Choosing where to go to college can be one of the most exciting, nerve racking, and dramatic moments of an 18-year-old’s life. There are so many possibilities out there and it is made out to be one of the biggest decisions one can make. If you are struggling with that decision, The Daily Duke team is here to help! We’ve each reminisced back to when we were in your shoes and thought of the most helpful advice we could think of for you.
I’m from New York and I applied to a bunch of schools all over the east coast. I had been convinced I was going to go to a different school in DC but once I visited JMU, I knew this was the school I wanted to go to. Seeing the Quad and meeting a bunch of Dukes, I couldn’t say no to this place. The people are so kind and caring and the mountains are so bountiful and beautiful. Although I am very far away from home, I never feel lost here and alone because I am surrounded by my family of Dukes. There is no doubt you can find your home at JMU. -Loren
When making your decision about what college or university to attend, forget about clubs and organizations, forget about the size of the school, forget about the different majors each school offers. That sounds counter-intuitive right? But I promise you it works. The most important factor that matters when decided what school to attend is to decide if that place is one that you feel you can call home for the next 4 (or more) years. As long as you feel at home, the rest will fall into place. -Emily
One of the things that was really important to me when looking at different colleges was the different study abroad opportunities that each university offered. Some universities offer programs to different areas depending on your major or school within the university. I had always dreamed of studying abroad in London and was given the opportunity to study abroad there my junior year here. Although I went my junior year, applying and planning began as soon as the spring semester of my freshmen year. If this is something that is really important to you, make sure to look around at what study abroad programs each university offers and think how that will affect your four years there! By planning ahead of time to study abroad, I was able to make my dreams a reality. – Molly
When I first began looking at colleges, I was really interested in trying something new and going out of state. I wanted to find a school where I would be able to put myself out of my comfort zone, but feel welcomed and at home at the same time. Visiting JMU campus was a big turning point for me in my school search. Not only was the view of the quad with rolling hills in the distance absolutely gorgeous, I could sense the feeling of just plain happiness on campus. Besides that, I was really attracted to my major (Media Arts & Design) and the size of JMU – not too big and not to small. Overall, I would just say to go with your gut and think about where you could see yourself being happy the next four years! -Emma
I was one of those high school seniors who applied to over 10 schools, having no idea what I wanted to major in and basically no idea of what I really wanted out of a college. Something about when I walked across the Quad for the first time felt right about JMU. Picture yourself not as the 18 year old that you are now, but the 22 year old that you soon will be. Try and place yourself at a school that you could see yourself grow with the opportunities that are presented. No matter where you decide, you’ll make it your home so don’t over stress. JMU is my home and I wouldn’t want it any other way! -Jolie
My mom is JMU alumni, so I grew up stopping by campus when we would drive to visit our family that live in Tennessee. I knew that I wanted to go to school in-state and JMU always seemed like the best fit for me, especially since I was familiar with it. To be honest, it was a hard for me to transition from home to college. Be sure to keep that in mind no matter where you attend college–it takes some people longer than orientation week to adjust. But after some time, I knew I had made the right decision coming to school here. JMU has given me the opportunity to grow exponentially through my classes and extracurricular activities. I even became a Student Ambassador my sophomore year so I could give prospective students and their families tours of our beautiful university! I’ll be at CHOICES checking people in, be sure to say hi 🙂 -Michelle
James Madison University can be whatever you want it to be. My advice is for you to take a step back and think about what types of organizations you want to join and what people you want to surround yourself in, and then pursue it! Put yourself outside of your comfort zone- after all, this is the time to discover the person you truly are! I came into college as a completely different version of myself. I then realized how much JMU has to offer, and then got involved in many different things which led me to who I am today. I had no idea how much growing and maturing I’d see throughout these last few years. Go to student org night. Go to info meetings. Get out there. Learn. Have a great 4 years! Also, gen eds are awesome. Look at them as ways to learn about things that you never would have before. There’s so much learning involved at JMU! Don’t wait to get out there and discover! -Pat