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Jan 09 2018
by David Massart

The Pros and Cons of Attending College in the U.S.

By David Massart - Jan 09 2018
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It’s no mystery as to why most high school students all over the world are looking forward to university: parties, drama, sports, school spirit and finally being able to lead an independent life. 

However, it's in the United States that high school teens are most excited about college. This is due to the culture and reputation of college in the U.S.: your high school life leads to your college life. Moreover, the number of international students attending college in the U.S. is increasing every year! It recently peaked at over one million in 2016. But what exactly makes college in the U.S. so grandiose and so worth being excited about? In short, why should you attend an American college?

There is a lot of hype and excitement around attending college in the U.S. However, most students will simply tell you “It’s a life-changing experience,” or “It’s the best four years of your life.” In my opinion, college in the U.S. is such a great experience because it’s the bridge between a high school life and a real adult life. It has all the benefits of high school and adulthood, and you don’t really have to worry about getting a job or interacting with the real world; you can simply enjoy yourself for four years.

The best part about college in the U.S. is you can do anything you want, not only in terms of courses and education, but also in terms of the social scene. Every college has very different people and you are bound to get along with some of them. If you want to go to a party on the weekend, most, if not all, colleges will have one. If you don’t enjoy partying and would rather stay in your dorm, then that’s fine too because there will be people who feel the same way!

Moreover, most students in high school sleep at home, whereas in college, you stay with other students from campus. This can be a little weird at first, but there’s always someone you can hang out with in your dorm and you are always free to leave campus at anytime. You gain independence and freedom, but most of the responsibilities of adulthood aren’t there!

College in the U.S. is meant to be the greatest years of a person’s life and that’s why high school students in the U.S. are so excited. However, as many pros as there are for attending college in the U.S., there are also many cons. Here is a list of pros and cons of attending college in the U.S.

Pros:

1. Independence 

This is one of the great features of college in general. You can randomly decide to take a road trip on weekends or go have dinner wherever you want!

2. A Diverse Social Life

You can decide to stay in for the night or go to a party. In most universities, choosing what you do with your time is in your hands.

3. Variety of Courses

This is one of my favorites. My high school was very limited in terms of the courses I could take. But now, I can take archaeology, computer science or even health education courses! Moreover, most colleges don’t make you choose your major until sophomore year, so you have plenty of time to discover new things!

4. Live Somewhere Else

You have the choice to live in a completely different place with different people. If you live on the west coast, you could decide that you want to live in Boston. This goes hand in hand with independence. In college, you make most of your own decisions and you can live anywhere you want.

Cons:

1. Price

College in the U.S. is not cheap. This is especially true for some of the top-ranked universities in the country. Many students are left in debt after the four years in college, many need scholarships and many can’t even attend the college they want solely due to price.

2. Integration into the Real World 

College acts as the bridge between high school and real life, but it doesn’t exactly put you in real life situations. Most U.S. colleges still look over what you do and help you every step of the way. In this regard, you aren’t exactly independent. Most colleges aren’t able to mimic many of the situations that you will be having in real life. As an example, you can choose to live on campus for all four years so you don’t have most of your adult responsibilities yet.

3. Acceptance is Personality-Based 

The admissions system in the U.S. focuses a lot on personality and on essays rather than on sheer intellect. On the bright side, that is why you see people of all types of levels no matter which college you attend. College in the U.S. is quite unique and very different from university in other countries such as Canada and Switzerland.

How does one end up making this decision between an American college and a college somewhere else?

Personally, I chose the U.S. rather than Canada because I liked the core curriculum that some universities offered. A core curriculum is a list of requirements that the university wants you to take before you graduate. This can include natural science requirements or mathematics requirements.

Moreover, I don’t see the point in declaring a major right away, especially if I’m not sure what I want to do in life. I would rather try out many different fields rather than commit to one that I’m not even sure I like. For some of my high school friends, they already knew what they wanted to study in college, so this was not a problem for them.

I also decided that I wanted to go to college in the U.S. because “it's an experience,” but more specifically, because of the countless opportunities that are presented to you to do whatever you want. Once you are in college, you can spend your time however you want and you can have fun no matter what.

Finally, I believe that you should also choose to attend an American college over one in another country because of the people that surround you in that college. You will most likely be challenged in many ways (including academically) and, college, especially in the U.S., allows you to immerse yourself in a diversity of ideas, thoughts and intellects.

Lead Image Credit: Pexels

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David Massart - Tufts University

Hi! I'm a freshman at Tufts University who is currently thinking about majoring in Computer Science. I love to write and share my ideas with other students! Moreover, I love watching TV while snacking in my bed on the weekends!

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