Like most people in my community, I am a first generation college student. As such, college has always been a bit of an enigma for me. I will be attending UC Davis next fall, and despite knowing it is a good school, I was wary of attending there given the sprawling campus and the overwhelming amount of students.
I did not think it would be possible to feel comfortable in an environment where I there were so many people and seemingly little resources. That is, until I actually visited the campus.
In early April, I was offered to participate in a one day program at campus in which all costs, including transportation, were covered. I wasn’t too eager about attending since all I knew for certain about UC Davis is that there are cows adjacent to the campus. I soon realized, however, that there was more to Davis than merely cows. When we arrived, we were taken to meetings held by each of the colleges at the university.
I am a prospective English major, so I was taken to meet with future as well as current students from the College of Letters and Sciences. Faculty was present as well, and they covered many aspects of college life at Davis that I had been doubtful about. It was also encouraging to see others who were also first generation and, much like me, had only but an adumbration of what college life would be like. To be able to rely on advisors and counselors during college is certainly relieving.
I was also able to meet one on one with the university’s financial advisors and ask any questions regarding my financial aid package. During the process of selecting a college to attend, this aspect was the most important to me. Because of the information on my FAFSA, I and other low income students do not have to pay for systemwide tuition. This cost is covered by the Blue and Gold Program used by the UC School system. Of course, there are still free such as housing and textbooks that aren’t covered by the university, but not having to pay the tuition is a great help.
Essentially, visiting a college is, in my opinion, the best way to find out for yourself if it’s the right choice for you. Only then can you ask any specific questions and decide whether or not it’s an environment in which you can learn for the next four years.