It’s time for… your final decision! Where will you be in the next few months? Time to weigh the options.
After hearing back from your schools you must lay out the following:
Unfortunately, in today’s society, money has become a major factor when choosing a school. For me, I fell in love with every school and let the money decide. Some things to keep in mind- financial aid are loans you have to pay back. Scholarships and grants are free money- you do not have to pay them back. When receiving money from schools factor in what you must pay back and what you don’t. Will you spend the rest of your life paying off student loans?
Also, if you did not receive money or as much as you wished for, feel free to email the school. Send an email to the director of financial aid and scholarships and your professor. The professor, if he or she really feels strongly about you attending, will fight for you. Many times, certain negotiations can be made, depending on the school.
Factor in some future possibilities. Do I plan on studying abroad? Will I have enough in my budget if I attend this school over that school? How many credits am I walking in with? Could I possibly graduate early and save myself a year’s worth of tuition? Do I plan on going to graduate school immediately after I receive my bachelor’s degree? These are things you must consider.
Check out if any ensembles will pay you. With some schools, if you play in their basketball or marching bands, will give you a stipend for books and other expenses. You can even travel with the team for some away games! Playing in ensembles is a great way to meet people and spend your time (if you have any free time that is!), and you may even get free books!
Can you see yourself working with the professors for four years? Did you have a connection during your audition? Do you feel comfortable talking to them, emailing them, etc? Do you feel like it will be worth your while?
You have to trust your professor(s) completely. If any or all have written any books, which many have…read them! You’ll definitely have a brownie point for it over the rest of your studio, but more importantly you’ll learn their style before you even begin with them!
If you took a lesson with a professor, how’d it go? Try to go off of those teaching styles and the connection you experienced in the lesson. Could you do that every week for the next four years? Will you be bored? Constantly intrigued? You definitely want to have a great relationship with your professor(s). Make sure you are 100% content with who you’ll be learning from in the coming years.
3. Social Life
Can you see yourself easily making friends and having a great time? Is there life outside of the music school (if a university) where you can maybe meet non-music majors? Sometimes, we have to step outside a music- contained environment, even if it’s just for five minutes, to just escape for a short period.
College can be stressful. Are there ways to release that stress in a healthy way? Can you get involved in any non-music extra activities?
How is the dorm life? Do all the music majors live together? How are the dorms set up? These are other considerations. You will be living here for a while, and will you be okay with these living conditions.
How far is the school from your home? Will traveling there and back be more of a strain? Are flights the only option and would that fit in your budget? If you want to go home for a weekend, is it possible? Are you normally homesick?
These are things to factor in as well. If you are in dire need of momma’s apple pie, can you get home for it? Or are you waiting until Thanksgiving? Is this okay with you?
Going to a school that is close could also have a lot from your area attending. Do you want to be around the same people or experience a completely different culture? How many hours can you remain inside of a car before aliens attack your body and you completely lose it? This is all up to you.
All of these significant categories will help you lead to your final decision. But in the end, it is where your heart is. What can you call “home” for the next four years? Where can you see yourself truly succeeding? You know best. Go with your gut, because that’s always your best bet. And good luck, music majors. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed advising, and hope I helped you with your college process in some small way!