than the others. I want to know that I can add to the diversity of the college I attend and that my own diversity will be embraced rather than shut down.
You probably already know that your classmates affect your school experience, for good or bad. The last thing I personally want is to attend a college where everyone is the same, a school that’s all this or all that. I want to attend a college or university where I can meet different people of various backgrounds. This is important to me because I have seen how valuable it is to have relationships with people from different classes, countries, ethnicity, and more. Simply knowing that I could meet someone new on campus from a new place serves as a motivation for me to be part of campus life and expose myself to it. Also, it is great practice for the real world because there you will be exposed to all kinds of people, and you will be expected to know how to interact and work with them.
How many times have you been asked, How do you learn best? And when it comes to the college search, I’m looking for diverse ways of teaching too. As a junior in high school, I have been exposed to different styles, methods, and approaches to teaching. Some were great, and some were horrible, but I have always appreciated teachers who take the time to use various teaching styles to support their students. In reality, how I learn might not be how my classmate Sally learns, and how we both learn might be a stark contrast from how Liam learns!
There are colleges that stick with the traditional lectures and books, but from my college search so far there are also colleges that are open to a variety of teaching and learning methods, which they incorporate into the classroom. I have always been told that in college you are going to be an “adult” who needs to “figure things out” on your own. As true as that is, it’s also important to me to find a college that helps me make that transition. By being exposed to varying teaching methods, I will learn how I learn best, as well as what learning methods are my weakness. Knowing your weak areas may be troubling at first (especially if you think you are supposed to be good at everything) but it really is an opportunity for you to grow as an individual.
Many of my classmates already know where they are going to college and what they want to major in. Then there are students like me who do not know where to go to college or what to major in. I have been advised by several people to concentrate on picking a college, go in undecided, try a few different classes then pick a major based on what I enjoyed doing in the classes I took. That advice has been somewhat helpful, but what if do discover what I want to major in based on the classes I took only to discover that the college I attend does not offer that specific major? What do I do then?
If you find yourself stuck in such a situation, things could get messy quickly. Sure, you can transfer to another college that offers your desired major or look for ways to design your own major. But you can potentially avoid these complications by attending a college that offers a range of majors, especially if you are undecided. Once you finally do make a decision, you want to know your school offers the major you are looking for.
To me college diversity means that each day I come to campus for class or downtime, I will be exposed to something new. It means being constantly exposed to something different or unexpected. It may be a new person or it may be a new club. But I am motivated by the thought of finding something different from yesterday that will encourage me to not only attend the college but to be part of it and what it stands for.