Making the college decision

Special Reports

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Many colleges and universities hold open houses during the summer for prospective students to get a feel for what life would be like as a student. 

The Walker family visited the University of Montevallo for “Summer Preview Day” to find out if the school is a good fit for their oldest son, Christian. 

“I sent resumes and college applications to five schools total,” said Christian. “This was my first choice.”

With a student population of about 2,600, many students said the small-town campus feel is part of the draw to attend the University of Montevallo. 

“So you get to know everyone and, you know, like know where you’re going and everything,” said Christian. “I’m looking for something that hits close to home.”

Christian’s mom, Kaylyn, said she wants to establish a sense of security at whichever school her son chooses. 

“I think the biggest factors to me are to make sure that he’s safe,” said Kaylyn. “Taking in the drive-in is important. Just to kind of see how he’s going to be traveling from home to here.”

For many students, proximity to home is a major factor to consider. 

Anne-Hale Winter and Marie Timberlake are lifelong best friends. The two high school juniors attended Summer Preview Day with their mothers. Both have questions about what their higher education experiences will look like. 

“Just trying to figure out if I want to be far from home, or closer to home,” said Winter. 

“It would be great if we could be together,” said Timberlake. “But I just want each of us to be happy is really what matter.” 

University of Montevallo director of admissions Audrey Crawford said it’s important to research when to apply for scholarships. Applying at the right time can help keep costs down. 

“So learning the ins and outs of different deadlines,” said Crawford. “Because most universities to have different scholarship deadlines.” 

Ultimately, University of Montevallo senior Julia Davis had one piece of advice for prospective students about choosing the right school.

“Be a little selfish. Find somewhere that you love. Not that your parents love or that your friends love — college is a time for you.”

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